Jamaican Jardiniere Pickles

This Caribbean pepper is famous for being the hottest chile pepper in the world. They come in a variety of shapes and colors(yellow, orange,green, red,chocolate). Not only are they extremely hot, but they also have a unique,distinctively fruity flavor.

It is the key ingredient in the popular Jamaican Jerk sauce. The habanero is also widely used in many different types of hot sauces. The popularity of this chile pepper continues to grow and is becoming easier to find on the grocery shelf.

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1-1/2 pounds cauliflower, separated into small florets
4 medium carrots, cut into 3-inch x 1/2-inch sticks
1 large red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch thick strips
12 Scotch bonnet or habanero chiles, 6 halved
6 large garlic cloves, peeled
6 large thyme sprigs
one 2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and sliced 1/4-inch thick
1 quart white vinegar, plus more if needed
1/3 cup whole allspice berries, 1 Tbsp. crushed
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup kosher salt
1 Tbsp. whole black peppercorns, coarsely crushed


In a medium saucepan of boiling water, blanch the cauliflower for 1 minute, then drain and let it cool.

In a 2-1/2 quart heatproof jar or a few smaller jars, pack the cauliflower, carrots, bell pepper, chiles, garlic cloves, thyme sprigs and ginger slices, alternating them in an attractive pattern.

In the saucepan, combine the vinegar, allspice, sugar, salt and peppercorns and bring to a boil. Simmer the mixture over moderately high heat until the sugar dissolves. Ladle the pickling liquid into the jar. If necessary, add more vinegar to cover the vegetables. Let the pickles cool, then cover with a lid and refrigerate until very flavorful, at least 10 days.

Recipe by Marcia Kiesel, Food & Wine Magazine, August 1999.