Issue canning whole hot peppers.

soilent_greenSeptember 27, 2012

Hi folks,

I canned eight quart jars containing a variety of hot peppers. Per recipe instructions I put two slits in each pepper. The process went well, no problems, all jars sealed.

Because the peppers were whole there was air in them. After twenty four hours since the canning process was completed the brine has been soaking into the peppers so that now the jars are only two thirds full of brine. This means that a third of the peppers in each jar are now sitting above the brine level. I now have the jars upended after one day so that the brine can soak into the peppers that are normally sitting above the brine level. I do not know how much this matters (but I think it does) so I plan on doing this rotating every couple of days for a month so that the brine can flavor and mellow all the peppers in the jars as evenly as possible.

My question is how do I avoid this happening in the future while canning whole peppers? Did I do something wrong or miss a step? I already can sliced peppers and rings, so doing this instead is not the solution for me.

Thanks for any help.


Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Which set of instructions did you use? There are several possible ways to do it.

Did you pickle them (you mention brine) or can them plain? Did you roast or blister/peel them first or boil them in the brine before filling the jars? Did you flatten them? The heating removes much of the air in them, replacing it with the liquid so the level stays normal in the jars.


    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 10:02AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
david52 Zone 6

I cut off the stem end, then pack them in so that end is up and the pointy end down - Then use a looser pack, leaving about an inch of fluid above the peppers.

same thing with okra.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 12:03PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I used a basic pickling recipe I got off the web which is as follows:

2 qt. jalapeno peppers (I substituted several varieties of hot peppers.)
2 c. white vinegar
2 c. water
1 tsp. salt

1. Cut peppers or leave whole (to prevent bursting cut 2 small slits). (In other words, I used raw peppers.)

2. Combine water and vinegar, heat to a simmer. Do not boil.

3. Pack peppers tightly into clean hot jars. Pour hot vinegar solution over peppers leaving 1/2 inch head space.

4. Add salt and seal. (I skipped this step and added salt to the brine instead.)

5. Process in boiling bath for 10 minutes. Yield 4 pints.

I did not want to roast or blister/peel them first. For this batch I was after a basic whole pickled hot pepper like the hot cherry peppers my dad used to grab out of the jar by the stem and eat when I was a kid - which is why I know peppers can be pickled whole with the stems on. That is, unless my memory is all out of whack - which is entirely possible these days it seems. ;)

Thanks for the input,

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 6:20PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Here is a pic to show the batch. Peppers in the jars contain both green and ripe jalapeno, black hungarian, pepperoncini, cayenne long slim, tobasco, cascabella, bhut jalokia, dorset naga, red hab, orange hab, chocolate hab, and Caribbean red peppers.

Lower right jar is all habaneros - my favorites. :)

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 6:45PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Then the basic problem is the recipe and its directions. It is a very poor quality recipe IMO. No seasonings added, over-packing, doesn't call for any heating of the peppers to force the air out of them, etc. It also has only the minimum amount of vinegar required for safety but that's a whole another issue.

Without any heating then as david52 said above a much looser pack of the peppers is required - less peppers and much more liquid in the jars - because the peppers are going to absorb much of the liquid in the jars and over time the peppers above the liquid level will discolor and darken.

In your picture are those pints or quarts? If quarts then that is another potential issue since even your recipe called for only pints.

Always best to use tested and approved recipes for canning rather than random stuff off the web.


Here is a link that might be useful: NCHFP - Pickled Hot Peppers

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 7:40PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


Thanks for your input and thanks for the link.

I used quarts and modified the recipe accordingly. I intentionally wanted to use the most basic recipe with no other seasonings. I will see how they turned out when I open up a jar in a month or so. If there is going to be a problem then I will open up all the jars and put the peppers in a gallon jar in the refrigerator and turn some into hot sauce.

This was just an experiment - I may never can them this way again. I thought maybe there was a simple solution to what happened that I have not thought of. I admit that david52's method is definitely a simple solution.

My next experiment will be to preserve hot pepper halves that I am going to cold-smoke first. We had a hard frost here so I harvested all my peppers beforehand and I had around two bushels of hot peppers to play with.


    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 9:22PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

The problem is that there is no calculated processing time for quarts, only for pints. You can always use smaller jars but you can never safely increase the jar size over what is called for in the recipe.

So by simple definition your peppers are under-processed and not safe for shelf storage. Add to that the low level of acid used (the vinegar) and you have some real risky peppers there.

The link to the tested and approved instructions above doesn't require the addition of the spices/sugar and such but it does require pint jars only and and 3x as much vinegar as you used.

If less than 24 hours old they need to be opened, shifted to pint jars, have more vinegar added, and reprocessed for an additional 10 mins. If more than 24 hours old then it is your choice whether to keep them and keep them refrigerated or to toss them. Tossing them would be the standard recommendation per the guidelines.


