By May 10, 2012 Read More →

Preserving Jalapeños

jalapeno

As you all guessed by my name, I LOVE jalapenos.  So it stands to reason I know a lot about preserving them. :)  If you have ever grown jalapenos, then you know just how many one or two plants will produce for you.  Often time, WAY more than one person can use.  Here we will discuss multiple ways to save those fiery peppers that adds so much flavor to our delightful dishes.  We will learn about canning, roasting, pickling, drying and freezing your jalapeno peppers.  At the end of the article I will even give you a wonderful recipe on making jalapeno jelly!!

Important tip: Jalapeno’s have capsaicin in them (The stuff that makes them so hot).  So always make sure to protect your hands with gloves when possible or to wash them immediately after handling your peppers.  I use latex gloves when cutting and de-seeding them.  Ask me how I know this lol.  One time, I was making a HUGE batch of salsa for my family and all the neighbors.  I cut and de-seeded 18 jalapenos, all without gloves.  I regretted that for several days.  Have you ever burned UNDER your finger nails?  You don’t want to, so please wear gloves :)

Drying your peppers:

To my knowledge, there are three ways to dry peppers:  with an oven, without an oven, and using a dehydrator.  The first step to all three is to wash all the dirt away from your peppers and pat dry with a paper towel or dish towel so they are nice and clean.

Air Drying: You can use this method with just about any pepper you have

  • You are going to dry the peppers whole, do not slice
  • Next, take some garden twine or heavy duty string and loop it tightly around the stem of your jalapeno and knot it. Do this twice, but make sure not to pull the loop to tightly, you don’t want to cut your stem off
  • Continue tying your peppers approx. 2-3 inches apart on your string so they get good air flow while drying.
  • After stringing your peppers, place them in a well-ventilated , dry area.  Preferably in direct sunlight.  We have a second story balcony I usually hang mine off of.  I know a few people who will hang them off the clothes line and even pin them to the line.
  • If there is a threat of rain, make sure to bring them indoors until you have clear weather again.
  • Make sure to check your peppers.  After a few days they, will begin to shrink and may slip out of your knot. If so just restring them.
  • It should take about 2 weeks for them to dry completely. (depending on the weather) To check them, squeeze the pepper gently. You shouldn’t be able to feel ANY moisture at all.  If you do, continue to leave them hanging.

Oven drying:

Items you will need: Knife, cookie sheet(s), fan, oven thermometer

  • Preheat oven to 140 degrees F with your oven thermometer on top of stove
  • Cut off stems
  • Slice peppers long ways and scrap out seeds (you can discard seeds or keep them to plant)
  • Place your peppers on a clean baking sheet.  If you have too many you can use multiple baking sheets.  If you use multiple sheets, place one on the middle oven rack and one on the bottom oven rack.  Close the oven door but use an oven mitt to prop the door open.
  • Arrange your fan in a place so the air can circulate, but not melt your fan.   Air circulation decreases drying time.
  • Take your cooking tray out ever 30-45 minutes and stir them up some.  If you’re using two trays alternate them on their shelves every time you pull them out.
  • Watch your oven thermometer on the top of the stove and make sure the temp stays around 140 degrees F.  If it increases or decreases then adjust your temperature.
  • Once your peppers begin to feel dry or brittle, remove them and let them cool off.  Store in a glass jar or Ziploc bag.

Using a dehydrator:

  • You’re going to follow your basic directions on your dehydrator.
  • Peppers retain their color better if you DON’T cook them before putting them in your dehydrator. (I never cook them first)
  • Place cut and seeded peppers on your dehydrator trays and set at about 120
  • Cook for 6-8 hours (I usually turn it on before I go to bed at night

Many people are not sure what to do with their peppers once they are dried.  There are many ways to use them.  You can grind them into a powder and add to any food you want a kick to, or you can add water to them to bring them back to life. :)  You can also use them like sun dried tomatoes and eat them in salads or on burgers.  Be imaginative!

fire_grilled_jalapeños

 

Roasting Peppers:

You can buy roasted peppers, but they are so much tastier if you have fresh peppers and roast them yourself.  I found it is best to roast your peppers over a hot grill (gas or charcoal).  It tends to add a smoke flavor that makes your peppers taste excellent plain or in any dish.

