Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Canning pickled peppers

(I did this canning and wrote this post prior to my most recent trip- a week in Southern Oregon- I'm slow this week and will have photos and an account of that sometime soon. But my mind is very much on preserving and settling in for fall right now, so this post very much fits with my current mood!)

My repertoire of canned things is fairly limited at this point, my staples being peaches, dilly beans, jam, and pickled peppers. Having spicy pickled peppers from my garden on hand through the winter is very fulfilling; they make a great addition to tacos, chili, and cornbread (I lay them on top of the cornbread in the pan so they bake into the top crust). After canning, hot peppers like jalapeños lose some of their fire. I can eat these straight from the jar, they are nice and spicy but not painfully so!

I don’t know what the origin of this recipe is. I copied it over from the one in my parents’ recipe box, which didn’t have a source on it; my recipe card only says “from Dad.” However, it’s a nice simple recipe. Compared to canning fruit or something that needs lots of processing, this hardly feels like work.

Disclaimer: I am not a canning expert, and anyone new to canning should do some extra reading about the safety of canned food and the specific canning methods needed for different types of foods. While I have never had any problem with this recipe, I cannot guarantee that the product will be 100% safe for eating and take no responsibility for the results of anyone else’s use of this recipe.

Makes 2 pints (the batch I photographed was only 1 ½ pints)

2 pints hot peppers (Jalapeños or Serranos work great; I threw in some green Aci Sivris too)
1/3 cup salt, plus a teaspoon more
1 quart water

Pickling Liquid
½ clove garlic, diced
½ Tbsp horseradish
2 ½ cups vinegar
½ cup water
1/16 cup sugar

Canning Equipment
Canning kettle
Canning rack
Jar tongs
Canning funnel
Measuring cup/ladle
Clean dry cloth or dishrag
Four half-pint jars
Four canning lids and rings

Slice the peppers into coins and place in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Dissolve the salt in one quart of water, and pour over the peppers. Cover and let sit 12-16 hours in a cool place. 

After the peppers have sat for 12-16 hours, fill your canning kettle with enough water for the boiling water bath (the water should cover up the jars completely), and get it heating up. 

Combine the ingredients for the pickling liquid in a saucepan. Simmer for 15 minutes (it's going to smell really acidic, so open a window or turn on a fan :). Drain the peppers and rinse thoroughly. While the pickling liquid is simmering, sterilize the jars and lids (do this in the canning kettle once the water bath has reached boiling).

Pack the jars with peppers, and pour the boiling hot pickling liquid over the peppers, leaving ¼ inch of headspace. 

Wipe the rims of the jars with a dry cloth. Place the lids and rings on the jars (tighten the rings all the way, then loosen one quarter turn). Process half-pints (or pints) for 10 minutes in the boiling water bath. 

Remove the jars from the bath with the jar tongs, and tighten the rings down all the way (use a dish towel to protect your hands from the hot jars). Let the jars cool, then remove the rings and check that all lids are sealed. I use the BPA-free Tattler lids and seals. For these, you just have to give the lids a tug and make sure they won’t come off. If you use standard metal canning lids, press the center of the lids. If the lid presses down and makes a noise, it hasn’t sealed properly (with these lids, you’ll often hear a “pop” sound while the jars are cooling, as the jars seal). These jars should be secured with a ring again and stored in the fridge and used first. Jars that have sealed properly can be stored in the cupboard until they are opened, and after that they will need to be closed with a canning ring and stored in the fridge. 

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