For those that pickle peppers

flipback23(9 SF Bay)July 10, 2014

Hi All,
Yet again a noob question but this time on pickling our peppers. Do you have to skin them before pickling them or can you leave them on. Thanks in advanced.

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No skinning required . You do have to at least put a slice in the side so liquid gets inside.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2014 at 6:46PM
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or slice them. Depends on how motivated I am, if I'm lazy I do them whole, put a slice at the tip end, if I'm not lazy, I'll slice them. I also do not do the water bath, I fear it might soften them too much, so I just boil the liquid, pour it over the peppers and put the lids on. Even though I usually hear the lids pop when they seal, I just put all jars in the fridge.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2014 at 7:25PM
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What??? Slice them? Slit them? No, you don't have to do that. Anybody ever hear of the terms diffusion and osmosis???

Pam: blanching doesn't cause them to get mushy if you shock them with an ice bath.


    Bookmark   July 10, 2014 at 8:27PM
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Ive personalty seen peppers rot inside from not letting the juice get inside the pepper. Dont take the risk , at least put a hole in the side. Dont take risks with food. Ive been canning for 30 years[ Tomatoes,peppers,Pepper Ketchup,Pickles even Tuna that has to be pressure cooked ] bad practices can kill you,dont risk it put a slit in the side of every pepper. I make salami fermented hanging on the back porch, do sausage smoked Marlin etc. Dont take stupid risks with food unless the acid from your vinegar gets inside the pepper you have a real problem.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2014 at 9:40PM
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I've pickled pepperoncini, cherry bombs, jalapenos and serranos both sliced and whole - never peeled them. If whole I do puncture/slit them to get the inside exposed to the vinegar right away. You want to make sure the whole thing is acidified within 24 hours if you're sealing them. And you can pack more into a jar if they're slit and you push them down with a chopstick to get the air out.

If refrigerating then you don't have to worry so much about acidification, but you want to make sure the jar doesn't vacuum-seal - just cap it with a plastic cap (peanut butter jar lids work on regular mason jars, or use any old glass jar).

Now, if pickling bell peppers I might want to roast/broil and peel them first - those skins can be a bit tough and I don't know if they'd be chewy. But even those you generally slice b/c of the size so there is plenty of exposed interior flesh so I don't know that it's absolutely necessary. All I know is that the roasted red bells sold in the stores are peeled.

Here is a link that might be useful: Colorado State Pickled Pepper recipes

    Bookmark   July 10, 2014 at 9:48PM
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So, wait a minute. Let's take the humble cucumber. Never have I seen a slit in the side of a pickle. Pickled japs in the #10 cans, same thing.

And why 24 hours, ajsmama? You don't think the process continues after sealing? I don't can but i do pickle. I let my pickled carrots sit on the counter for a good 2 weeks or more with a tight lid before i put them in the fridge.


    Bookmark   July 10, 2014 at 10:16PM
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I've never bought pickled jalapenos so can't speak to that - but a lot of commercial acidified foods are processed in autoclaves, essentially room-sized pressure canners, with proprietary (but tested and FDA-approved) processes. So I don't know, maybe no slits b/c they're processing those peppers at 20 psig for 30 secs (making up numbers). But I do slit my whole cukes for dills as well as cutting off the blossom end (contains an enzyme that makes them soften) and usually the stem end too (hard to clean, most of the bacteria is around the stem).

24 hours is the threshold for dangerous levels of botulinum toxin to develop in an anaerobic environment if not thoroughly acidified. That's why a pH test of an acidified food in a lab will test the pH within 24 hours of processing. A more involved test will check shelf stability to make sure the pH stays in the safe range over time and does not rise due to water/juices leaching out of the vegetable that's been pickled. A pH test should always test the solids and liquids (pureed before measuring), not just the liquid. For things like whole dills, the pH of the center of the cucumber is tested with a probe to be sure that it is properly acidified all the way through.

This post was edited by ajsmama on Thu, Jul 10, 14 at 22:41

    Bookmark   July 10, 2014 at 10:21PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

@Kevin: Cucumbers do not usually have air pocket but peppers do.
If you don't slit or puncture you have to keep adding more brine/vinegar for a quite while until all the air has gotten out . I do this when I refrigerate. But if you are "CANning", perhaps slashing the peppers will assure that all the air is purged right away.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2014 at 11:33PM
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Well, I don't know enough about this topic to debate it. God knows, I would if i

You canning experts need to stick around this summer. I just may try my hand at doing some maters and such.


