Monday, September 15, 2008

Pickled pepperoncini peppers or hot banana peppers

Pickled peppers are a pantry staple here. DH always plants several types of peppers and every year I put up quarts of hot banana peppers (aka Hungarian Wax?), and sometimes jalapeno or serrano peppers. Years ago I used to put up the sweet banana peppers, too, but DH has gone completely to the hot side in recent years and doesn't plant them anymore.

This year after several years of me asking "why not plant pepperoncini, too?" he finally decided to take the plunge. (Which is a real good thing as I've not found pepperoncini to be readily available at our local farmer's market in previous years.) We've had a good crop so far and I'm on the third canning session for pepperoncini. The crockpot will get a workout this winter as we all like Italian beef sandwiches on hearty homemade wholegrain rolls. And, tho I've tried preparing the roast with hot banana peppers, I prefer the milder (to my taste anyway) pepperoncini peppers. (BTW, why is it every time I go to type that word I misspell it as pepperocini? Anyone else with that problem?)

I use the same recipe for pickling any of the hot peppers. It's very basic and easy to do. It's okay to combine different pepper varieties in the same jar, too. For heat distribution while processing, it might be best to stick with similar sizes of peppers, tho. These can also be sliced into rings before jarring but I find the texture is better if they're left whole then sliced before serving, if desired. If you've never canned before check out the latest Ball Blue Book of Preserving or the USDA-funded website, National Center for Home Food Preserving, for detailed directions.

Pickled Peppers

4 quarts peppers
1-1/2 cups salt (non-iodized or pickling salt recommended)
1 gallon plus 2 cups water, divided
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons prepared horseradish, optional
10 cups vinegar (5% acidity)
1/4 cup sugar

Wash peppers. Leave up to an inch of stem on each pepper. Cut two small slits in each pepper. (Wear plastic gloves to prevent burning hands.)

Dissolve salt in gallon of water. Put peppers in a large non-reactive container that will hold the peppers and the gallon of water. Pour salt water over peppers and put a dinner plate on top to hold peppers below level of water. May need to weight plate with a glass jar filled with water and capped. Let stand at room temperature for 12 to 18 hours.

Drain and rinse peppers, then drain thoroughly. Combine 2 cups water and remaining ingredients in large saucepan; simmer for 15 minutes. Remove garlic.

Pack peppers into hot sterilized canning jars, leaving 1/2-inch head space. Pour boiling hot pickling liquid over peppers, leaving 1/4-inch head space. Adjust lids.

Process half pints and pints for 10 minutes, quarts for 15 minutes in boiling water water.Oh, and the Pepperoncini Beef is a simple crockpot recipe. Put a beef chuck roast in the slow cooker. Pour liquid and pepperoncini from pint canning jar over roast and cook on Low for 6 to 8 hours. That's it. If peppers were canned in a quart-size jar, just put half the peppers and half the liquid over beef or use a larger roast and the whole quart. Original recipe based on a 2-1/2 to 3-pound roast. Venison works great, too. If you want to get fancy add garlic, onions or an Italian dressing seasoning packet along with the peppers and their pickling juice.

33 comments:

Alison said...

They look so colorful and shiny. I keep saying I'll try canning some day, but that day has not yet come. Maybe I'm saying it for when I'm a grandma.

The Divine Ms. Jimmi said...

They are very pretty. Do you boil the jars in a pot of boiling water?

Carolyn said...

Even if I didn't plan to eat the peppers I'd like the colorful peppers sitting in the jars.

I wash the jars (but don't sterilize by boiling) before filling them with raw peppers and then boil the sealed jars of peppers in a pot of water that's large enough the jar lids are covered with at least an inch of water. (That's the boiling water bath part.) They still have a bit of crunch to them that way. I don't like mushy peppers...

omelay said...

found this whilst searching desperately for a pickling recipe for pepperonicini. 7yo ds dearly loves them so we grew two plants this year and have a huge crop! would you say this recipe compares well to storebought? i know, it will be better, but ds will be disappointed if they aren't similar iykwim.

tabitha

Carolyn said...

I think they are similar to the jars my DSis used to buy for me at Costco or Sam's. No longer remember the brand name but they were in a jar and very colorful, too.

