We are in the season when plenty of Romanians get ready for winter by preparing pickles, jam and stewed fruit. Cucumbers and red peppers preserved in vinegar are the most common pickles you’ll find in Romanians’ pantries. Preserving red peppers is also common in other European states. For instance one type of red pepper pickles consists in red cherry pepperoni, the size of a chestnut, preserved in sweetened vinegar, which are usually stuffed with high-fat cheese.
The red peppers you’ll find in Romania are bigger in size, and they can be filled with many other ingredients besides cheese, such as white or red cabbage or cauliflower. Red peppers can be preserved either in a solution of brine just like the green tomatoes and sauerkraut or in vinegar.
Here is next the recipe for red peppers filled with cabbage. You’ll need 5 kilograms of red peppers, 1 or 2 white cabbages, 2 big celery roots, 1 kilogram of carrots, 1 litre of vinegar and a little oil, pepper grains, a few bay leaves, a couple of spoonfuls of honey and a little salt. After washing the peppers, carefully remove their stem, their core, and any leftover seeds. Cut the cabbage thinly, then grate the carrots and the celery root. Mix all these vegetables in a bowl with a little oil and pepper grains. Fill the peppers with this mixture then place them in jars.
Make a mixture of water and vinegar, around 2.5 litres of water for one litre of vinegar, boil this mixture adding one spoonful of salt and one spoonful of honey or sugar for each litre of water and a couple of bay leaves. After boiling, pour the liquid mixture over the peppers filling the jars, and cover with cellophane, sealing with rubber bands or string.
Pickled peppers can be eaten after one week as salad on the side of meat dishes. Similarly peppers can be filled with cauliflower florets. The most common method of preserving red peppers is to cut them into 4 or 6 slices and then preserve them in vinegar as explained above.
Cucumbers can also be preserved in vinegar like the red peppers. In the jars, besides cucumbers you can place small sized onions or slices of onion, mustard seeds, dried dill and slices of horseradish. Use the same mixture of water, vinegar and sugar or honey. Enjoy! (translation by L. Simion)