A few first of the season

flipback23(9 SF Bay)July 7, 2014

Hey All,
Just wanted to share some progress. So far I've been harvesting sweet and mild peppers like crazy. But what I'm excited about is I took my first stab at pickling a batch of pepperoncinis that I picked yesterday. Hopefully they taste good lol. Also my superhots have finally started podding. Got a bunch of ghost peppers and my first reapers and butch ts. My other supers have tons of buds so crossing fingers that I will have some pods from them soon.

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Very nice Ray! what did you use for a brine?

    Bookmark   July 7, 2014 at 10:52PM
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flipback23(9 SF Bay)

I boiled up 6 cups of water, 2 cups vinegar and a 1/2 cup of kosher salt, and a couple cloves of chopped up garlic. Filled sanitized jars with the peppers and filled with brine to 1/2 inch from lip. Then hot water bathed for 15 mins to seal jars. Won't know how good or bad they taste til I open them. I read online to wait a week before eating. I did like the way the brine tasted though. I like the salty/vinegar taste. It's the first time trying to pickle anything so crossing fingers on how it turns out.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2014 at 11:40PM
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Sorry Rey for spelling your name wrong. That sounds like they will be good. I used a lot more vinegar than you did. It was my first time also, and I wanted to make sure they were safe. It probably was overkill. My recipe was similar to yours just different ratios and I added sugar. I also let them soak in pickling lime before hand (there is a whole set of directions that you must follow very specifically) to keep them crisp and only water bathed for 10 min.

If I remember correctly, it was something like:
6cups distilled vinegar
1cup water
1 cup canning salt
1/2 cup sugar
Some pickling spice
And 1 clove of garlic per jar

It was a hit and they didnâÂÂt last long as I am sure you will find out people love pickled peppers. I am always looking for new recipes maybe I will try yours out.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 1:57AM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

There are two fundamentally different pickling ways that I know of:

1- Mostly brine, with just a little vinegar to suggest a sour taste(like couple of TBS per quart). It can also help as preservative by introducing acidity.
2- Vinegar-water solution: Like 50/50. With this one you don't need salt. This is how I pickle my hot peppers, that I can use it to make hot sauce later.

In both cases I pour boiling solution over the peppers,,and refrigerate. I have some shishito pickles in the frig from last fall. I just tasted one. Better than Greek pickled peperoncini. Shishito is very similar in texture and visually to peperoncini. I am growing both of them.

If I had to make many jars, I might have done it by BWB but with just one jar refrigerated , I don,t do that. I have pickled green tomatoes longer than 2 years ago the same way (refrigerated) . It is getting better. Still crisp and nice.

There is a 3rd method by Fermentation. (no vinegar, just brine) I dont do that way.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 2:35AM
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flipback23(9 SF Bay)

Scott no worries on spelling lol happens all the time. Ur recipe is opposite of mine for the liquid ratio I may try urs on the next batch.

Seysonn when u say brine with jus a touch of vinegar, what is ur brine base. Just water and salt. I'm open to trying any recipe that will taste good lol.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 2:57AM
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Yeah I may have over done it with the vinegar. I was really afraid of making family and friends sick or worse. From what I understand as along as they are refrigerated they should be fine. But mine were met to be stored and room temp and handed out to family and friends and who knows if they will refrigerate them or not. IâÂÂd rather be safe than sorry. Plus the pickling lime is extremely basic and if any little bit doesnâÂÂt get washed off it can throw the whole pH off and promote nasties. To tell you the truth I think the sugar and salt balanced the vinegar well and I will make at least one batch the same way again this year. I like vinegar though.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 3:29AM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

Seysonn when u say brine with jus a touch of vinegar, what is ur brine base. Just water and salt. I'm open to trying any recipe that will taste good lol.

yes, Rey. water and salt (kosher) basically. You can add flavoring stuff like garlic, pepper corn, coriander, mustard seeds, sugar. etc
Some people add pickle crisp. I have not done that.

