So, my plan this year was to grow jalapeños to add to my homemade salsa along with the green chiles that I grow each year. It’s been somewhere around 15 years since I’ve grown them—and I lived in a completely different part of the country then, so I wasn’t super clear on their harvest window, but I figured they would come in around the same time as the green chiles and the tomatoes. Wrong. They’ve been coming at me like a firehose of capsaicin for the past month—easily several weeks ahead of the chiles and tomatoes. So, I had to find a recipe for canning this early harvest on its own. The plants are still churning out more jalapeños every day so there will still be plenty available for the salsa, but, in the meantime, I need to get cracking on the huge pile of peppers in my kitchen.
The canning tools needed can be found in the post on preserving blueberries, and the basic concept still applies regarding sterilization and washing everything beforehand. So, let’s just get straight to the actual preparation part.
I wore a pair of surgical gloves during this entire operation because I absolutely, positively do not want to be that person who thinks washing their hands is enough to get the oils off and then burns their eye out four ours later while rubbing it.
First, I sliced about two pounds of peppers into rounds about ¼” thick. I’ve got four pounds of peppers, but I wanted to put these in half pint jars and I only had nine on hand. As it was, I wound up needing to use a pint jar to get them all canned.
For the brine, I used a 3:1 ratio of apple cider vinegar to water, plus four large garlic cloves, sliced in large chunks. I brought the brine to a boil over high heat, then simmered for five more minutes and turned off the heat, leaving the pot on the burner.
Then, once my jars and lids were sterilized and ready to go, I used the canning funnel to place an even number of garlic pieces in each jar, and then packed in the jalapeños. These things don’t like to pack together well, so it was necessary to really push down on them pretty well to properly fill the jars. Then I ladled the brine into each jar until there was a ¼” head space.
Then, I used the bubble popping/head space measuring tool to bring the bubbles to the surface by just running it down the inside of the jar. After that, it was a simple matter of wiping the rims, using the magnet to set the lids on top of each jar, screwing the rings on fingertip tight, and putting them in the boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
I pulled each jar from the water and allowed them to cool on the cooling rack while NOT TOUCHING THEM and waiting for the telltale pops to let me know each jar was properly sealed. Then I dated the lids, allowed the jars to cool completely and stored them in the basement. Done. I just hope the chiles and tomatoes start to yield before I have to can the other two pounds of jalapeños that I couldn’t get to this time.
It’s also mid-August which means its time for the Fall planting. There are all kinds of plants that we could start again, but we typically just stick with the cold crops that we started last Spring, like the cabbages and lettuces. Loveshaq wrote up a great Dirty Business post a few months back about seed starting, so I won’t take up space being redundant here. The only thing I’ll add is that the cabbage seeds need the soil to be warmer than 75 degrees while the lettuce needs the soil to be cooler than 75 degrees, so I only placed the heating pad under the cabbage seeds. My plan is to have these ready to transplant by mid- to -late September for an October/November harvest.