Sunday, August 11, 2013

Canning Peppers

Cowboy Candy and Marinated Peppers

Canning season is well underway, and this year I have started with water-bath canning. Water-bath canning is when you submerge jars of food in boiling water and let the heat seal the jars. It is not safe to water-bath can everything! Non pickled vegetables and meats must be done in a pressure canner, which I also do. Soon I will be posting about canning my corn chowdah base for my family so they can have some while I am laid up after the operation.

The Cowboy Candy is very new to me. Upon researching this recipe to make certain that it is safe to can, I found that the heat is supposed to mellow considerably as it ages, so I kept in all of the seeds and membranes. That made preparing the peppers very simple.

Cowboy Candy

3 lbs jalapenos
2 cups cider vinegar
6 cups sugar
2 tablespoons mustard seed
1/2 teaspoon tumeric
1/2 teaspoon celery seed, I only had celery seed powder, so I used half the amount
2 large cloves garlic, peeled and each cut in half
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Slice jalapenos. IMPORTANT: use gloves if at all possible. Even then it is still very possible to get the capsaicin in your eyes or other areas (think, using the bathroom.. enough of a visual?) If you do get some on you, milk will help to alleviate the burn.
Mix cider vinegar, sugar, turmeric, celery and mustard seed, garlic, and cayenne to boil.
Reduce for 5 minutes to a simmer.
Add jalapenos at the simmer for 5 minutes more.
Load sterilized jars with jalapenos first and add liquid filling the jars leaving a 1/4 head-space.

Process in a water bath for 15 minutes.

Marinated Peppers

4 lbs red bell or red sweet peppers
1 cup lemon juice
2 cups white vinegar (5% acidity)
1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves (or dried, to taste)
1 cup olive oil 
1/2 cup onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic (optional)

First, roast the peppers. I put them under the broiler until they were black all over. Then I put them in a stainless steel bowl and covered with foil and let them sit until they were cool enough to handle. The skin should remove easily, and if you are careful, you can get the clump of seeds out in one motion. If not, the seeds tend to get everywhere, but do not rinse under water. This will flush much of the flavor away, and we want the flavor.  This to me is the easiest and tastiest way to peel peppers.

Mix lemon juice, vinegar, oregano and onions in a pan and bring to a boil.

Pack strips of peppers into sterilized half pint canning jars. Spoon the mixed liquid over it to 1/2 in head-space. Run a plastic knife or bamboo skewer around the edges and in the middle to remove air bubbles, then add more liquid if needed to maintain 1/2 in head-space.  Make sure you keep stirring the liquid as you go, or the ration will be off too much to water bath these. 

Clean the edges of the jar with a cloth soaked in a bit of vinegar, cap and seal in a water-bath for 15 minutes


I live at close to sea level, so the times may differ for you. I suggest the Ball Complete Book of Home Preservation to have tables to refer to.

I would like very much to do a tutorial on canning for people. I know that there are a number of sites out there, but judging from some of the questions I have been asked, I think that there may be confusion. I think that people make canning out to be more complicated than it is. It is like baking, once you know the rules, there is wiggle room for creating your own recipes safely, you just need to know the rules.

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