Canning and pH
You have to make sure that pH is 3.8 or lower. Highest allowable I think is like 4.2( not recommended). That is the pH of some tomatoes.
Household vinegar has a pH of 2.4. If you use a solution consisting of 1 part vinegar and 31 part neutral water, the resulting pH will be 3.20. So if in a quart if you have 2 TBS of vinegar , its pH will be about 3.2 . Plus, salt can also has preserving effect. But that 2 TBS vinegar will do. You double the vinegar you will get the pH down to 3.0. Quadruple it you will have pH = 2.86. A 50/50 vin/wat will have a pH = 2.56 . You can also substitute lime juice.
Now we are talking about plain solution. When solids are added, have to adjust for that.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 6:42AM
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We had a long discussion about the math on Harvest forum but there are a lot of tested recipes out there. The pH of the solids (peppers are about 5) does matter. Acid/low acid dividing line is 4.6 but shoot for 4.2 (3.8 is even better) since pH can go up over time.

In general, a safe ratio for water to (5%) vinegar is 1:1 so Rey those peppers are not properly acidified, Scott, yours are overkill but if you didn't get all the lime off I can see why you were concerned. Have you tried Pickle Crisp (calcium chloride)?

Can't recommend The Joy of Pickling enough - lots of good recipes, quick (vinegar) and fermented for all sorts of vegetables. Basic information and recipes at the National Center for Home Food Preservation linked below.

Here is a link that might be useful: NCHFP pickling info

This post was edited by ajsmama on Tue, Jul 8, 14 at 8:22

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 7:24AM
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flipback23(9 SF Bay)

So is my batch not safe to eat then. They are currently in my fridge and not stored at room temp.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 12:14PM
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If you processed them and they vacuum-sealed then no they are potentially unsafe as botulism can grow in the oxygen-free environment. When did you process them? If within 24 hours just open them up ASAP, the fridge temps will help retard growth of spores (if there are any in the first place). If longer than 24 hours you may want to wrap them in newspaper and throw them away (instructions for dealing with potentially contaminated jars on NCHFP site)

Note that you used 33% vinegar instead of 50%, that plus fridge storage and if less than 24 hours since BWB you may be OK, your call, you can boil them for 10 minutes to be safe before eating (store in clean jars in fridge afterwards but they will be softer). How many jars did you do?

Sorry but you'll be harvesting more...

Here is a link that might be useful: Disposing of spoiled/suspect canned foods

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 1:41PM
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DMForcier(8 DFW)

How about if he just breaks the vacuum seal and keeps them in the fridge?

IMO you're being totally alarmist about this. Yes there is right way to do it, but flipback's method isn't all that far off and he's certainly not suggesting long-term nu-refrigerated storage.

I'd eat them.


    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 1:48PM
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Not trying to be alarmist, just cautious. As I said, 33% vinegar is close, and you don't even know if there are any spores in there. If sealed less than 24 hours ago no problem, just break the seals ASAP and keep in fridge. If a week ago (which I know it's not, he picked them yesterday), well I think I'd boil them esp. if he's west of the Rockies, or just throw them away. Were the peppers grown in the ground or in pots? All sorts of things to consider when assessing the risk, including your own personal level of comfort.

Totally your call, just giving you info for future reference.

This post was edited by ajsmama on Tue, Jul 8, 14 at 14:22

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 2:20PM
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flipback23(9 SF Bay)

I did them on Saturday and it was two jars worth since it was my first time. I didnt plan on longterm storage for them I want to eat them ASAP lol. So if I go home today open them and keep them in the fridge like they currently are what are the odds of getting sick from eating them.

And for future batches it sounds like my steps were right but my liquid ratio was off correct. I will change my liquid ratios to the higher vinegar to water mix. Found this non-canner pot method link so it look like my ratios were off but method correct.

Here is a link that might be useful: Canning peppers without a canner pot

This post was edited by flipback23 on Tue, Jul 8, 14 at 14:51

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 2:41PM
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Chances are very slim that you'll get sick. Botulism is pretty rare, but it's really nasty stuff (can be fatal, even if you recover it's months in the hospital on a ventilator) which is why the FDA and USDA are so cautious about it.

If the peppers were grown in pots and watered with city water I wouldn't worry. Given that you are west of the Rockies where the spores are more often found in the soil than on the East Coast, if grown in-ground, I'd be a little more cautious. 72 hours is not great, at room temperature and in low-acid, low-oxygen environment toxins can develop to dangerous levels. Refrigeration will slow the growth of any toxin if there were spores, but really it's your call. But boiling for 10 minutes (as recommended for any canned low-acid nonpickled veggie, even if properly processed in a pressure canner) before eating would IMPO be safe at 72 hours, though the peppers will be softer.

