Basic pickle recipe

KimHat(7)July 31, 2012

I am new to canning and have found all sorts of tested pickle recipes out there, but they are always more complicated than I want. I love pickled jalapenos, but i want them to taste like they do from the store-just better. But I don't want garlic or caraway seed or dill in them. Can I just use half vinegar/half water mix with a teaspoon of salt in each jar? (pint jars). Can I use any kind of vinegar. Can I leave anything out of a tested recipe except vinegar, water, and salt? If there is sugar in a recipe, can I tweak that, or is that important for food safety reasons, too? I guess in a nutshell, what parts of any given recipe are hard and fast, and what parts can I play with? And also, how long does processing time have to bee for pint jars of jalapenos? My last batch was 15 minutes in a BWB, but the jalapenos were a little softer than I like. Thanks- and any info would be appreciated.

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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Just pickled peppers, right?

I guess in a nutshell, what parts of any given recipe are hard and fast, and what parts can I play with?

Yours isn't an easy question to answer because it varies depending the food and the recipe in question. So bear with me please. Take the NCHFP approved recipe for Pickled Jalapeno Pepper Rings:

Pickled Jalapeno Rings

3 pounds jalapeno peppers
1 1/2 cups pickling lime
1 1/2 gallons water
7 1/2 cups cider vinegar (5%)
1 3/4 cups water
2 1/2 tablespoons canning salt
3 tablespoons celery seed
6 tablespoons mustard seed
Yield: About 6 pint jars.

The lime and 1 1/2 gallons of water are for pre-soaking to firm up the pepper rings. Note multiple fresh water rinses are required.

The 7 1/2 cups of cider vinegar (5%) can be cider or white distilled but must be 5% acidity. Many other types of vinegar are NOT 5%. Cider vinegar is preferred for the flavor it gives, less sharp, less bite.

The 1 3/4 cup water is used to dilute the vinegar just a bit but most pickled pepper recipes will call for straight vinegar or something close to it. 1/2 and 1/2 vinegar and water works for cukes but isn't acidic enough for peppers in most cases.

The amount of salt is optional and you can leave out or reduce the celery and mustard seed if you wish although most commercial can peppers do contain some and using none will change flavor substantially.

The processing time for pints is 10 min. depending on altitude.

If crispiness is an issue, add Pickle Crisp per its label directions.

_________

Now if you want whole pickled jalapenos the recipe is:

Pickled Hot Peppers

Hungarian, Banana, Chile, Jalapeno

4 lbs hot long red, green, or yellow peppers
3 lbs sweet red and green peppers, mixed
5 cups vinegar (5%)
1 cup water
4 tsp canning or pickling salt
2 tbsp sugar
2 cloves garlic
Yield: About 9 pints

With this recipe you can mix the types of peppers, 1/2 and 1/2 or all jalapenos. The amount and type of vinegar cannot be changed, the salt can be adjusted to taste, and you can leave out or reduce the sugar and garlic.

Does that help?

Dave

Here is a link that might be useful: NCHFP - Pickled Jalapeno Pepper Rings

    Bookmark   July 31, 2012 at 3:36PM
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readinglady(z8 OR)

I've seen a few tested pickled pepper recipes that call for 1:1 vinegar/water, but those are sweet recipes with lots of sugar, enough that the sugar probably plays a role.

The simpler hot pickled pepper recipes tend to be 5:1 or 6:1. Colorado State Extension has a pickled pepper recipe that's 3:1, which is the lowest ratio of vinegar to water in a hot recipe I've seen.

There are lots of Extension service pepper recipes out there but if you use one, be sure to check the date of publication. Extension services are short of funding and sometimes documents are not updated or remain online beyond their time.

Regarding your other questions, it's fine to delete garlic or any herbs called for. Sugar called for in small amounts (typically about 2 T. per batch) can be deleted. It's only there to take the "edge" off the vinegar.

You can use any vinegar you like as long as it's 5% strength.

Carol

    Bookmark   July 31, 2012 at 4:02PM
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KimHat(7)

Thanks guys- this is exactly what I was looking for- actual science. BTW- do you know of any canning recipe books that really explain the science behind why we do certain things when we can- just so I never unknowingly make a mistake or something. Also, what kind of vinegar is the mildest? I've heard good things about apple cider vinegar. What about white wine vinegar, or other, less common vinegars?

    Bookmark   July 31, 2012 at 10:05PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

BTW- do you know of any canning recipe books that really explain the science behind why we do certain things when we can

The publication below covers some of the science. You can also investigate your local county extension office for Master Food Preserver courses. If you want to understand all of it, then like the folks at NCHFP, you will need a PhD in Food Science. In other words, it isn't that easy. :)

just so I never unknowingly make a mistake or something.

Not a problem if you stick with tested and approved recipes and avoid experimenting. Experimenting is fine in cooking, but not in canning. Canning is directed at preserving some basic ingredients safely so that they can then be used later for experimenting when cooking.

Also, what kind of vinegar is the mildest? I've heard good things about apple cider vinegar. What about white wine vinegar, or other, less common vinegars?

Cider vinegar is generally considered the mildest of the more common types. But Carol said above you can use any type you wish as long as it is verified as 5% acidity or more. Many of the "less common vinegars" (as well as many of the store or 'off' brands) are NOT 5% acidity or their acidity levels are not stabilized nor verified.

Dave

Here is a link that might be useful: USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning

    Bookmark   August 1, 2012 at 10:25AM
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readinglady(z8 OR)

Apple cider vinegar, as Dave said, tends to the milder. However, it will affect color more than lighter vinegars, and some object to that.

I often use white wine vinegar, which also tends to the mild, as opposed to white distilled.

Any vinegar will "mellow" over time on the shelf. The flavor at time of bottling will not be the same after a couple of months.

Carol

    Bookmark   August 1, 2012 at 2:46PM
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