Two things I try to do when canning these -- first, let the jars sit for at least a month or two before opening. That way the vinegar is toned down; similar to letting regular pickles, salsa, etc. sit to let the flavors meld before eating.

And the other is to use a simmering hot water bath (temp maintained around 200F.) instead of a full rolling boil. Several extension sites explain that in more detail but it's the method they usually recommend when processing pickles. Helps the peppers stay crisper.

No peppers ready here yet. Today's devoted to beets (pickled, canned and dehydrated), cucumbers (pickles-canned or frozen, dehydrated) and some summer squash I'm using for a marinated salad and, at DS's request, some muffins or quick bread. :-)

karl said...

thanks! i picked our first little basket of these guys today and printed your recipe. how do i measure the peppers? it says 4 quarts- packed in a pyrex cup? how many pints or quarts does this recipe typically make? i don't think i have enough for a full recipe.

sorry to grill you but i am always pretty hesitant with new canning recipes.

Carolyn said...

I think the easiest way to measure the peppers is to place them in the jars you're planning to use for canning. Pack them in tightly, but remember to leave headroom at the top. Otherwise, use a large measuring cup. Then transfer to a large container suitable for the salt water soak.

When I'm canning peppers I really don't worry about measuring the amount of peppers as the recipe will accommodate any amount. I just have to remember to mix up the salt water and later the vinegar pickling mixture in the right proportions so as to allow enough to cover the peppers, first in the salt water and later, in the jars, in the pickling liquid.

Sometimes I end up with some pickling liquid leftover after filling the jars. If I'll have more peppers to can within a few days, I may keep the extra pickling liquid in a jar in the fridge, then bring it to a boil and add additional ingredients to make enough to cover the next batch in the jars.

Good luck with your peppers! Tonight's project for me is green beans...

Carolyn said...

Oops, forgot to say:

As written this recipe will yield 4 quarts or 8-9 pints of peppers and you may have pickling liquid leftover after filling the jars, particularly if using quart jars. How tightly the peppers are packed in the jars determines how much liquid needed to fill the jars.

Aaron said...

Why 10 cups of vinegar?

The USDA Pickled Pepper recipe calls for only 1 cup vinegar per quart jar.

Carolyn said...

This recipe makes double the amount of liquid, Aaron, so instead of calling for 1 cup of water and 5 cups of 5% vinegar, it's 2 and 10. Cut back to the lesser amount if you're canning fewer peppers. Just be sure to the keep the ratio the same.

nygardener said...

Just made a batch of these. I increased the recipe by half to get 6 quarts of Hungarian wax peppers.

Like the Pepperoncini Beef tip.

Carolyn at Walnut Spinney said...

Thanks for the note, nygardener. I'm getting ready to make these this week, too. I'm going to try the "Fooled You" peppers we're growing this year for my mother as she doesn't like any heat. Then more hot banana and pepperoncini peppers as they come in.

When we have enough of the Marconi red peppers I want to put some up to use as I would pimientos, too.

Nikki said...

When salt brining do you use cold water or room temp to start?

Carolyn at Walnut Spinney said...

I use cool water straight from the faucet, Nikki. We have a well so it's cold enough for drinking but not chilled like from the fridge.

Anonymous said...

I just made pepperoncini 3 weeks age with this recipe. It is awesome. I just tasted them and it was like I opened a jar from the store. How can I make them a little crunchier?

Milt in Pleasant Grove said...

Hi. We just packed 14 quarts and 3 pints of pepperoncinis using this recipe. One of the quarts and one of the pints didn't seal properly so I opened and tasted: Flavor great, too mushy. I don't know how the rest will turn out. My question is does the liquid have to be boiling when you pour it into the jars? Seems like a little cooler liquid might lead to a little crunchier peppers ... and we'll have more coming soon.
Milt in Pleasant Grove

Carolyn at Walnut Spinney said...

Since I wrote this post 3 years ago, I've experimented with calcium chloride (aka Ball's Pickle Crisp, CaCl2) as an additive when pickling peppers for canning. CaCl2 can also be helpful for firming the curd when making hard cheeses. (After buying a tiny jar of Ball's version, I now buy the generic version from a local bulk foods store instead. Big difference in price.)