For roasting Jalapenos, do not cut open, leave whole.  Fire up that grill with a high-medium heat and place your peppers on the grill turning frequently until they are chard and blistered on the outside. Don’t freak out, it will be black but that comes off easily.

Immediately after removing the peppers, place them in a plastic bag.  Leave in there about 10 minutes.  The heat will loosen the skins making them easier to remove from the pepper.  After the ten minutes are up, you can remove the peppers and scrap the black stuff off.  It’s going to be messy, but it should come off easily.  Once the skin is off, cut your pepper long ways and remove the seeds. Now your ready to use or eat your fiery hot jalapeno!

If you do not want to eat your roasted jalapenos, you can store them in the refrigerator for about 3 days or you can freeze them.

jalapeno peppers 4

Pickling Your Peppers

Saying that out loud reminds me of our childhood tongue twister.  Peter piper picked a peck of pickled peppers, lol.  Anyways, yes, you can pickle your peppers and I am here to help you through that. :)

 

Items you will need:

Ingredients you will need:

  • 4 lbs red, green, or yellow peppers
  • 5 cups white vinegar or apple cider vinegar (I prefer apple cider vinegar for mine)
  • 1 cup water
  • canning or pickling salt (follow directions on jar on how much to use per size jar)
  • 2 table spoons white sugar

All optional ingredients:

  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 5-10 peppercorns per jar
  • a sprig of oregano & thyme,  per jar

There are two methods to canning peppers, we will discuss both.  One is called the quick method which eliminates the canning process.  All this means is you’re going to refrigerate your peppers and will have to use them within 6 months.  If you water can your peppers they will have a much longer shelf life and you won’t have to refrigerate them.  In both, you will use the same ingredients.

Quick method:

  • Wash your peppers and slice the sides or stab them so there are three or four holes in them. (This needs to be done so the pickle solution can fill the pepper quickly.)
  • You may also cut the tops off the peppers and de-seed if you prefer, or slice them nacho style. (like you find in the store)
  • Fill the jar up to about an inch from the top.  (sometimes I might add some onion in the jar, just because I like onions).  This would also be the time to add the peppercorns, oregano, or thyme.  Place these in the bottom of the jar before you add the peppers)
  • Heat all the ingredients to boiling.
  • Pour solution into jars filling them until you’re about a half inch from the top.
  • Seal and let cool for a few hours and then refrigerate.  (you should hear the seal pop)
  • With this method you should use them within 1 to 2 months, however i have kept them for up to 8 months before use and they still tasted great)

Water canning:

Follow first two instructions for quick canning method above.  While doing the steps below, start boiling water in your water canner so it’s ready when you are.  Only fill the canner about 3/4 of the way with water because when you add your jars the water will rise.  If there isn’t enough to cover the jars you can always add more water.

jars-in-hot-water1. Clean and sterilize your jars.  You can do this one of two ways.  You can take your big pot and turn your jars upside down in it.  Then fill with water and bring to a boil.  Turn off heat and let jars stand in pot until ready to use.  The second, and much easier way, would be to wash your jars in a dishwasher and leaves them on the rack with the door closed so the steam doesn’t escape.

 

seals-in-water2. In the smaller pot, place your lids and rings and bring to just a slight boil and then remove from water.  I usually leave lids in the pot somewhere out of my way until I’m ready to seal the jars.

3. Add all ingredients (except peppers and any additional you decide such as onions peppercorns etc..) into a pot and bring to a boil.

4.  Fill up the jars to about an inch from the top of the jar with your peppers, onions etc. Remember, if you’re adding peppercorns, or other things to put them in the bottom of the jar first.

5. Next, using your canner funnel, pour the hot liquid solution into each jar covering the peppers completely, but leaving about 1/2 inch space at the top.  Using your spatula, push any air bubbles out of the liquid.