    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 10:26PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I neglected to mention that I processed them for 15 minutes. This fact is largely irrelevant because as far as I am concerned the low level of brine in the jars immediately negated any consideration of long term storage.

I do not think the peppers will be unsafe for consumption, but if I have any doubts I will toss them. They are not that important to me anyway and I have no problem writing this project off as a failure. I will keep a closer eye on the acidity issues when doing future canning projects - no point in doing things incorrectly.


    Bookmark   September 28, 2012 at 1:08AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

where did you find such a variety of peppers to plant? I would love to plant more variety in my garden next year. do you buy seed or plants locally?

    Bookmark   September 29, 2012 at 7:12PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Dave- the recipe you posted, do I have to broil and blister the peppers? Thanks!

    Bookmark   September 29, 2012 at 7:14PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

kerryv - "where did you find such a variety of peppers to plant? I would love to plant more variety in my garden next year. do you buy seed or plants locally?"

I grow my own plants from seed. The seed I have acquired through trades on GW as well as from mail order catalogs from companies such as Seed Savers Exchange, Seeds of Change, etc. Another good resource is NuMex (Chili Pepper Institute). Many good seed sources are out there. I isolate varieties and save seed so my collection can keep growing. I have thousands of seeds currently drying for storage. :)

I have had much better success growing peppers in containers versus growing in the soil because I seem to pay more attention to them and baby them a lot more. I can also bring the plants in on cold nights late in the growing season to extend the harvest. Works great. This year I had around 30 pepper plants in pots and another 30 or so in the gardens. Had so many peppers I started throwing them on the compost pile. Some years are not as successful, though, which is why I plant so many (not to mention it is just plain fun for me).

Well, I opened all the jars of hot peppers and put them all in a one gallon jar, topped it off with vinegar, and put it in the fridge. I tried a few jalapenos and they were very tasty. This morning my brother and I made three different kinds of habanero hot sauce and this afternoon I am going to prep a bunch of Caribbean reds and bhut jolokias for fermenting as a mash. Tonight I am going to string up a bunch of habs, Caribbeans, Jamaican mushrooms, bhuts, and dorsets for air drying. Easy to do while watching some evening television. These projects should just about wrap up my pepper season for this year.

Have a good one,

    Bookmark   September 30, 2012 at 2:07PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

...And I went out and purchased a copy of the latest Ball Blue Book. Time for a little updating and self-education. :)

    Bookmark   September 30, 2012 at 2:09PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Tom- the seed exchange sounds great though I dont have any to exchange:( I have yet to get into seed saving, I have a 5 and 2.5 year old and a 30x30 garden and can a LOT... I do only organic methods, we buy organic seed and dont use any chemicals, just our own organic compost;)

That being said would you recommend a certain site over another?

We have ghosts too, what do you do with them? Id love to hear any recipes that use them! Sounds stupid but how do we go out saving these seeds?

Thanks much! I've been gardening for awhile and getting more and more into canning and preserving but have not ventured into seed saving yet...

    Bookmark   September 30, 2012 at 8:16PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Kerry there is a Seed Saving forum here with all the details on how-to save seeds from all sorts of vegetables. There is also numerous seed exchanges (although you won't find many organic-only seed trades offered since most organic gardeners don't bother with organic-only seeds).

There are also any number of discussions on the various gardening forums about seed sources and a Rate the Vendors forum too. GW also has a Garden Bazaar for vendors.

So rather than getting into all that here on the canning forum be sure to check out those forums.


    Bookmark   September 30, 2012 at 8:30PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


Dave is correct, this stuff is OT. Feel free to send me an email and we can talk privately.


    Bookmark   September 30, 2012 at 10:23PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Ok thanks and sorry Dave!

    Bookmark   October 1, 2012 at 8:30PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Roasting previously frozen peppers
Has anyone had any experience either oven roasting...
Katie's Roasted Garlic Tomato Soup
I made her soup the other day and I am here to tell...
Current Botulism cases
The Oregon State Public Health Lab has confirmed that...
corn canning compound
I have heard about a compound made by the druggist...
What to grind with?
I want to grind up some garlic and some onions to make...
Sponsored Products
Hape Dessert Tower - E3135
$29.99 | Hayneedle
Victoria White Porcelain Salt And Pepper Shakers
Classic Hostess
Larmes Brushed Nickel Pendant
$558.00 | Bellacor
Moe's Home Pepper Red [Set of 2]
Beyond Stores
Wusthof 8" Gourmet Cook's Knife
$79.95 | FRONTGATE
Waterproof Neutral White LED Neon, by the Meter
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™