    Bookmark   July 10, 2014 at 11:43PM
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flipback23(9 SF Bay)

Awesome thanks for all the info. I did my first batch over the weekend and ajsmama pointed out some flaws in what I did. So I opened them to taste them the other day and the taste was spot on for what I wanted but they were extremely mushy and the skin was hard but it may just be cause the insides were mushy possibly from the 15 min hwb. So then Monday night I tried batch 2 with the correct vinegar to water ratio and just boiling the brine mix and pouring over peppers letting it cool and placing in fridge, but they were still mushy when I tried tasted them today. Next batch is gonna get room temp liquid poured in and go into the fridge. I may buy some pickle crisp though just as a second measure to preserve crispness. Hopefully that will get it to a nicer texture.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 1:51AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Keeping peppers crisp is very tough! I think you really need commercial equipment to do a cold-canning process if you want crisp peppers, such as store-bought Pepperoncini.

When we pickle peppers, we use hot brine, and then we do a 9-minute hot water bath. I wouldn't describe the peppers are firm, but certainly not mushy, either.


    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 2:45AM
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That's strange Rey b/c I use the boiling brine and a 10-min processing time, and while not crunchy, the peppers aren't mushy. Did you peel your peppers first?

I've never tried it, but you might like this refrigerator pickle recipe from The Joy of Pickling (you can omit the fennel or change it to dill or coriander as you like, you can always omit any low-acid ingredient like garlic or onion, or substitute dried spices/herbs):

1 lbs peppers (she uses bells cut into strips but I can't see why you wouldn't be able to use small whole peppers as long as you slit them)

1 large celery stalk with leaves, chopped (can be omitted)

3 garlic cloves, chopped (can be reduced, or since this is a refrigerator pickle, increased if you want though for canning you never increase a low-acid ingredient)

1 Tbsp fennel seeds (or sub dill, coriander, mustard, whatever you like)

1 bay leaf (can be omitted)

3C water

1.5C white wine vinegar (can use a different type but this gives nice flavor)

2.5 Tbsp pickling salt (can use kosher or sea salt but you may end up with cloudy brine - don't use table salt as it is ground finer and doesn't measure the same - but again in this recipe the amount of salt isn't critical so you can do it to taste)

1. In a large bowl, toss the peppers with the celery, garlic, and fennel seeds. Pack with the bay leaf into a 2-quart jar (or split between smaller jars, that's a big jar!).

2. Combine the water and vinegar, and dissolve the salt in the liquid (recipe doesn't say to heat so I assume just stir). Pour the brine over the vegetables. Cap the jar and refrigerate it. The peppers will be ready in about 8 days, and will keep for 6 to 8 weeks in the refrigerator. Makes 2 quarts.

Kevin - I don't know how much I'll be on the forum later this year, my tomatoes will start coming in about a month from now and I'll be really busy with 200 plants ;-) but you can always go over to the Harvest forum for help - Dave (digdirt) is there all the time, he's a Master Food Preserver and there are others too that are glad to help. Before your tomatoes come in, you might also want to check out the NCHFP, they have a self-study course you have to register for so it might take a few days to get a password but it covers the basics of water-bath canning for acid (tomatoes) and pressure canning low-acid foods. They were going to add acidified foods but I don't see it listed, they have run short on funding the past few years. They also have a blog (linked on their home page) if you have questions, they may get answered more quickly if you post on the blog rather than contacting through the website.

For anyone who wants to get started in canning, I have to recommend the Ball Blue Book (about $7-8 now in Target, Walmart) as well as the NCHFP site to learn the basics. Again, The Joy of Pickling is the best reference for a wide variety of pickle recipes that have been tested and approved (the author is a MFP and had recipes reviewed by other MFPs and a food scientist at UCONN - unfortunately UCONN doesn't have funding to offer an MFP course now otherwise I'd be taking it).

Here is a link that might be useful: NCHFP home page

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 7:44AM
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first a statment.... ive been canning peppers for years, learned from my grandfather. now im not saying that old ways are the best but i am saing a hundred years and no sickness says something. this is my process.
1) take mason jar, lid and ring, boil all 3 pieces in one pot.
2) while the jars and lids are boiling, get another pot, fill it with a guess of how much vinegar your going to need and add salt.
3) bring vinegar to a boil
4) using tongs, remove jars and lids from boiling water and fill with peppers (no slits, whole peppers)
5) fill the jars with the boiling vinegar and salt.
6) seal and sit on counter until you hear the pop. then put in a dark place for at least 3 months.
7) enjoy.

if there is a problem with this method my family has survived for generations unscathed.

second, question. i read someone saying they can tomatoes..... would you please email or message me your process? i would very much like to can tomatoes without pressure canning. i have family and friends that do so but they are hard to get to sit down and talk about anything. thanks in advance.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 7:46AM
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I will start off saying, I am extremely neurotic, even pickling and putting in the fridge I worry. ;-) My mom canned everything, I've always wanted to can tomatoes, but again, too neurotic. And boy things have changed over the years.

