Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Got peppers..?

Do you plant jalapeno peppers or poblanos or other hotish style peppers in your garden, they come in bountifully and then you have no idea what to do with them? Well, we always plant a couple of jalapenos because my husband likes hot salsa and stuff. They always come in plentifully before and after the tomatoes do, so I end up picking them, storing them in the refrigerator and then they go bad on me. This year we also planted poblano peppers at my husband's request. The seeds in poblanos have a little zest to them but the peppers themselves are not hot, just a mild nice heat. Kind of like a green chili. In fact you can roast them and use them like green chilies. Well, again, they came in like total gangbusters and I have had sooo many of them. You cannot freeze peppers well. They get mushy, lose flavor and so this is not the best way to deal with the abundance.

I looked in my canning book (Ball Blue Book) and they have canned peppers but you need a hot water canner according to them, but we only have a pressure canner. So I wondered what to do. I was told to call my aunt and uncle who can lots of stuff, and lo and behold they told me canning peppers is so easy even I can do it. Here's how.

Slice up your jalapenos, banana peppers, serrano, or poblano peppers and leave the seeds in there. Put them in sterilized pint or jelly sized jars ( i use the dishwasher and the sani rinse for this). This depends on how many you will use in a sitting. Then you buy a gallon jug of apple cider vinegar and bring it to a rolling boil on the stovetop for at least 10 min. You want to make sure it's boiling hot. Okay, so get your lids and rings in water that has come to a boil, but you don't want to boil them. So now you are ready. Holding a jar with peppers in it with an oven mitt on your hand, ladle in the hot vinegar into the jar till you only have about 1/4 inch of space at the top. Quickly get your lid and ring on there really tight and that's it. Keep filling and sealing the jars until you are done. I can't believe how easy this is. And they seal and keep for a good long time. Peppers don't spoil like a lot of other veggies I was told.

Okay so you can't use these right away, they need to sit for at least 60-90 days before you use them. The peppers won't be crisp anymore, but they will have nice flavor (not vinegary) and you can cut them up and put them in a hot cheese ball, on nachos, or make up a batch of salsa. Yumm. So if you lost a lot of peppers this year cause you just didn't know what to do with them, plant some more next year and can them. Give them to those folks in your life that like things a little spicy. My uncle says he puts the juice from the canned peppers over collards and other greens like that. Now I don't think that sounds good, but those green eaters out there might like to try that too.

Oh, and on a lighter note, your house will smell a little vinegary (is that a word?) and you might smell a little on the vinegar smelling side, but it's a small sacrifice. Open the windows if possible and let things air out. I might need to get a quick shower before I sit amongst other parents at my sons' karate class or they may just put me in a corner by myself. Toodles, ya'll.

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