6. Wipe off and dry the rims.  If there is anything on the rims when you place the lids on it might not seal the jar properly.

7. Put your seals and rings on and screw them until they are tight. (They don’t have to be screwed on extremely tight, just snug)

8. Place your jars on the rack that drops down inside the canner.  At this point, the rack should be attached to the side of the canner so you can place your jars on the rack.  This prevents the jars from touching the bottom of the canner and from touching each other.  Gently lower jars into canner.

9. Jars should be covered with water about 2 inches above the lids.

10. Boil at a full boil for about 10-15 minutes. If the water boils down add more boiling water to the pot. You want it at a full boil the entire time.

11. When the time is up, raise the rack and hang over the side.  Let your jars sit for about 2 minutes and then using your jar lifter tool, life the jars slowly form the canner and place on towels or a wood chopping block.

12. As the jars begin to cool, you will hear the popping sound of the seals being sucked tight. :) This means you have done everything right :)

13. Try not to push on the seal until jars are completely cool and keep kids away from the jars!!  If you find a jar that hasn’t sealed properly, just stick it in the fridge and eat them.

14.  LABEL your jars with the type peppers and the date. This is very important!  Well, at least the date part is.

15. Store jars in a cool, dark environment.  No direct sunlight.

pickled peppers55Now you have multiple ways to preserve peppers for long and short term use!  Go get started and enjoy your yummy peppers year round!!  There are a lot of other things you can use this same recipe for as well.  You can pickle okra, carrots, radishes, onions, broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, the list goes on and on.  Remember, if you do not go through the canning process your going to have to refrigerate and eat your foods sooner rather than later.  I hope you have enjoyed the article and that it has made pickling your peppers seem fun and something you might like to try someday!!

Keepin it Spicy,

Jalapeño Gal

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About the Author:

Cari is an editor and author for American Preppers Network. Her family currently live in Georgia. Cari spends her free time gardening, canning, testing products for review, helping other prepare and attending church. She believes preparedness is about love and taking care of your family. Click Here! Please Join My New Blog! Check out my Preparedness Store! Keepin It Spicy, Jalapeño Gal!!

24 Comments on "Preserving Jalapeños"

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  1. Kris Watson says:

    I am a bit of a gringa when it comes to spice, but I really do enjoy Cowboy Candy (candied and pickled jalapenos). You can leave out the seeds and actually not die from the heat! Yummy on burgers, too! Bet you know all about them!!!!!

    • Would you please share the Cowboy Candy recipe?  My husband would love something like that and I am overrun with these prolific peppers!
      Thanks so much,
      Tracy,
      NC

      • 3 pounds Firm, Fresh Jalapeno Peppers, Washed
        2 cups Cider Vinegar
        6 cups White Granulated Sugar
        ½ teaspoons Turmeric
        ½ teaspoons Celery Seed
        3 teaspoons Granulated Garlic
        1 teaspoon Ground Cayenne Pepper

        Wearing gloves, remove the stems from all of the jalapeno peppers. The easiest way to do this is to slice a small disc off of the stem-end along with the stem. Discard the stems.

        Slice the peppers into uniform 1/8-1/4 inch rounds. Set aside.

        In a large pot, bring cider vinegar, white sugar, turmeric, celery seed, granulated garlic and cayenne pepper to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the pepper slices and simmer for exactly 4 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the peppers, loading into clean, sterile canning jars to within 1/4 inch of the upper rim of the jar. Turn heat up under the pot with the syrup and bring to a full rolling boil. Boil hard for 6 minutes.

        Use a ladle to pour the boiling syrup into the jars over the jalapeno slices. Insert a cooking chopstick to the bottom of the jar two or three times to release any trapped pockets of air. Adjust the level of the syrup if necessary. Wipe the rims of the jars with a clean, damp paper towel and fix on new, two-piece lids to finger-tip tightness.

        If you do not want to can these to the point of shelf stable, you can simply put the jars in your refrigerator and store them there. I prefer to keep the fridge space free so I can them. If you wish to can them, follow the instructions below.

