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Peter Piper Picked a Peck of Pickled Peppers

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I plan on pickling some baby sweet peppers. This is my first attempt @ pickling & want to make sure what I'm doing its safe & also am looking for some tips & pointers so that I can have better understanding of the process.

As far as sterilization goes, is it enough to run the jars & lids in the dishwasher then boil the sealed jars in a Dutch oven? Do the jars need to be completely submerged? From what I've read, a pressure cooker is not necessary because the acidity of the brine is sufficient to kill most bacteria. If that's the case, why boil the jars at all?

I don't have the recipe handy, but it appears to be a basic brine( vinegar, sugar, salt, water) to which I plan adding carrots, garlic, & celery. I'm considering dumping the juice from a jar of jalapenos that I just finished off as well. Perhaps just adding hot sauce to the brine is a better idea?

The plan is as follows: cut a small slit into the side of the cleaned whole peppers. Stuff em into the jars( fresh out of the dishwasher), with carrot garlic celery, leaving 1 inch of space @ top of jar. Fill jar with boiling brine, seal, & boil in Dutch oven(I do have a sockpot if they should be submerged). Leave jars in garage overnight to cool, then store in pantry.

How long should I wait to try them? Honestly, I'll probably open a jar right away, but am curious as to what is ideal.

Thanx in advance to those who care to share their experience!
A person who never made a mistake, never tried anything new.  - Al E
Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.  - Ben Franklin
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A person who never made a mistake, never tried anything new.  - Al E
Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.  - Ben Franklin
Reply
post #2 of 10

As far as food-safety recommendations go, you should always cover the jars with at least one inch of water.

 

Jars do not have to be sterilized. That's an outdated recommendation. However, the lids should have boiling water poured over them, and left to stand in the hot water. This assures that the polymer sealant softens enough to affect a good seal.

 

Veggies such as peppers are best if you let them sit for at least two weeks, so that the veggies absorb the brine. But it won't hurt anything to taste them sooner.

 

One cautionary note: Peppers tend to go soft when pickled. So if you're expecting the crispness found in commercially canned ones you might be disappointed.

 

I would seriously urge you to pick up a copy of the Ball Blue Book before proceeding. It will provide you with all the basic info you need, plus proven recipes. Then, if you decide you want to proceed with canning, get a starter kit (it will contain a funnel, jar lifter, magnetic lid lifter, and, sometimes, a plastic "knife" for removing air bubbles) and a canning kettle. None of this is particularly expensive, and you're recoup the costs in just a few canner loads.

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thank you K. Definitely going to check out the Ball Book. I'm a little disappointed to hear that peppers will be mushy. Guess I'm going to find out just how important that crunch really is. I did read one recipe that recommends removing the skin of the pepper as they tend become firm after pickling. Hopefully that will be enough.

Do you think I can find a starter kit at stores like WalMart or Never? Is there a difference between the canning cooker & a big pot? I have all the other stuff, although not specifically designed for this purpose they will get the job done without splashing all those boiling liquids all over the place.

Final thought... is there a chemical difference between pickling salt & sea salt which I had intended to use?
A person who never made a mistake, never tried anything new.  - Al E
Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.  - Ben Franklin
Reply
A person who never made a mistake, never tried anything new.  - Al E
Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.  - Ben Franklin
Reply
post #4 of 10

No difference at all between a canning kettle and any other big pot. Just so long as it's deep enough to cover the jars with at least an inch of water. And you want some sort of rack on the bottom, rather than having the jars stand directly on it. There are all sorts of ways of accomplishing that. Probably the simplest is to find either a round cake rack or grill rack that fits inside the pot you have. Or cut a round to fit from hardware cloth. Or.... well, you get the idea.

 

If you've got tools that will work there's no need buying a starter kit. But yes, Walmart should have it. Nowdays even supermarkets carry them.  I'm not familiar with Never, so can't even guess.

 

If you measure by weight, there is no difference between salts. If you measure by volume, there could be. Enough to matter with canning? Maybe.

 

Were it me, I'd stick with the canning salt until I had some experience under my belt. It's certainly cheap enough, just a couple of bucks for a 5-lb bag.

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 
Great info. Thanx so much for your help! Day off tomorrow so it's time to get my hands dirty! I hope this works...

Anyway seems to me that the art of preserving is a dieing form. I'm doing my best to learn some of the old ways. Really shows you how spoiled we really are, but at the same time, when the results are good, you get a taste of what you missed!

B TW Never is Meijer... same autoword!
A person who never made a mistake, never tried anything new.  - Al E
Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.  - Ben Franklin
Reply
A person who never made a mistake, never tried anything new.  - Al E
Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.  - Ben Franklin
Reply
post #6 of 10

Meijer will definiately have them---unless, like me, you have the new design. Then it's problematical that they have anything, and if they do stock it it won't be where you expect to find it.

 

Whoever made the decision on the new store design really needs to be taken out behind the barn. And it doesn't help that they transfered the most inept managers in the system to run it.

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 
Haha! I couldn't agree with you more. Got a brand new Meijer near my house. Takes hours to find what I want, then I'm so turned around & frazzled that I can't find my way out! Very poor design.

Finished the peppers, brine tasted great & I'm sure they'll taste VERY close to what I want. One problem... the peppers float! Should I be concerned about this, or will they sink after they become water logged?

Right now the plan is keep em refrigerated( although the seal is good). I am also flipping em upside down twice a day to get everyone a good soak.
A person who never made a mistake, never tried anything new.  - Al E
Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.  - Ben Franklin
Reply
A person who never made a mistake, never tried anything new.  - Al E
Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.  - Ben Franklin
Reply
post #8 of 10

If you slit them they should absorb the brine and sink. Initially there's an air pocket in each one.

 

This will explain, too, why the brine level in the jars will seemingly go down. Don't worry about it.

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 
What a rewarding experience!! Thank you so much for your help. Gave a jar to my parents for the holiday & the peppers were a big hit. My wife got me a canning book( not the ball one but I'm not complaining). There was one pepper recipe that calls for soaking the peppers in salt water before pickling. I'm hoping this helps them stay more crisp. If not they're still great for sandwiches; also the texture is not so bad that I can't enjoy them as is.
Anyway, I think I'll be getting a canning kit soon. Can't wait to try making jelly. I've also been thinking of trying to pickle Brussel sprouts for a while now.
A person who never made a mistake, never tried anything new.  - Al E
Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.  - Ben Franklin
Reply
A person who never made a mistake, never tried anything new.  - Al E
Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.  - Ben Franklin
Reply
post #10 of 10

Glad it worked out for you.

 

For jelly you'll need a strainer. Jelly is made from clarified liquid, is why, whereas jam has pulp and/or solids.

 

They make special conical ones just for that purpose, but they're not really necessary unless you really get into jelly-making in a big way.

 

I don't know anyone who cans Brussels sprouts; they seem to freeze better. However, unless you pickle them, you'll need a pressure canner to put them by safely. That's both a major expense and a different learning curve.

 

Were it me, I get some experience under my belt with high-acid and sugar-preserving (i.e., things you can use a boiling water bath for) first, then move on to pressure canning low-acid foods.

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
Reply
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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