Monday, July 30, 2012

Pickled Peppers

If Kris grew a peck of pickled peppers, then picked a peck of pickled peppers, then pickled a peck of peppers, how many jars of pickled peppers would she have?

Actually, I don't know if I picked a peck or not.  Came out to two pounds on my kitchen scale.  But I did pick peppers, Hungarian Hot Wax peppers, to be precise, and I did pickle them.

I also remembered to take pictures of the process (unlike when I made pickled beets partway through my pepper making) so that I could blog about it.  :0)

So, if you've ever been curious how to make your own hot pickled peppers, read on and see how I did it.

First, I picked the peppers, of course.  One good thing about this hot dry weather, it makes lots of hot peppers!

After I picked them, I weighed them to see how much I had, so I would know how many jars I needed, and how much vinegar solution to make up for the pickling.  But first, before pickling, they needed to be washed.

After washing them off, I donned a pair of gloves (because you always want to wear gloves when handling hot peppers, otherwise not only will your hands burn, so will anything else you touch--like your eyes or other sensitive spots).  I trimmed the stems down flat, and cut the peppers into chunks, about three per pepper.

Then I mixed a solution of 1 cup pickling lime to 1 gallon of water, put the pepper chunks in a large bowl, and poured the lime solution over them.  Then I proceeded to let them soak for about 18 hours.  This makes the peppers stay crisp when you can them (last time I attempted homemade pickled peppers, I didn't know this and they all turned out mushy.)

After the peppers had soaked a good long time, I dumped them into a colander and rinsed them off.  Then I put them in a clean bowl, covered them with water, and let them soak in the water for an hour.

When an hour was up, I again dumped them in the colander and rinsed them.  Rinsed out the bowl too, then back into the bowl with the peppers, and top off with fresh water.  Soak another hour.  All in all, the peppers were rinsed and soaked in fresh water three times, for a total of three hours.

Near the end of the final hour of soaking, I made up a solution of 7 1/2 cups cider vinegar to 1 1/2 cups water and 3 tablespoons canning salt.  I brought this to a boil, then kept it hot while I packed the once again drained peppers into my prewarmed canning jars.

The jars get 1/2 inch head space, although in this picture it doesn't look like it.  I squished them down before adding 1/2 teaspoon celery seed and 1 teaspoon mustard seeds to each jar, then ladled in enough vinegar solution to reach that 1/2 inch mark.  I pressed out the air bubbles with a spatula (you can also use a knife if you don't have a skinny spatula), wiped the rims, applied warmed lids and rings, then put the jars into my boiling water bath canner.

In the canner, I processed them at a boil for 10 minutes.  Once the time was up, they came out of the canner and went onto a towel on my kitchen island to cool overnight (minimum 12 hours cooling time for canned goods, remember!).

Here they are, all six pints, cooling next to the pickled beets I made earlier while the peppers were still liming.

Here's a close up of a jar of peppers.  You can see the celery seed and mustard seeds in them.

Can't wait for two weeks to be up so we can sample them!  (Two weeks being the minimum time you should wait for a pickled item to develop flavor.)

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