Answer: You may have started with overripe peppers or used the wrong vinegar or type of water. Both mistakes can make pickled peppers mushy. Harvest disease-free peppers just before they're fully ripe and process them within 24 hours. For extra firmness, but a little less flavor, harvest peppers when they are a bit underripe and, before processing, remove 1/16 inch of the blossom end of the pepper, where the softening enzymes reside. Use a 5 percent vinegar solution and soft or distilled water when pickling. You can turn hard water into soft water by boiling it for 15 minutes, letting it stand for 24 hours, then skimming off the top layer that forms. Also, processing peppers for too long will make them mushy.
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