For some reason this year, I’ve grown all these jalapenos, but I’m not really in the mood it eat multiple pounds of jalapeno poppers. So instead of making jalapeno poppers I’m going to cut the jalapenos into rings and try to pickle and can them.
There is just something about canning/pickling that really interests me. Maybe it has something to do with preserving and enjoying the bounty of the harvest year round. Plus if I’m going to grow some of my own food, I don’t have the heart to toss any of it on the compost pile. Yeah I leave some of the harvest on the vine for nature to take their share, but that doesn’t mean that they have full reign of the garden.
This little experiment won’t cost me much out of pocket. Just a case a pint size mason jars for ~$7, and a set of canning tools for about ~$4. I’ve already got a turkey fryer with basket that I use for homebrewing, which in turn will work perfectly for “boiled canning”. I came close to not having to buy any canning jars for this little experiment. But for some strange reason I have cases and cases of quart size mason jars on hand, but no pint size mason jars. I think I’ll be glad that I got the pint sized jars, since eating a quart of pickled jalapenos at a time might be a little tough on my insides.
I started with a recipe from the Ball Blue Book of Canning, with the first thing being a pickling treatment to the jalapenos with the following ingredients:
1.5 cup Canning Salt
2 lbs of fresh sliced jalapenos
1 gallon of Water
The original recipe only listed a 12-18 hour treatment in the brine, but I let it go for a full six and a half days with a starting point at 12:30am on 9/7/09, with the peppers drained and rinsed at 12:01pm on 9/13/09. And I had the whole kitchen experiment cleaned up by 2:00pm on 9/13/09.
For the pickling portion, after the six days had elapsed, I dumped all the jalapenos (brine and all) into a colander in the sink. I then filled the pickling bucket with fresh water, and dumped the now drained jalapenos back into the bucket of fresh water. I let the jalapenos sit in fresh water for 5 minutes. Drained off the water and filled the bucket with fresh water again and repeated the 5 minute soak. I then did it a third and final time.
So now that the jalapenos have been draining and rinsed, its time to make some canning solution, again using the Blue Book recipe of:
2 cups water
10 cups Vinegar
5 cloves garlic
2 TB horseradish
1/4 cup sugar
Simmer mix for 15 mins, remove garlic cloves then bring the solution to a boil, keeping the mixture at a low simmer until ready to fill and process the jars.
It turned out that this was way too much canning liquid for 2 pounds of pickled jalapenos. Next time I’m going to half the recipe for canning liquid, since 2 lbs of pickled jalapenos fit into only 3 pint jars instead of the 8 that was listed in the Blue Book recipe. That left me with 8 cups of canning liquid in the pot after the 3 jars were filled and sealed. If you basically halve the canning liquid above, you’ll have more than enough liquid for four pint jars of peppers.
I pretty much followed the sanitizing directions from the Blue Book, but in the future I’d like to bring in some more advanced sanitization techniques from homebrewing into the realm of canning/pickling. The major technique being the use of a food grade liquid sanitizer (Star San) to sanitize the pickling container. Since by the end of the sixth day it looked like I was starting to develop some scum on the surface of the jalapenos, even though I was using a plastic sheet with a layer of water as an airlock. I did use Star San on all the tools during the canning process. But I guess it is something to try next time.
As far next time, I’m thinking of making sauerkraut, both the fresh and canned style, and all of it without caraway seeds. Wish me luck.