Monday, August 26, 2013

Canning in Really Tiny Batches

This is the first year I have ever grown banana peppers. A few years ago I discovered the tangy deliciousness that is pickled banana pepper rings and I wanted to make these stupidly simple things at home. This year I decided to end my fear of pepper growing failure and try bananarama, cayenne, Chinese Giant and jalapenos. They are easier than I thought! Everything is very fruitful even if it did take longer than I though for them to bloom and fruit. But, it's been an odd growing season here in Maine. Yeah, lets say it's the weather *winky wink*.

So, anywho! There were two big banana peppers just hanging screaming "pick me!" from under those glossy dark leaves. I hesitated thinking that only two would barely fill a 1/4 pint jar. But, if I waited to long for a couple more to mature I would be out of luck on the first two. Well, what is wrong with making one small jar? Nothing! So I plucked them off and decided to pickle this afternoon.

I had bookmarked this recipe a few weeks ago. Knowing that I will be making more soon, I made a half batch of brine and the extra will stay in the fridge for the future. The only modification I did make to the recipe is instead of boiling the brine with garlic I put a small clove of garlic in the bottom of the jar with the peppers along with a pinch of red pepper flakes for heat. Banana peppers are not spicy, FYI.

Here are my personal steps:

1. Wash and slice your peppers (2, 50, it don't mattah). And, peel a small garlic clove.

2. Heat jar(s), lid(s) and ring(s) in your canning pot. Mine is a medium pot with a steamer in it for this project, heating my huge canner up seemed superfluous.

3. When your brine and jar(s) are hot, proceed to put the garlic and about 1/8 teaspoon of red pepper flakes in the bottom of the jar(s). Then tightly pack in the peppers.

4. Pour in brine with 1/4 inch head room.

5. Wipe rim and lid it up.

6. Gently put in your water bath canner of choice and process for ten (10) minutes.

7. When your beeper goes off, retrieve your screaming hot jars carefully and place on a folded towel to cool. You have just made your own banana rings. You should feel amazing.

Remember that extra brine? Pour it in a spare jar and let it cool (for goodness sake don't stick it boiling hot in your fridge). Lid that up too and store in the fridge forever. Or, until you need it. Whichever comes first.

So what have we learned today? Was it that there is no such thing as too small a canning batch? Was it that I am a crap photographer? Nope, it was that I am completely contradicting because I used the word 'mattah' and then followed it with 'superfluous'. It's hard keeping up the image that I am all Maine-ah all the time. Secretly, I have a bitchn' IQ. Surprise!

Til next time people.

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