        Note: If you have leftover syrup, and it is likely that you will, you may can it in half-pint or pint jars, too. It’s wonderful brushed on meat on the grill or added to potato salad or, or, or … in short, don’t toss it out!

        To can, place jars in a canner and cover with water by 2-inches. Bring the water to a full rolling boil. When it reaches a full rolling boil, set the timer for 10 minutes for half-pints or 15 minutes for pints. When timer goes off, use canning tongs to transfer the jars to a cooling rack. Leave them to cool, undisturbed, for 24 hours. When fully cooled, wipe them with a clean, damp washcloth, then label.

        Allow to mellow for at least two weeks, but preferably a month before eating. Or don’t. I won’t tell!

        I got this from tasty kitchen dot com :)

  2. mmm i LOVE them on burgers. That’s the only way to go :) I might leave out the seeds on the next batch for those who cant handle the heat :) I had several people say they were just to hot for their taste.

    JG

    • Kris Watson says:

      Do you add other produce to them? I have heard some adding garlic cloves or onions. My tummy is way too old for that!!!!

    • Oh yes! In mine i add garlic from our garden, some pepper corn, and on occasion red onions. I usually just eyeball it. With the peppercorns i use about 1.4 teaspoon per pint.

  3. Ron B says:

    What is the shelf life of the peppers when water-bath canned? One to two years, or have you kept them longer? I personally have kept water-bath canned pickles for five years and the taste and texture is close or equal to those consumed after just several months. Just wondering if the peppers would be similar. I will say that the jalapenos and garlic I add to my spicy dill pickles are some of the prime tidbits I look forward to when emptying the jars :-)

  4. I have been told they can last 5-10 years. I personally haven’t kept them that long because they get eaten or given away to those who try them. :) *Technically* speaking I think its 1-2 years though.

    JG

  5. I completely forgot to add my recipe for jalapeno jelly! I will be sure to add that in another article about peppers for you guys! I am so sorry!

  6. mamahen says:

    Yes, please add your jalapeno jelly recipe! Yumm!

  7. Precariat says:

    Thanks Gal! We’re going to buy our first canner tomorrow and my jalapeno plants are going nuts right now. How timely.

  8. Tym says:

    Hi, we did the hot water bath method a couple weeks ago. I opened one today and my japs taste great but they’re soft, almost mushy. Same thing for the dill pickles I did. Is this just what happens, or should I be using another method if I want crisp peppers?

    • No, they shouldn’t get mushy. Perhaps you are over processing them in the water canner and its boiling them to hard? How long did you process them? Also, did you use pickling salt? If you could tell me what you did and i will see if i can make any suggestions.

      JG

  9. No, they shouldn’t get mushy. Perhaps you are over processing them in the water canner and its boiling them to hard? How long did you process them? Also, did you use pickling salt? If you could tell me what you did and i will see if i can make any suggestions.

    JG

    • Tym says:

      I think we did both too long and too hot. We just got our first canner and followed the water bath instructions with it – with the lid on – for the longer side of 15 minutes. We now have a regular pot and canning rack, so next batch will be ten minutes. Couldn’t find pickling salt so we used Kosher. I’ll let you know how the next batch goes. Thanks!

    • We use the ball pickling crisp granules. I have really liked the way ours turned out :) Also, remember to have the water boiling before you drop the rack in, dont put them in and then bring to a boil. Good luck!!

      JG

    • Tym says:

      Just cracked open a jar from our second attempt. Outstanding!  Used pickling crisp and processed ten minutes. These are mild and delicious. It’s heating up here in TX so I’m hoping for some fire from the next batch. Thanks again!

  10. Kevin says:

    I am currently growing 2 of the Jalapeno plans myself and do expect to have lots of peppers. Is there a good way to pressure can these peppers? I am open to any suggestions as I have not canned Jalapenos in the past.
    Thank you for your time.

  11. Yes Kevin there is. :) You will use the same method above for pickling your peppers using a water caner. (its the last method I listed) There are many different recipes you can use to do this. It is all about taste preference really. Is there anything specific you had in mind?

