Pickling at Home may seem like an intimidating task, but the job requires minimal materials and investment. If you're already growing an item you would like to pickle, the cost is reduced further. In my case, I had several hot pepper plants which were producing more fruit than I could use at one time. The solution was clear: pepper rings.
Basic Equipment for Pickling/Canning:
- white vinegar
- non-iodized salt
- a pot large enough to hold your jars and have them covered with, at least, a half inch of water*
- - a rack to go inside your pot (I use the round grate to a small indoor grill)
- you can also purchase a canning rack for a modest sum
- - a pressure canner*
- - canning jars with lids and rings**
- - a jar lifter
- - any specialized seasoning mixture (i.e., garlic, dill, black pepper, red pepper flakes, dill seed-dill pickles, cilantro and lime for salsas, etc.)
Ingredients for Hot Pepper Rings:
- Approximately 1 pound of hot or sweet peppers
- 2 cups of water
- 3 teas. of pickling salt (any non-iodized salt)
- 3 - 1 pint canning jars with lids and rings
- 3 cups of white vinegar
- 3 cloves finely minced garlic
- A pair of rubber gloves - if handling hot peppers
1. Wash all jars, lids and rings with anti-bacterial dish soap and rinse in hot water. I usually wash my pot
and rack as well. Set the rings aside to dry.
2. Place your rack in the pot and fill with enough water to cover the pint jars once added.
3. Bring your pot of water to boil. Reduce heat and keep water simmering. Place empty jars and lids in/on
your canning rack.
4. Wash the peppers thoroughly, discard any which are blemished or show signs of insect damage. Then
slice the tops from the peppers and slice into the size desired. It is a good idea to keep the slices
between 1/4" and 1/2". Feel free to mix pepper varieties if you wish.
5. If trying to remove some heat, do your best to shake out the seeds from the rings. I keep them in, I like
6. In a small pot, heat the vinegar, water and garlic until barely boiling.
7. Using a jar lifter, remove the jars from the large pot - pour any water in the jars back into the large pot.
8. Fill each jar with the peppers, leaving only 1/4" headspace to the top of the jar, and ladle hot liquid into
jars maintaining same. Tap jars lightly to remove air bubbles or use a plastic spatula to stir them out.
Place one lid on each jar and wipe the ridges for the ring clean.
9. Using your fingertips, gently tighten the ring on the jar until just tight.
10. Using the jar lifter, place the jars back into the large pot, ensuring water completely covers the jars.
11. Process jars for about 10 minutes in nearly boiling water. A rolling boil is far too hot, but you'll want to
see rippling at the surface.
12. Remove the jars from heat and set somewhere safe to cool - out of sunlight on a heat resilient surface.
13. Press the lid of each jar down gently with your finger, if the lid pops back up, the jar failed to seal.
Return it to the processing pot for another 10 minutes. If it still fails to seal or you see water seeped
inside, you may rinse and use the peppers immediately or store in a refrigerator for up to 3 days.
14. Let sealed jars sit for 48 hours, undisturbed, and check for seal again. If the seal has not taken, discard
the contents of the jar. If the seal is good, store the jar in a cool, dark place to maintain integrity.
Your peppers will pickle in 3-6 weeks. They will store for about a year.
ONLY use fresh produce-without blemishes and while at peak of ripeness-for best flavor
NEVER fill a canning jar with any kind of crack, chip, or visible flaw in the glass
NEVER place your canning jars in the bottom of a hot pot of water with no rack
ALWAYS use fresh, filtered water for any water going into the jars
* Pressure canning is the best method to maintain the highest standard of food safety, and the most effective way to avoid food borne illnesses from canned foods. It is 100% required (absolutely not kidding about this, no exceptions) for low acid produce and any kind of meat product. If you have any doubts about the acid content of the produce or when you must use a presser canner, please feel free to contact me.
** Do not reuse glass jars from the grocery store purchased with items already inside, these jars are almost impossible to reseal properly and can cause food borne illness when used for home canning. While it is tempting to, say, reuse a pickle jar for making homemade, do so at your own risk.