A peck of pickled peppers: a simple procedure for canning
One of the things that struck me the most while traveling abroad this year, was the priority given to wholesome, natural foods. This is something I strive to emulate now that I’m back home. One of the ways I accomplish this is by growing vegetables in my family’s backyard garden. I’ve also discovered that I love gardening (see, I leave NYC for a couple months, and my inner suburbanite comes out in full force!). This year, we have a bounty of hot banana peppers. And let me tell you, they are HOT! *
*Science Nerd Alert: The extra hot peppers we’ve had this year can be attributed to drought conditions. The lack of rain and high temperatures increase the production of plant alkaloids, including capsaicin. These compounds bind to receptors on the tongue, resulting in that spicy kick!
In an attempt to figure out what to do with all those extra peppers, I decided to try my hand at canning. Granted, I had never done anything like this before. But I figured if I could follow a laboratory procedure, I could follow simple canning instructions! It’s just like any other lab experiment, right? It wasn’t hard to find instructions online; canning has seen a major resurgence as of late (Knitting is so last year. The hipsters have all moved onto to canning!) It’s also a great way to enjoy the efforts of your hard gardening-work all year round.
I didn’t want to invest in fancy canning supplies and tools for my first go at it, so the only things I purchased were canning jars. The only other supplies you really need are a large pot to boil water in and a sturdy set of tongs. That’s it! In less than half an hour, I had a batch of freshly canned hot pickled peppers. Perfect for salads and sandwiches. Give it a try!
- 2 cups chopped hot peppers
- 1 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 cup water
- 1 tablespoon pickling salt (I used sea salt)
- Place 2 half-pint jars, lids, and rings in a large pot of water and simmer.
- Combine vinegar, water and salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
- When brine is boiling, add pepper rings and stir to submerge.
- As soon as the brine returns to a boil, remove the pot from the heat. Carefully remove jars, lids, and rings from water bath and place on a clean towel.
- Ladle peppers into jars and top off with brine, leaving 1/4 inch headspace.
- Tap jars gently to remove any trapped air bubbles. If necessary, add more brine to return the headspace to 1/2 inch.
- Wipe rims, apply lids and rings and place jars in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes (start your timer when the water returns to a boil).
- When time is up, remove jars from pot using tongs (and oven mitts if needed) and let cool. Listen for a tell-tale popping sound to indicate that jars have sealed properly. When jars are cool enough to handle, remove rings and test seals by grasping edges of lids and carefully lifting jars. If lids hold fast, seals are good
- Store jars in a cool, dark place, without rings. They are ready to eat within 48 hours, but can be kept up to one year.