Sunday, July 29, 2012

A quick canning tutorial

     I just got back from Mamaw and Pop's farm (this is what the kids call my parents).  While I was there we picked buckets full of peppers and some okra from the garden.  Pop and I decided to can the peppers and okra.  Mamaw would usually be part of the canning process too, but she is recuperating from surgery after a bad fall left her with a broken wrist. 
     Canning peppers and okra are some of the easiest to do.  I thought I would share the process with you.
Fresh peppers out of the garden. Bell peppers, banana peppers, and jalapeno

     Pop and I picked the peppers, washed them and removed the seeds and membrane of the pepper.  My oldest daughter Alanna helped me cut them into bite size pieces.  We then washed the canning jars since they had been stored awhile. After the jars were washed we filled them with the cut peppers, it helps if you place a folded cup towel on the table or counter and tap the jar on top of the folded cup towel to help shift the peppers tightly into the jar.
     My youngest daughter Andella did most of the tapping, she is 10 years old and that part was entertaining to her.  You keep filling the jars and tapping until you reach with in one inch of the top and then gently push the peppers so they are tight in the jar without crushing them.

     While you are filling the jars bring to a boil cider vinegar, (the kind you buy at the grocery in gallon jugs for under $2.00).  You will need approx. the same amount of liquid per total jar contents that you have.  (For example we made 11 quarts and used a little over 2 gallons of vinegar.)  Add to the top of each filled quart jar 2 Tbsp. of canning salt, 1/2 tsp of garlic powder or a clove of garlic, and 1 tsp. of fresh dried dill (Mamaw dries hers from the garden).  When the vinegar comes to a boil fill the jar to the top with the vinegar allowing it time to fill the spaces in the jar.  Then the BIG TRICK... put one jar at a time into the microwave for approx. 1 minute until the liquid boils in the jar (watch the first one and make a note of when the liquid boils as microwaves vary). Pull out of the microwave (CAREFULLY, CONTENTS ARE HOT) put a new canning lid and a good canning ring that is free of rust and not bent and tighten as tight as possible by hand.  Please note you can use canning jars a hundred times, canning rings several times, but you should only use lids once.  Turn upside down for 2 hours.  Wait one week before eatting, they will last up to 6 months if you haven't already enjoyed them.  Refrigerate after opening.
After filling with hot vinegar turn upside down to help seal the jar

Finished product, the one in the front has okra and peppers
These are so pretty and great on salads, this is a mild version.  They could be hotter if more jalapeno's were used or if you leave in the seeds it increases the heat factor.

A recap of ingredience per quart of peppers:
Enough peppers to fill jar
2 Tbsp. of canning salt
1/2 tsp of garlic powder or a clove of garlic
1 tsp. of dried dill

You could add onion, or okra if desired.


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