Canning at Home

After my recent first experience with canning and pickling (see “Canning Lessons”), I felt confident enough to try my own hand at replicating the pickled jalapeño recipe I made with my friend Meredith over at Bees and Apples.

First, I acquired some basic canning equipment, including jar-lifting tongs and a little rack for sanitizing jar lids. I also stocked up on some more Ball jars and lids. Finally, I bought what I thought would be the perfect sized canning rack for a big stock pot (one that my husband formerly used for home-brewed beer).

The setup.

The setup.

Most of the items worked out fine, but the rack, which I ordered online, was way too big for our largest pot! A word to the wise: 12.5 inches in diameter is BIG. With a capital “B.”

Instead, in a pinch, I pulled together a makeshift rack:

Rigged rack

Suggested by a friend – I zip-tied a bunch of jar rings together to make a makeshift rack.

Now the fun part. Washing and heating the jars in the dishwasher, making the simple brine (here’s the recipe I used), and chopping up the peppers were easy.

2 1/2 jars' worth of jalapenos ... and there's no end in sight!

2 1/2 jars’ worth of jalapenos … and there’s no end in sight!

The only hitch in the plan came when I discovered I hadn’t quite boiled enough water to submerge my jars! I had counted on the jars to displace more water than they did. Frantically, I filled some other jars with water and put them in just to displace more fluid, but I ended up having to add some cool water to cover the jars, meaning the water wasn’t boiling for a few minutes afterward. I extended the processing time from 10 minutes to 15 minutes to correct for altitude (we’re over 2,000′ here), then extended that 5 minutes more since the water wasn’t boiling at the beginning. This may have ruined the product…I just don’t know. They *seem* ok, but we’ll open them with care.

First solo canning flight, completed, with only a few bumps!

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