Funny story, I went over to my husband's grandmother's house for dinner once. It was in Dec. She put out some mac and tomatoes, which I do like. She told me they were the tomatoes I gave her during the summer. Her canning method, was normal up until the actually putting them in the jar. She used an old peanut butter jar with it's original lid, then popped them on the shelf. As I said, I'm very neurotic, I thanked her and didn't even get near those tomatoes. But, she and my husband didn't get sick. As he said, he grew up on her brown green beans..... YOW!~

And Kevin, I slice mine because then if I want nachos I just pull them out ready to go. I use the whole ones for when I am blending them. And, I guess a water bath might not get them mushy, but when I did that with some pickles I did NOT like the finished product. I think pouring the hot liquid over them and popping them in the fridge leaves them the crispiest. And, if you have room, why not?

scgreenthumb, check out Ball jar recipes. They should have it there, if not, I can send a recipe out of their book that I have at home, I use it for reference for all my canning and freezing.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 8:15AM
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Mecdave Zone 8/HZ 9

For anyone considering pickling, canning, or bottling sauces, while at Walmart, Target, or even Ace Hardware, pick up a canning tool kit. It includes the proper tongs for handling jars, a funnel, a small spatula for getting the air out of your jars/peppers, and a magnetic wand for picking the lids and rings out of hot water. They don't cost much and are well worth it.

Also get a proper food thermometer, one that goes to at least 225 degrees for canning pepper jams. Jams are consistently favorite canned goods. Habanero Gold, Strawberry Serrano especially. :)

I can't comment on old school hot packing/dark storing whole peppers, but if you run it by the folks in the Harvest sub-forum, I'm sure they will tell you all you need to know about it. ;)

Edit: I can't remember if the tool kit comes with a ladle, so if it doesn't, get one one of those too.

Also the thermometer needs to be at least long stemmed so you don't get burned holding it in the liquid. Mine has a clip on the side and the metal bracket also keeps the bottom of the thermometer bulb off the bottom so you can just leave it clipped to the side of the pot.

This post was edited by mecdave on Fri, Jul 11, 14 at 8:39

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 8:16AM
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Pam - I'm not clear what your grandmother's process was but probably a smart move. Yes, lots of people eat improperly processed foods (green beans more risky than tomatoes) and don't get sick but then there's always that 1 discussed on other thread, it's not a high probability of botulism, but very nasty stuff when it does happen. As far as your pickles, since you're refrigerating them, best to let the jars cool before putting metal lids on tightly, or use plastic lids so they don't seal. Toxin can't form unless it's airtight.

scgreenthumb, here's the link to NCHFP tomato page - they do recommend adding vinegar, lemon juice or citric acid nowadays to tomatoes just b/c they're borderline pH. Some recipes (like Spghetti sauce with Meat) HAVE to be pressure canned, others are BWB or PC and the recipe will give instructions for both.

Your family recipe is fine since it uses all vinegar, though it would help to slit the peppers (as discussed above) and processing in boiling water rather than just letting the jars seal themselves (called open-kettle canning, resulting in weak seal) is recommended just to keep mold from forming (the processing kills mold spores that may be on the peppers, pouring boiling brine over them may not get everything). Also, boiling the lids can melt the silicone and result in a poor seal - they used to say simmer them, now Ball says you don't even need to do that, just wash lids and rings in hot soapy water and rinse, the sealant softens enough during processing to seal. Though I still like to pour the first jar of hot water over the lids for that batch (in a Pyrex bowl or small pan) so they soak while I'm filling the jar - esp. if I'm processing a delicate jelly for only 5 minutes (in which case I boil the jars for 10 minutes first - you don't need to boil the jars if you're processing something for 10 minutes or more).

Here is a link that might be useful: NCHFP Tomato Canning page

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 8:46AM
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Sorry Rey just saw you said the skins were tough so you didn't peel them. I really don't know why your peppers would be mushy inside.

