Place the corn kernels, optional bell pepper, jalapeño slices or halves, and bay leaf into a 16-ounce jar. (If you’re using two 8-ounce jars, break the bay leaf in half, and divide everything evenly.) Set aside.
In a small pot, stir together the vinegar, water, sugar and salt. Place over high heat and bring to a boil. Once boiling, remove from the heat, stir to make sure the sugar and salt are completely dissolved, and pour the hot liquid into the jar(s) to cover the corn. Discard any remaining pickling liquid you may have left.
Carefully place the lid on top of the jar(s) and let sit until cool to the touch. Once cool, refrigerate overnight. Corn will have good flavor after 24 hours but will truly shine after 3-4 days.