For some reason, bell peppers were hard for me to grow. I don’t have trouble with hot peppers. They come shooting out one after the other, and then it becomes a rush to make salsa to use them all. But bells are a mystery. I may get two that’ll grow as large as the grocery store peppers and then that’s it. Itty bitty peppers from then on.
Well this might be the year that changed all that. I think I know why I did so well this time. Rich compost as a mulch! They seemed to love it and this year I was bombarded with bell peppers where at least 75% grew to full size. I planted 12 plants which (needless to say) called for canning some of the harvest since we couldn’t eat it all before the season was up.
As I searched and searched for the yummiest recipes, I became more and more discouraged because of my circumstances. (Living in the RV, kitchen in our new house is icky, spices and other necessities are still boxed up.) So I decided to do the old-fashioned thing: Forget making an exotic recipe and just put ’em up. Either bell or hot, this is one of the easiest things you can do.
Basic Canned Peppers
Any variety of peppers to fill a pint or quart jar
1-2 teaspoons white vinegar (per jar)
Canning salt (optional)
See the main canning page before moving on. We have to do the pressure canning method – it’s always the safest for canning only peppers. If they’re added to a recipe where the main ingredient is full of acid, then a water bath will probably be just fine. Otherwise remember to mind your P’s: Peppers = pressurized or pickled.
Since the skin tends to become tough during pressure canning, you can either remove it, or do what I did above and boil them. (Bring the water to a boil, add the peppers and boil for 3 minutes.) I’m using bell peppers here, so I cut them into large pieces and removed the seeds. But if you are canning smaller, hot peppers, you can leave them whole if you like.
Tip: Use the water you boil the peppers in to fill the jars afterwards. I guessed at the number of jars I’d fill and added the appropriate amount of water.
Clean the jars, lids and other canning tools. Remember, sterilizing the jars is unnecessary because the contents get sterile during the pressure canning process anyway. (Although some people do it anyway…you decide for yourself. :)) Add 3 quarts water to your pressure canner (or according to instructions) and bring the water up to a gentle boil.
Since I used pint-sized jars, I’ll add one teaspoon vinegar to each jar. Add two if you’re using quart-sized jars. Fill the jars with as many peppers as you can fit without over-packing (pressing) them. (You want to make sure the center gets processed properly.) Fill the jars with boiling water to 1/2 inch head space. If seasoning, add the salt and then screw on the lid/band until it’s finger tight.
Follow your pressure canner instructions and process at 11 pounds for 35 minutes for pint jars; 45 minutes for quart jars.
When you remove them make sure to set them onto a towel (to prevent a rapid change in temperature). You’ll see them continue to boil for a while so leave them alone until they cool completely.
Tip: See that ring around the bottom of the jar? That is hard water wreaking havoc again, so to prevent it, add a tablespoon of vinegar to the water in the pressure canner to prevent spots. Silly me, how could I forget that?!
Don’t forget the date! These will stay good on your shelf for up to a year.