I agree with mec - tongs are worth it so is the canning funnel, though you can release air bubbles with any plastic knife, chopstick whatever (just not metal b/c you don't want to scratch the glass). The plastic spatula/bubble remover thing also has a notched end for measuring correct headspace so that's nice. Though now the magnetic wand is a bit obsolete since they say you don't need to simmer lids. So price out the tongs and funnel separately, it may be better to buy the kit. I don't think much of the large kit with the basket and 3 jars though - made to use in a stockpot but the basket only holds 3 pints, and it's hard to lift out of the boiling water without jars falling over so I'd rather use an old PC rack (aluminum with holes, found in Goodwill before I bought my new pressure canners) in the bottom of my stockpot for BWB since you really need the tongs (jarlifter) anyway and they don't come in the kit with the basket.

I was in the middle of my long tomato processing post when my mom called to say her sister was back in ICU after finally coming home from hospital 2 weeks ago (surgery for duodenal cancer beginning of June, 3 weeks in hospital). They might have to operate on her colon now. Please everyone send prayers/healing thoughts for my favorite aunt!

This post was edited by ajsmama on Fri, Jul 11, 14 at 9:03

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 8:48AM
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You skin tomatoes by trowing them in boiling water. I like to use a meaty tomato like San Marzano or Roma. Let cool and the skins come right off. Place in sterilized jars with a sprig of fresh Basil for extra flavor,place in a water bath and boil for 20 min. Remove cool and just listen to the lids popping . Once the lid has popped your done. Some lids might not pop so just eat them or try the water bath again. When you open the jar in the middle of Feb. its like harvest time again Blows away any store bought you can find ,the basil is key. Tomatoes naturally have the acid you need so there is no need for a Pressure canner just make sure all your equipment is sterilized. They have a funnel that fits in the jar top and a pot with a rack to hold the jars that's all you need to enjoy your harvest all year.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 8:55AM
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flipback23(9 SF Bay)

Thanks AJSMAMA and prayers to your family.

Im gonna try a couple different suggestions on the next couple batches and see if any makes them turn out better. If not then Im gonna just stick to buying my pickled peppers from the store lol. Dont want to keep making peppers thats arent enjoyable to eat.

This post was edited by flipback23 on Fri, Jul 11, 14 at 10:49

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 10:47AM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

Talking about BWB, I know the principle;

1) the solution has to have a minimum acidity to prevent bacterial/spore growth. MAX pH recommendation is (I think) 4.2. But to be on the safe side 3.8 is better.

2) Vinegar (Household , with 5% Acetic Acid) is the common acidifier. One cup of it per ONE gallon of neutral water (pH =7) is enough to bring pH down to almost 3.0. This is just the solution. When you have solids (like cukes, peppers) you might need to adjust for that. But even if the amount of vinegar is 1/2 cup per gallon, its pH will be under 3.2. You want to double up ? FINE. Two (2) cups per gallon will yield a pH of 2.86 ,,, (too much acid, not needed all that anyway).

3) salt is just for flavoring and it does not play a preserving function. A 7 to 10% by weight is recommended ( 1.75 cup per gallon).

4) once you have the basic solution (water + vinegar + salt + pickling spice) , bring it to gentle boil, pour over packed material (cukes, peppers, ..) and go through BWB process.

aditional data:
--- solution --------- pH --
Househol Vin ..... 2.41
1 vin / 3 wat ........2.70
1 vin /7 wat .........2.96
1 vin /15 wat ----- 3.01
1 vin / 31 wat ...... 3.16

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 2:34PM
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mingtea(z9 Tucson)

Short term pickling, similar to making cucumber salad:

Slice peppers (I use jalapeño, yellow wax or varieties like Cuban) into mixing bowl and sprinkle liberally with salt. Let juices leech out and rinse peppers. Add a clove of crushed garlic and put in jar, top with white vinegar. Store in fridge.

These are good eaten in top of stir fry noodles! I also like them used as a component of other sauces. One such sauce recipe: pickled peppers, soy, cider vinegar, crush garlic, water and sugar.

Don't know the max time these last in the refrigerator as we always finish a jar in less than two weeks!


    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 12:18PM
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Rey the trick is pickling lime. Pickling crisp is ok but pickling lime is much better. Make sure you follow directions very carefully.

Here is a link that might be useful: crispy pickled peppers

This post was edited by scott123456 on Sun, Jul 13, 14 at 3:35

    Bookmark   July 13, 2014 at 3:31AM
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