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I have a particular brand of jarred pickles I buy from a local supplier. They're some kind of beer pickle, and the brine has a vinegar and IPA type of taste, and it's loaded with garlic and dill. Very tasty indeed.

I also have a fondness for hot peppers. I recently bought some dried powdered hot peppers, including smoked ghost pepper (which tastes awesome) and dried Trinidad Mogura Scorpion pepper, which is mostly heat, and not too much flavor.

Would it be safe to add a teaspoon of each of these powders to a 700mL jar of pickles (yes, I love them obscenely hot) and store the result in the fridge for up to a couple weeks? My primary concern is the hot peppers causing spoilage by adding them.

Thank you.

  • I do the same thing I have never had a problem. I thought this was the idea behind pickling. Good question! I don't see where in this process bacteria can be introduced. – Chef_Code Apr 22 '15 at 6:25
  • @Chef_Code The hot pepper would be added after opening the sealed jars, rather than before processing/heating the jars. – DevNull Apr 22 '15 at 12:58
  • IMO, adding the pepper at that point will not add heat to the pickles, especially if it is left to rest in the fridge. – Max Apr 22 '15 at 14:25
  • @Max I've had good luck so far. It's mostly on the surface, but the smoked ghost pepper adds an amazing element to the taste. – DevNull Apr 22 '15 at 15:58
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This shouldn't be a safety concern. Bacteria could certainly be introduced (if you use your hands to add the pepper or a cross-contaminated utensil), however, the acidic environment of the pickling liquid should keep any possible bacterial growth in check. The other contaminant to consider would be botulism, but again, in a pickling environment (high acidity, high salt) this is not a concern. So...make your pickles as spicy as you like.

  • And we are talking about adding some spices which is a way to improve the time your food can last. See here for a study on that matter. Hot pepper appears 12th on the list of spices with antimicrobial properties. – A.D. Apr 22 '15 at 17:29

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