Pickled Vallecito Peppers

prized jars of Vallecito Peppers

Normally, my Favorite Finds are foods and places that we can all experience, but in the case of this post, I have to make an exception. These pickled peppers, which are sometimes called Marchand peppers are commonly called Vallecito peppers in honor of the place they are grown: Vallecito California. Vallecito, the place, is in Calaveras County also known as Gold Country. The seeds are available only in the nurseries in the area OR through mail-order catalogs.

I discovered these peppers through my husband’s cousin. He grows them up in his garden in Vallecito along with a variety of other vegetables. And every year, for Thanksgiving, we get a few jars of these peppers that he’s pickled with plenty of garlic and turmeric. The first time I bit into them, my mouth watered from the tart and sprightly flavor and the crispy texture. The peppers are two to three inches long and narrow like a finger with a pointy end. It’s sometimes mild and sometimes a bit spicy. Each pepper is a pleasant surprise and I love them. I have to pace myself so they last all year until we see Matt and Liz again and we can get our precious gifts of peppers. I eat them out of the jar as a snack  or along with my main course as a condiment. I chop them and use them in salads, sandwiches, pizza, tacos and omelets. Pork rinds are DELICIOUS  when dipped in the pickling liquid!
I nearly cried with pride when the baby-geek snatched one from hand and ate it. Even the husband-geek, who is not known to crave chilies like me, loves to munch on the peppers with some salami or other salted cured meats.  You can also braise with them, especially when cooking a rich pork shoulder or a well-marbled chuck roast where the vinegary, spicy punch provides a welcome contrast. The pickling liquid can even be used in the braise.  For fun, I’m now toying with the idea of making a spicy martini with the peppers as a garnish. Much as I love getting the jars of pickled peppers as a present, I’ve been on the look-out for the seeds here in the Bay Area in the hopes of growing a cluster of these beauties in our garden. I’ll keep you posted on my quest.




Barbara-Lee Doye

Posted November 30, 2011

If you were to ask them would Matt or Liz give you the name and address of a place up their way you could purchase the seeds from?

matt bloom

Posted March 11, 2012

I am looking for valecito seeds can you help? Thanks, Matt

Nick Stone

Posted June 29, 2012

I’m looking for Vallecito pepper seeds too. Anybody find any? nicholasstone530@gmail.com


Posted August 04, 2012

Is this Matt from Kennedy meadows? Vallecito peppers are “marchant peppers” I bought mine in Riverbank at Morris Nursery, Their the only one around that sells the plants, I just put up 5 QTs. My mouth is watering.

Sally Harms

Posted August 21, 2012

The Nest and Nursery in Twain Harte carried marchants, visit us next summer.


Posted August 02, 2014

My husband’s grandparents lived in Jamestown used to put these peppers up. Can someone share their recipe for canning these? I know most people use white vinegar. They used to use red wine vinegar. A recipe for either would be much appreciated.

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