If you have a garden and have way more banana peppers then you know what to do with, I have the thing for you! Yesterday morning, I went out to water my vegetables and my banana pepper plant was spilling over with peppers, so last night I decided it was time to get them canned. If you’ve never canned anything before don’t be scared! I definitely was the first time, but these pickled peppers are perfect for first timers. I love them on tuna or chicken salad, even a big juicy burger! So lets get right to it!
First things first, here is a list of ingredients you will need:
- Banana Peppers (Duh)- about 1 lb. I just eyeball it, enough to fill 4 half pint mason jars. I had a little one help me harvest my peppers 🙂
- White Vinegar- 4 cups
- White Sugar- 1 1/3 cups, I typically get the organic sugar from Costco.
- Celery Seed – 1 tsp
- Mustard Seed- 1 tsp
Next, gather and wash all your supplies. Wal-Mart and Fleet Farm have the best prices on all canning Supplies, but you can find them at Target, home improvement stores and grocery stores too. Jars and rings are reusable, but you will want to have new lids every time you can something. Here is a list of Supplies you will need.
- Water Bath Canner or Large Stock Pot- For now I use a large stock pot.
- 4 Half pint mason jars with lids and rings-
- Roasting pan or cookie sheet- For sterilizing the jars in the oven.
- Magnetic Lid Lifter- Pictured below
- Jar Funnel- Pictured below
- Jar Lifter- Picture below
- Bubble Remover and Headspace Tool- Pictured Below
- Clean towel or paper towel
- Small sauce pan
- Medium sauce pan
One thing that I think is important when canning is having a good system and set up with your tools. It took me a couple of times before I figured out what worked best for me in my kitchen. Everything takes longer the first time because you’re learning and that’s ok! Once you get into a good groove you can do a simple canning project like this one in less then an hour.
This is my set up pictured above. I have a pull out cutting board that I have a towel on for extra space. this is usually where I put my jars when I take them out of the oven. (They go in the oven to be sterilized. I’ll get into that in a bit.) On the counter in front of that, I have all my canning tools for prepping the jars. On the stove in the small pan is where I heat the rings and lids in water. The front medium sized pan is where I heat the brine. then I can leave it right on the burner when it’s time to fill the jars. The red stock pot is where I process the jars in boiling water (Hot water bath method.) The counter on the right with the red towel is where my finished jars rest. (They need to rest undisturbed for 24 hours after processing, so it’s important they are out of the way).
Time to start!!
Preheat your oven to 225 degrees. I usually have the oven preheating while I’m washing and setting up my supplies. On a small roasting pan or cookie sheet (I’m actually using a foil lined glass casserole dish here) put your jars right side up. When your oven is preheated put the jars in for 20 minutes. This will sterilize the jars and keep them warm.
At this point you’ll want to put your washed lids and rings in the small sauce pan. Fill with water until they are completely covered. Heat on medium low, so it never quite gets to a boil, but you know they are hot.
I would also now start heating the water in your canner or stock pot. Big pots take A LONG time to get to a boil, that’s why for small batches like this I like my stock pot. I start it on medium high heat and when I’m almost ready I bump it to high and then it’s ready quickly. This is where timing can be tricky because if your water is boiling before your ready a lot of the water will evaporate. The jars need to be completely submerged in the boiling water for the whole processing time. You don’t want to have to add more water and wait for it to boil again while your prepared jars are just sitting there.
Next you’ll wash all your peppers and remove the seeds and all the insides. Then slice them into rings.
Set them aside and prepare to make your brine. Measure out the vinegar, sugar, celery seed and mustard seed and mix it together in the medium sauce pan. Bring to a boil.
Now it gets fun!
If the jars have been in the oven for at least 20 minutes you can take them out (Careful! They are crazy hot!!) With clean hands pack the peppers into the jars. It’s ok if it seems like they are over flowing they will shrink down.
Next you will use the jar funnel and ladle the brine into each jar leaving 1/2 an inch of head space at the top of the jar.
The next step is important. The “bubble remover” or “head space tool” is the flat weird looking tool that seems sort of unnecessary, but it is necessary, I promise. Take the tool and push it down flat into each jar around the edges very gently. This removes air bubbles and allows the peppers to fit more snuggly into the jar. So less wasted space. I go around all the edges of each jar.
Now, take your clean towel or paper towel and lightly wet it down in one spot. You’ll use this to wipe the lip of all the jars. We want this surface clean so we know the lids will seal tightly.
Next, use the magnetic lid lifter to place lids and rings on your jars. Rings should be on finger tight.
Make sure your water bath is at a rolling boil, then use your jar lifter to place each jar into the water bath.
Cover and process for 10 minutes. Now if you are like me, you will enjoy a cup of coffee!! Coffee breaks are the best. Cheers!!
Back to work.
When the processing time is up, again use the jar lifter and remove the jars from the water bath to a towel covered surface.
This part is my favorite. Listen for the popping sound as the jars are sealing. I always keep count to make sure they all pop. If you watch closely, you can see the center of the lid indent as it pops. Once they have all popped, leave them undisturbed for 24 hours. So far I’ve never had a jar not seal, but if you do, after it’s cooled just put it in the fridge and eat that one up first. After 24 hours it’s a good idea to double check the seal. Remove the ring and with your fingers on the edges of the lid lift up the jar by the lid. If it stays on it’s good to go. I also like to press on the center of the lid with my finger. If the lid feels solid and doesn’t press in when you push on it that is also an indication that you have a good seal.
Final Step, Label and store. I simply use a Sharpie and write the date on the lids and store them in my pantry. They have a shelf life of one year. You can even make a cute tag or label and use them as an awesome homemade gift for someone!
I REALLY hope you enjoy learning how to can banana peppers. I will have more canning how to’s in the fall when harvest season is in full swing!
Happy Canning!! -Elizabeth