An excellent way to preserve extra (hot or sweet) peppers from the garden is by pickling them! Pickled peppers can be stored in a refrigerator for a couple of months, or they can be made shelf-stable by water-processing the jars for up to a year; the choice is yours.
Ingredients Makes: 4 pints
6 cups hot and/or sweet peppers, chopped
4 garlic cloves
3 cups apple cider vinegar ~or~ white vinegar
1 cup purified water
4 tsp pickling salt ~or~ kosher salt
4 tsp organic sugar
Sterilize jars and prepare canning equipment. Sterilize jars by boiling them with the lids removed in a large stockpot for a couple of minutes; only necessary if jars have been used for other canning purposes. If the jars are relatively clean, a soap and water bath is good enough. Ensure that the seal on the lids are not damaged in any way, otherwise replace.
Take out the stockpot or canner, the canning wrack, jar lifter and any other tools you will require when getting ready to can.
Make the brine. In a medium sauce-pot add the vinegar, water, salt and sugar. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring until salt and sugar is dissolved; then remove from heat and allow the brine to cool.
Prepare the peppers. It is a good idea to wear rubber gloves when handling hot peppers to avoid the hot pepper oil from stinging your hands and anything you touch for hours later; and be sure to keep your hands away from your face.
Wash the peppers and the cut off the stem ends. Slice the peppers into rings that are 1/4 to a 1/2-inch thick. Peppers can also be cut into chunks or 1/4-inch strips, what ever your preference is.
Fill the jars. In each jar add 1 garlic clove cut in half and then pack with the sliced peppers as tight as possible without damaging or crushing the peppers. Ladle the cooled vinegar mixture into the jars using the funnel, leaving 1/4-inch headspace at the top. Remove any bubbles by gently moving the contents of the jar with a chopstick or similar utensil; then refill jars with additional liquid, if necessary. Clean jar rims with wet paper towel. Add lids and screw on rings just until finger tight, not too tight.
For refrigerator pickled peppers. Place jars in refrigerator and allow to marinate for at least 1 week for the best flavour. They will be good for up to 2 months.
Process the jars for longer shelf storage in the water bath. Fill the canner or stockpot to about 2/3 full of warm water, but not too hot. Transfer the filled jars to the canner into the rack using the jar lifter. Ensure the jars are covered by 1 to 2-inches of water, then bring water to a boil. When water reaches a rolling boil, reduce the heat to medium-high to a gentle boil.
Process the jars in the water bath for 10 minutes for elevations up to 1000 ft, for elevations 1,001 to 6,000 feet, process for an additional 5 minutes; and another 5 minutes to the processing time again above 6,000ft. After the jars have finished processing, turn off the heat and allow the jars to rest in the hot water bath for at least 10 minutes before removing. (Introducing jars from cold to hot and hot to cold environments could cause the jars to break).
Line a clean dish towels on a counter to transfer the jars to when they are done processing in the water-bath. Carefully remove the jars with a jar lifter without tilting or shaking to the towel to be left undisturbed for 24 hours. Do not re-tighten the lids if they have become loose as you could break the seal. As the jars cool you should hear a “popping sound” telling you that your jars are sealing.
Cool jars undisturbed. Allow the jars to cool upright completely undisturbed for 24 hours to guarantee success. Check the jars have sealed properly by pressing down on the middle of the lid, if it pops back, it is not sealed. The disc on top should be curved downward and not move when pressed if properly sealed.
Label the jars including the date they were made. Store the sealed jars in a cool dark place like a pantry, cellar or cold-storage room. Canned peppers should be used within the year, once opened they should be refrigerated and will keep well for up to 6 months. If the jars did not seal properly, just put the jars in the fridge and use within a month.
Recipe shared by: J. Marshall
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