These stuffed peppers are so delicious, it’s crazy.
These are amazing with simple ingredients and lots of detailed photos to help!
After searching, I could never really find a detailed recipe like Nona Gina’s. But I was able to finally get it just right! Nonna Gina (Sandra Bruni’s Mom) sent me a jar last Christmas. When I opened the package, I kissed the jar knowing how crazy tasty these would be. The ingredients are straight forward and although preparation intensive, it’s worth it.
Click on any photo in this article for a larger detailed view.
Here is what you’ll need to get started…
- A bag (about the size of a soccer ball) of hot mini (aka cherry) peppers
- Vinegar (about 6 cups)
- Water (about 2 cups) always 3 parts vinegar to 1 part water
- Salt 2 teaspoons
- Olive oil
- 10 X 170g (6 oz) cans chunky light tuna in water
- 5 hamburger or hotdog buns
- A small sharp knife with a pointed tip
- Canning jars and lids
- Large pots for sterilizing jars and lids, and canning
- Large bowls for mixing your breadcrumbs and tuna
- Paper towels of napkins for drying the inside of the peppers
- Plastic gloves for handling the peppers
Buying your fresh peppers
You’ll need a bag full of hot mini peppers. The peppers are sometimes referred to as cherry peppers. They’re a medium hot pepper. The seeds are the hottest part of the pepper and you will be removing them. However, you can keep the seeds, dry and store them. Plant the seeds in the spring or share the seeds with friends and neighbors.
Wash the peppers
Hull out the peppers
This is a good time meditate and clear your mind. You may want to wear plastic gloves for this and don’t touch your eyes or face. Cut just outside the edge of the stems (see photo below). Scrape the inside to remove the veins. You might use a melon baller for this.
Soak the mini peppers for 48 hours
You’ll need a container or bowl large enough (photo left) to submerge the peppers in vinegar, water and salt for 48 hours. I used about 6 cups of water and 2 cups of water with 2 teaspoons of salt. The ratio of vinegar to water is always 3 to 1. When ever I walked by, I’d push the peppers floating on top down with a spoon. After 48 hours, drain the vinegar and water. Then, dry the inside (photo right) of the peppers with paper towel.
Prepare the stuffing
First, the tuna.
Open and drain the cans of chunky light tuna and place tuna into a large bowl. To make the tuna light and flaky for stuffing, take a handful at a time and rub the palms of your hands together to break it down thoroughly and mixing with your hands until there are no chunks.
We are not using dried breadcrumbs. We are grating fresh hamburger or hotdogs buns. We’ll blend the grated bread with the flaked tuna to help bind it when stuffed into the peppers. Use about 1 bun to every 2 cans of 170g (6 oz) tuna.
Combine the tuna and grated bread
Then, combine the flaked tuna and grated bread together mixing with your hands. Toss in a pinch or two of salt – optional as the tuna may already contain salt.
Get your jars and lids ready
You’ll be stuffing peppers for a while, so you can put some large pots with water on the stove adding your jars and lids. Bring the water to a boil to sterilize them for canning. I use a variety of jar sizes and always buy wide mouth jars. They just make more sense. Easier to fill because of the wide mouth…duh.
Stuffing your hot mini peppers
Hold a pepper cupping it in the palm of your hand and start filling. Press the stuffing firmly into the bottom and into the sides. Don’t rush stuffing. Your peppers should be fairly heavy after being firmly stuffed. You don’t want any air in them.
The last step – canning your peppers
Press the open end of the stuffed peppers against the glass inside the jars. It also looks nice. Press them in firmly. For larger jars, use some tongs to place your peppers in the bottom working your way to the top. Once the jar is full, top it up with a good quality olive oil leaving just a little space at the top…not quite to the rim. You’ll use quite bit of oil, but the left over oil after eating the peppers is great as a salad dressing or for cooking. Now the canning. Screw on the lids, not tight, just finger tight – when you feel a slight resistance. Be sure the peppers aren’t pushing against the lid or that peppers are above the rim – it will not vacuum seal. Submerge the jars in your pot of boiling water for abut 10 minutes – follow a canning guide. When you take them out and they start to cool, you’ll hear the lids “pop”. That sound means you have a vacuum seal. You can eat them anytime, but would suggest letting them sit in a cool dry place for a couple of weeks for ultimate yumminess. It’s worth the wait.
Cut peppers in half, pour some of the olive oil on the plate and place the cut side down on the olive oil. The oil from your canned peppers is also great for dipping bread! Mmmmmm.
These stuffed peppers are so delicious, it’s crazy.
There are variations for the stuffing like cheese or capers with anchovy, but since trying the bread and tuna mix, this is the one for me. I’m curious to try the capers with anchovy stuffing – Chef Giorgio’s suggestion. Thank you Nonna Gina for your knowledge and inspiration in food and gardening. You’re also the reason I have been lobbying for backyard hens in our town.
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