The garden is in full production of jalapeno peppers, so its time to get some canning done. I pickle my jalapenos so I can do my canning using the water-bath method rather than pressure canning. To make six pints of pickled jalapenos you will need:
A one gallon freezer bag full of jalapenos, washed and dried
Six grape leaves
A large covered pot that is big enough to hold six pint jars completely covered with water
Six pint jars
Six canning lids and rings
A jar lifter
A canning funnel
A wooden chop stick or a thin knife
And ten cups of canning brine (ingredients below)
I always start my jars sterilizing first since this takes longer than any other part of the process. To sterilize jars, fill them with water and place them in the pot, then fill the remainder of the pot with water until the jars have at least ½ inch of water over the tops. Place the pot on the stove, cover, and turn the burner on high. After the pot comes to a rolling boil let it boil for ten minutes then turn the heat off. Keep covered.
Next I prepare the pickling brine. To make the brine I use a medium large pot and pour in five cups of distilled white vinegar, five cups of water, and five tablespoons of canning salt. Be sure to use canning salt, kosher salt, or pure sea salt. Do not use iodized table salt. To this mixture I add one teaspoon of mustard seed, one teaspoon of granulated garlic, and ¼ teaspoon of turmeric. Cover this mixture and bring to a boil for 15 minutes. This is actually a little more brine than you will need, but there’s nothing more frustrating than to run short of brine and have to make a new batch to finish up that last jar.
Place your lids and rings in a small pot and cover with water. Heat until the water just starts to boil then turn the heat off. I usually don’t turn the heat on under the lids and rings until about ten minutes before I’m going to use them. It doesn’t take long for them to heat up, and I want them to be hot when I use them.
When your jars have sterilized, use your jar lifter to take them out of the pot. Pour about an inch or two of water from each jar back into the pot then discard the rest. Recover the pot to retain as much heat as possible.
Line your jars up on the counter and stuff them as tightly as possible with the jalapeno slices. Add one grape leaf to each jar as you are filling it with jalapenos. The tannin in the grape leaves will keep the jalapenos from getting too mushy.
Run your chop stick down the inside edge of the jar all the way to the bottom. Do this three or four times around the inside of the jar. This is to remove trapped air bubbles. Top up the brine so that it is about ½ inch from the rim.
As they cool the lids should make a loud pink as the center of the lid pops down a little. If the lid doesn’t ping down, you do not have a good seal and the peppers will spoil. All you can do is either replace the lid and ring and re-boil the jar, or discard the peppers. You may choose to refrigerate the contents and use them in the near future, but I either re-can or discard.
When the jalapenos have cooled for 24 hours; I remove and wash the rings for re-use, date the jars, and put them into storage. Be sure that the lid is still popped down and that the seal is intact when you open a jar for use. If the lid is not down discard this jar as it may contain botulism. I have never had this problem, but it can happen, so be safe.
One note: don’t be dismayed if your peppers float up and leave a little empty space of brine at the bottom. It is almost impossible to pack the peppers tight enough to keep this from happening.