Romanian Pickled Peppers in Vinegar – Gogosari Murati

Red roundish peppers on a tea towel, on a kitchen table.

I have just returned home from a trip to Romania, where I visited my family. As it’s October, I found my mom in the middle of the pickling schedule, and whilst I was here, I learned how she makes the Romanian pickled peppers in vinegar.

As I have never pickled gogosari before myself, I hung around in the kitchen to observe and write down the recipe, so I can share it with you now. My mom bought the peppers from the farmers market, on the previous morning, so they were very fresh. And you could tell, as they were so shiny and beautiful. For this recipe, I recommend getting different sizes, as you will need to put them whole in the jars.

The Ingredients For the Romanian Pickled Peppers in Vinegar 

A close-up of a red roundish pepper, next to white strips of white horseradish root

This recipe of preserved peppers in vinegar is enough for two large jars or a large one and two smaller ones that will fit around 5-6 gogosari inside. The recipe requires 3 kilograms of gogosari, which are a type of Romanian red peppers related to the capsicum. Inside the jars, it’s good to also add chilli peppers as well as horseradish root, cut in strips.

The pickling liquid requires 33% distilled vinegar with an acidity of 9%, 66% water and, the rest, condiments: black peppercorns, mustard seeds, salt, sugar, honey, and bay leaves. You can see the exact quantities in the recipe card below.

What Are the Gogosari? 

Five red gogosari which are red and have a roundish shape, inside a pot, cooling down after they have been blanched. They have different sizes

The gogosar is a type of red pepper with a roundish shape, with pronounced ribbing, and flattened on the top. It is a very popular type of pepper in Romania because of its sweet taste and thick flesh. It is also used in making the traditional Romanian zacusca, one of the most delicious salads that we preserve for the winter.

The Gogosari are very fragrant and have less acidity than their relatives, the bell peppers. They also have a very beautiful bright red colour, a shiny peel, and are quite big, with an average gogosar weighing around 250 grams.

This type of pepper is only available during autumn, from September until early November, because it takes a long time to grow. It is mostly used for pickling, though it can also be eaten fresh. My stepdad eats in for breakfast, alongside cheese and sausages, in the morning.

Whilst in the past it was very hard to find gogosari outside of Romania, now they are exported to the Romanian shops abroad and therefore, much more accessible.

How to Sterilize the Jars 

Three large jars on a black tray, ready for the oven. The caps are on the tray as well.

Sterilising the jars is very important, otherwise, you risk developing mold and bacteria that will spoil your entire batch. But don’t worry, sterilising the jars is an easy process. There are several methods to sterilise jars but, after I broke some very expensive fermenting ones experimenting, I’ll give you the only one that is 100% fool-proof.

Firstly, wash the jars with warm water and soap. Then, put them all on a tray and put it in the cold oven. Turn the heat on at 135 degrees Celsius, and leave them inside for 10-15 minutes, until the water droplets on the jars have dried out.

Then, take them out of the oven and let them cool down just a little bit until you can touch them to fill them with the peppers. For extra safety, I leave them in a metal tray and also add a stainless steel knife under each jar, to absorb the thermic shock. When you fill them with the hot liquid, it’s important to do it gradually and slowly, using a ladle. Don’t pour the boiling liquid into the jars.

How to Make This Preserved Peppers in Vinegar Recipe

A hand pushing the red peppers into a large jar.

To make this delicious Romanian pickled gogosari in vinegar, you will need to start by bringing to boil the water mixed with vinegar. Once it’s boiling, add the salt, sugar, and the rest of the condiments. Meanwhile, have another pot filled with water boiling.

Cut a small cross at the bottom of each pepper, and make sure that they are all beautiful and healthy. Then, blanch them for a couple of minutes in the pot with boiling water. Take them out and leave to cool.

Sterilise the jars as well.

Fill the jars with the peppers, squeezing in as many as you can, leaving very little space. Add horseradish root strips in between, as well as a chilli pepper for each jar. To prevent the peppers from rising to the top of the jar once the liquid is added, you can make a cross with two horseradish root strips above them.

Next, add the hot liquid, which you’ve taken off the heat and let it cool for at least five minutes. Start by pouring a ladle of hot liquid into each jar, slowly, to prevent cracking. Fill the jars to the top, and then put the lid on. Wrap the jars in warm blankets, and let them cool down slowly for the next 24 hours. Once this period has passed, you can store them in your pantry or a dark, cold place. They are ready in 3 weeks but they will last for up to two years if you don’t open the jars.

Notes And Tips: 

The top of the jar, filled with the red peppers, and a cross on top made from two pieces of white horseradish root. You can see the liquid all the way to the top of the jar.
  • Make sure that all the peppers are healthy, with hard flesh. If you have one pepper that is bad inside the jar, it will spoil the entire contents.
  • The vinegar is very important. It has to have an acidity of 9%. You can use distilled vinegar or white wine vinegar, but make sure the acidity is 9%.
  • – Only blanch the gogosari, don’t boil them. 2-3 minutes are enough.
  • You can add extra condiments such as coriander seeds, juniper berries, and even dried dill.
  • The horseradish will keep the peppers hard, preserving their crunchy texture. If you don’t put any horseradish root inside the jars, they will become very soft.
  • It is important to wrap the jars in warm blankets for 24 hours, to allow them to cool down very slowly, before moving them in your pantry and store for the winter.
Red roundish peppers on a tea towel, on a kitchen table.

Romanian Pickled Peppers in Vinegar – Gogosari Murati

A delicious recipe of preserved red peppers for the winter. Traditional Romanian gogosari which are pickled in vinegar.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Course Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine Romanian

Ingredients
  

  • 3 kg gogosari (red peppers)
  • 3-5 hot chillies
  • 5-7 horseradish root
  • 1 L distilled vinegar 9% acidity
  • 2 L water
  • 500 gr sugar
  • 70 gr coarse salt without iodine
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns

Instructions
 

  • Start by making the preserving liquid.
  • Bring to boil the water with the vinegar. When it starts boiling, add the sugar, salt, honey, mustard seeds, black peppercorn and bay leaves.
  • Mix until the sugar dissolves, then take the pot off the heat and let it cool for a few minutes.
  • Meanwhile, wash the peppers and make a small cross on the bottom, with a knife.
  • Blanch them in boiling water for a couple of minutes, then take them out and let them cool for a little bit until you can touch them.
  • Sterilise the jars by washing them with water and dishwashing liquid, then add to the cold oven and heat for around 10 minutes at 135 degrees Celsius. Don’t forget the lids as well.
  • Then take them out of the oven, and put them in a metal tray, letting them cool down for five minutes or so.
  • Add a stainless steel knife under each jar, to prevent them from cracking when you add the hot liquid in.
  • Start fitting the red peppers inside the jars, alongside pieces of horseradish root and a chili pepper.
  • Start adding the hot water, vinegar and spices mixture, slowly, one ladle at a time, until you fill them.
  • Seal the jars with the lids, and wrap them in blankets until the next day. Then, move them into your pantry or in a dark place.
  • They are ready to eat in around 3 weeks. Once opened, store the jars in the fridge.

FAQ:

How long does it take for the Romanian pickled peppers in vinegar to be ready?

The top of the jar filled with the red peppers.

It takes a minimum of 2 weeks for the peppers to pickle. I would recommend opening them after 3 weeks, to make sure they are done, as the pickling process depends on the temperature as well as the conditions the jars are kept in (inside, outside, in low light, etc).

How long do the preserved Romanian gogosari last for?

You can store the unopened jars of pickled gogosari for 2 years. Once you open the jars, however, store them in the fridge.

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