When using calcium chloride to help firm pickles, I add a teaspoon to each quart jar (1/2 teaspoon for each pint) before adding peppers and hot pickling liquid. Then process as normal. It does help improve firmness/crispness but still won't produce a pickle that "snaps" like a shot when bitten... ;)

Also, like cucumbers, taking peppers straight from the garden to the pickling pot will help insure a firmer, crisper pickled pepper. Waiting till the next day or later, can contribute to mushiness and even CaCl2 won't help if using vegetables that are starting to droop, even slightly.

Milt in PG: The pickling liquid must be boiling when you pour it over the peppers so that the jar's contents will come to temp as fast as possible when processing in the water bath. That reduces the need for additional time spent heating which makes for mushy peppers, with or without added CaCl2.

Chris Nelson said...

Between draining/rinsing my peppers and getting them into the jars, they went from a beautiful green to turning brown. I'm assuming that won't affect the taste, but just thought I'd let others know. I'll have to wait to drain and rinse next time until right before I pack them in the jars. But your recipe was very easy to follow and we can't wait to try them!

Carolyn at Walnut Spinney said...

How long a time lapse between rinsing/draining and putting in the jars, Chris?

I'm not sure I'd be comfortable eating vibrant green peppers that had turned brown. Hope you have more peppers to try out the recipe with...

Anonymous said...

How do you keep the peppers from floating to the top of the jar, once you've poured the hot liquid over it?
Mine float to the top....

Carolyn at Walnut Spinney said...

I tightly pack the peppers in the jars -- no crushing or mashing but some are turned with stem-end-up and others are turned stem-end-down so they wedge against each other and against the glass sides.

HTH!

Stay at home mom said...

We are about to have a bunch of Pepperoncini peppers coming in. I'd like to try your recipe. Also, we make the italian beef/venison too. Love it. I add oregano and shredded zucchini and carrot. The kids eat it up!

Melissa said...

I was wondering if you could cut the peppers like how they come in the stores? Any ideas?

Carolyn at Walnut Spinney said...

If you're thinking of pepper rings, Melissa, I don't cut mine before canning as I think they tend to be softer that way.

Adding Pickle Crisp (calcium chloride or CaCl2) will help that problem a bit but I still prefer to pickle them whole and then slice when I open the jar. (Means less prep time when canning, too.)

witchywoman said...

I just have to say...GREAT BLOG! I was searching for a recipe to can my pepperoncinis and came across this little gem. I, too, write a blog. It's called Life in an RV http://lifeinanarv.blogspot.com I'd really like to promote yours on mine, if that would be ok. I am currently cooking my way around the world from my RV galley. We live full-time in our fifth wheel and just a couple of years ago, I took the plunge and got a water bath canner and life has been wonderful since then. Thanks again for a wonderful recipe and I will link back to this when I get my peppers going tomorrow. Have a great day!

Carolyn at Walnut Spinney said...

Glad you like it, witchywoman! I'll have to check out your blog as living in an rv has always sounded kind of entertaining to me!

I'm working up some anaheim and some other hot peppers today--canning Hot Sweet Chile-Garlic sauce.

Anonymous said...

i'm new to this canning stuff, why do you need to soak the pepper for 12 hours?

Carolyn at Walnut Spinney said...

Brining improves texture and taste.

It's not a safety issue since the vinegar solution is used for canning so the saltwater soak could be omitted. Just be aware that the results may differ.

Andy R said...

Am I reading the recipe right - a 5:1 ratio of vinegar to water? I don't recall ever seeing a pickle recipe with such a ratio. My dill pickle recipe is straight 1:1 ratio. Can you confirm/give me Assn idea of what I can expect flavor_wise?

Carolyn at Walnut Spinney said...

The vinegar-to-water ratio is correct as written, Andy R, and is pretty standard for this type of vegetable pickle. Here's a link to a very similar recipe on the Extension Service-sponsored National Center for Home Food Preservation's website at UGA for comparison.

As for taste, these are a clone of the jars of pickled peperocini we used to buy at one of the big box stores. No longer remember the brand but they were colorful and tasty...

Anfy R said...

Thank you for the speedy reply. Canning 6 pints now

lrike said...

Carolyn,

Have read your entire post on pickling to Pepperoncini peppers. You mentioned throughout the years two different steps you do, one is a 200° bath instead of boiling and using pickle Crisp. can you redo your recipe from start and let us know what your steps are now?

Anonymous said...

why do you have to soak the peppers in salt water?