Saturday, August 6, 2011

Our First Time Canning: What We Did Right and What We Did Wrong

The other day, my mom and I tried canning for the first time.  We had a lot of fun and can't wait to do it again.  My mom has a modest sized garden that is producing a ton of banana peppers.  So much, that we didn't know what to do with them all.  Then it dawned on us: canning!  We tried our hand at pickling banana peppers.  

After getting together mason jars, canning tongs, some recipes and hints, we had our go at it. 

Our brine recipe:
3 cups white vinegar
3 cups water
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp black pepper corns
1 1/2 tsp Ball Pickling seasoning (which has blk pepper, mustard seed, and other spices)

Boil the brine, add it to the jars. Put the lids on the jars (but not too tight). Place the jars in boiling water for ten minutes.  Then, let cool and don't mess with the lids for 12 hours. 

We made about 10 jars. 

After sterilizing our jars, we brought the brine to a boil.

As for the veggies, we chopped the banana peppers, and added a little bit of carrots, onions, green onions, jalapenos, and garlic.

My mom liked the color that the carrots added to our ensemble. After filling the jars with the veggies, we boiled the jars for ten minutes. 

We couldn't find the big pot we planned on using, so we improvised and used a crawfish boil pot.  It looked a bit silly on the stove, but it worked nicely because it had the cage thing with it. 

After the boiling was complete, we cooled the cans and all of them popped--a sign that they were sealed!  It is such a nice sound of success!

What we did right:
--The brine was awesome! The peppers came out nice and spicy.

--Adding veggies. The carrots and onion helped the flavor. 

--All of our cans sealed!

What we did wrong:
--We took too long between filling the jars with brine and boiling them. While the peppers taste great, they aren't crisp.  They're a little mushy.  My mom's stove takes forever to boil water.  We filled all the jars without realizing that the pot still needed a while before it boiled.  And, when we put the jars in the boiling water it took 10-15 minutes to boil again.  And, then we boiled the jars for 10 minutes (like the recipe called for).  

--We could have filled the jars with more peppers.  After we finished we noticed that the jars could have fit a lot more in them. 

The basics of canning are very simple, and there are a ton of recipes out there.  I can't wait to try salsas and maybe jams.

What are your favorite canning recipes?


  1. I love canning too! Especially tomatoes and various types of fruit preserves.

  2. One day, when I plant my garden (in my new yard) I'll send you come canned goods!