    If you would rather use your pressure cooker (which is different than a water canner) then you can do that also. Just make sure and not to over boil the peppers either way you do this. about 10 minutes is the longest you should boil them.

    Once you get the hang of it it is so easy to do and you will look forward to our harvest this way. :)
    Have fun and let me know if I can help in any other way!! I have been posting different things you can do with your jalapeno’s as well and there is much more to come, so feel free to come back and check it out!!

    JG

    • Kevin says:

      10 min at 11 lbs of pressure if I am reading you correctly….change nothing in the recipe and be careful not to over boil them.

      Thank you so much

  12. Nancy says:

    How many jars does this recipe make? Pints…quarts? 

    Thanks

  13. I always mix up the sizes between pints and quarts. I also cut some jars differently than others so its hard to say :(

  14. Bill Warren says:

    Just googling for some ideas on jalapenos ( storage). Both sides of my family, were gardeners and canners. I got dragged into both.

    Can’t beat produce from the home garden esp. tomatoes. AF father had a few yrs. stationed in Albuquerque NM, the chilies came with us.

    I have so many jars of sliced ( nacho ) Jalapenos I could probably feed TX for a month. Sometimes I just halve, clean and freeze ( last few yrs. w. Vacuum sealing ) but I usually leave that for my serrano’s and ( Momma have the gloves!! ) Habernos ( frozen whole ).
    With Cayennes, one thinks that’s why they invented the dehydrator, works perfect (store in jars) and w. a little mill, great, red or green hot powder on demand.

    On how long for canned chilies? I think in a 50/50 or better vinegar mix you got years. I’ve got ( cuke ) relish that after 8yrs. I found perfectly fine ( cool basement storage ). Chilies should do better. BUT!! go only with what time frame you’re comfortable with. As I noted with my family doing this for many years, I’ve got docs from USDA, Ball, etc., going back to the 50′s. One consistent, the canning times have gotten longer and longer with the more recent publications.

    More definitive research? I think not. I think it’s more CYA ( in our litigious land ) sacrificing a better, fresher, canned product for legal coverage. ( Again!! MY opinion)
    I always can below the min recommended times by today’s guides, but within yesterdays standards. Be it noted however, I am meticulous in prep work. Jars are rewashed with a little chlorine, ALL implements used, get the same, and are also then boiled w. the jars.

    Thanks for the reminder on pepper jelly, I shall pursue that, albeit, me and ‘SureJell’, have frequently, not worked well together.

    Author mentions grilling. There are 2 peppers for which God himself will only use this method. New Mexican ( aka, Anaheim ) and Poblano. These are big fleshy chilies, the “Big Jim” New Mex can get to 10″. These are med to mild hot. ( however, some NM’s can think they’re big serranos, so be warned..). The NMs are the big circular dried reefs of chilies ( when over 5″ ) you see. NO WAY can they compare to grilling and freezing. If you grow or have access to these fresh chilies, the ONLY way to go. Over a charcoal grill, when 50 %+ blackened, into plastic bags or paper bags ( I prefer plastic but you must let chilies cool a few min first, as they can be too hot right off grill ) . Refridge, then at leisure, skin , half, clean, freeze. For longer storage, I use a serious, 0 dg chest freezer & vac packaging. ( since these roasted chilies still have a high moisture content, if you vac, you need to place in bags ( pre or custom cut ) & freeze till almost solid then finish the vac process .)

    If you do this, or have access to someone who has (fresh grilled or frozen ), I double dare you, I triple dare you , to compare the result with those little cans of ‘roasted green chilies’ from the super market. If you don’t immediately spit out that canned crap and foreswear ever buying again something is terribly wrong. Also the NM’s go to a wonderful red, that when pureed w. a little water, t. juice or stock it becomes the elixir of life, even without adding the trad, Mex. spices. Use with almost any dish; eggs, grilled meat, kick up a tomato sauce, etc. etc, ..

    Sorry for the long post, but I’m off for pepper jelly recipes …