But now you know for next time. I'd use the NCHFP recipes, the Joy of Pickling, or ask over on Harvest rather than relying on eHow or Youtube or prepper sites. Lots of misinformation out there.

I don't peel jalapenos or pepperoncini, just slice them or if pickled whole try to wash around the stem and blossom end really well, poke holes or slash the sides so vinegar can get in, at least half 5% vinegar (white wine vinegar is nice) half water. Can process the jars in any pot tall enough to cover the jars with an inch or 2 of water the whole time. Jars don't need to be sterilized if processing for 10 minutes or more (which you will be). You do need some sort of rack or trivet on the bottom so water can flow freely under the jars and you don't want the jars packed in tight and touching or they may break. Warm the jars before filling with boiling brine, cool on a rack 24 hours without disturbing them, then you can test the lids. All this info on Harvest and NCHFP.

Ball company is having a live broadcast on July 15th about common canning "myths" and how you're really supposed to do it. You may be interested, though they've had technical difficulties in the past, but they will take questions.

Here is a link that might be useful: Ball webcast

This post was edited by ajsmama on Tue, Jul 8, 14 at 15:07

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 2:56PM
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flipback23(9 SF Bay)

Thanks for the info Ajsmama I really appreciate it. Theres a learning curve with everything, Im just glad it was only 2 jars not 20. I think Ill pop the seals when I get home keep them in the fridge and eat them sooner than later lol.

But for my next batch which by looking at my plants last night may be in a week or two, I will correct my ratios keep with the long bwb. I still dont plan on long term storage for them so they will be kept refrigerated either way on future batches. The way we eat them when I buy them our jars never last more than a couple weeks.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 3:42PM
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Wow this thread has tons of great info! Thanks everyone! To make it perfectly clear I know diddly squat about canning, but I do know a thing or two about bacteria. I just wanted to make a couple things crystal clear.

Clostridium botulinum (botulism) produces some of the most potent toxins known to man. We are talking about paralysis and death here. Not a little stomach ache. The spores them self are the inactive form of the bacterial that allows them to survive until growing conditions are right. When the conditions become suitable ( low oxygen with a certain pH) C. botulinum becomes active and produces the toxins that make us sick. The spores are highly resistant to heat and pH and are extremely difficult to destroy, but that's ok because the spores don't make you sick, the toxins do. So all we have to do is keep them in spore form and we should be fine ( unless you are a infant, or have some kind of gut pre-existing condition). We do this by making our brine pH very acidic. Boiling for 10 minutes does not kill the botulism spores unless it is at an extreme heat. We boil to kill the other types of bacteria. So we are counting on our pH to keep botulism spores inactive. That is why this is so important.

Contaminated food will NOT look, taste, or smell any differently than non contaminated food. There is no way to tell if the food is contaminated without testing.

It is easy to be an alarmist when it comes to things like this. Seriously think about it for a second, we are weighing a jar of peppers vs paralysis and death to you or a loved one. This needs to be taken seriously, but If you do everything properly there is little to worry about.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 4:50PM
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If you're just doing a couple of jars and plan on keeping them in the fridge, there's no need to process them and no need to buy the special jars - just use old spaghetti or mayo jars.. No concerns about acidity then, since it's not air-tight. You may even want to try fermenting some - I've only fermented cucumbers, but I know some people on this forum have ferment recipes.

I don't bother to can anything unless I have at least 6 jars worth (whether it's half pints of jam or quarts of pickles).

Boiling for 10 minutes won't kill the spores - you need pressure canning temps for that - but it will kill the toxin if it's present (formed by the spores in low-acid, low-oxygen environment). That's why USDA/NCHFP recommend boiling canned vegetables for 10 minutes before eating, just in case. Though if you know they were underprocessed (lost power/pressure during canning, for example) then you should toss them.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 5:41PM
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Rey, I tried the recipe that I thought I remembered from last year and they were incredibly salty. I guess I didn't remember so well. Didn't want you to waist any peppers with the recipe. Hoping they mellow with time.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2014 at 5:31PM
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flipback23(9 SF Bay)

I did another batch 5 cups vinegar to one cup water, a couple cloves garlic 2 bay leaves and 2 tbs canning salt. Didnt hwb them this time since the first batch was way to mushy and plan on eating now and not for long term storage.The flavor was what I wanted again but the second batch was very mushy again. Just picked up some pickle crisp to try on the next batch. Hoping they are crispier.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2014 at 5:43PM
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