This blog is about my journey into the world of canning, or "putting up" as others would like to call it. I will try to pickle almost anything and smash berries and sugar together on any given day. I'll also write about general baking, which is another passion of mine, but not as overwhelming, addictive or obsessive as canning has become.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Jalapeno Peppers w/Garlic

Mmmmm jalapenos.  Mmmmm garlic.  Mmmmm jalapenos WITH garlic.  Pretty basic but pretty delicious as well.  The idea of making these little beauties entered my mind as I was browsing the http://www.foodinjars.com/ canning blog.  Marisa always has some of the best ideas for preserving food in even the simplest fashion. 

The local grocery store by my house has the best local produce.  I mean, the BEST.  I could get lost in there every time I go in, which is almost on a daily basis.  I tend to stop in for something like romaine lettuce and end up leaving $60 poorer.  They make their own specialty foods, bake their own artisan breads and even have a great dessert section that are all made in-house.  They also have a HUGE brick oven for flat bread pizzas.  Now although I've only tried them twice in the almost 3 years I've lived here, the size of the oven is impressive in itself.  Moving on... yesterday, when I got the idea of these jalapenos, I decided to quickly stop in the local store to see if they had enough for my recipe.  The basic recipe called for 1 lbs of peppers but I wanted to make quite a few jars so I got almost 4 lbs.  They were $2.99 a pound, which I thought was pretty reasonable.  I already had the garlic cloves at home and the rest are pantry staples which I already had on hand.

I resisted the urge to deposit my entire paycheck into the store and hurried home to begin washing these bright green little guys.  They are so vibrant in color I almost expected them to start jumping out of the bowl with salsa music playing in the background.

 This really was one of the simplest recipes I've followed to date and one of the most gratifying for some reason.  Literally, all I had to do was wash them, cut their little stems off and then slice in half.

Now, for the brine, it was as simple as preparing the peppers.  Bring water, vinegar and pickling salt to a boil.  Done.  Really - that's it.  No crazy spices or spending $15 on a jar of anise stars.  In addition to being one of the easiest recipes to create, it's also one of the cheapest.  Vinegar is pretty inexpensive and water is, well, free.  A sealed bag of pickling salt set me back maybe $4.00 a few weeks ago and will last for many, many recipes.  An economically sound purchase.

While the brine was coming to a boil, I just dropped one garlic clove in the bottom of each hot, sterilized jar and then packed the jars with slices of jalapenos.  Make sure you pack 'em in there good but don't hurt the little guys.  No one wants a broken or bruised pepper. 


Once these jars are stuffed with the spicy little green monsters, just pour the hot brine over the peppers, leaving 1/2" head space.  Process in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes - remember, don't start your 10 minutes until the canner has returned to a rolling boil.

Finished product is pretty nifty, I must say.  I'm excited to crack open a jar in November when I make my first batch of chili.  Cold day, fire going, glass of wine - add a few slices of these guys to your chili that's cooking in the crock pot and you're good to go.  If you didn't have the patience to wait for the cooler weather to hit for chili, you could certainly open these guys up in about 2 weeks and use them in some salsa.  It'll definitely give you the added kick you're looking for with a hint of garlicky deliciousness.

Here is my recipe, borrowed from http://www.foodinjars.com/, but tweaked a bit to add the garlic.

Ingredients:
  • 4 pounds of jalapeno peppers
  • 8 cups of white vinegar
  • 8 cups of water
  • 8 tablespoons of pickling salt
Directions:
  1. Wash peppers, slice of stems and then slice peppers in half.
  2. After your jars have been sterilized and are sitting in hot water, dd vinegar, water and salt to a large pot and bring to a boil.
  3. Drop a clove of garlic in each jar and fill with sliced peppers.
  4. Pour hot brine over peppers/garlic leaving 1/2" head space.
  5. Wipe rims of jars before sealing, then process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
I'd wait about 2 weeks to open these little firecrackers up, but they'll last for up to a year in a dark, cool area.



It's obvious that these little guys are anxiously awaiting the hot brine to join the party



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