A Peck of Peppers Pickled

Photo by GRACELINKS on flickr

While I'm not one to follow recipes, canning should be done precisely. Thoughts of botulism, though very rare, often scare people away from canning the summer’s bounty. I decided to follow this hot pickled peppers recipe with careful attention. But I missed one detail.

Don’t handle hot peppers without gloves.

My hands are burning as I write this; I'm kicking myself for missing that tip. But I'm not the only one this has happened too, as I searched the internet for a cure, I found out I have “Hunan Hands,” also called “Chile Willy” and had it wound up in my eye (which it didn’t, gratefully), “Jalapeno Eye.” The capsaicin burn came on slowly, after I finished slicing and canning 2 pounds of mixed hot chili peppers without protection and doesn’t seem to be letting up over 5 hours later. I've tried many internet recommended remedies – milk, baking soda, oil and dish washing soap – nothing is helping. But I will live and after tasting these delicious, but hot, pickled peppers, I suggest you give it a try – with gloves.

Some canning recipes can be more elaborate, but for this simple project:

Canning is quick - the most time consuming part was processing the vegetables. In this case, slicing 2 pounds of peppers. The actual canning part is only 15 minutes in a boiling water bath.

Canning is easy - boiled water and a brine made from vinegar, water, salt and sugar.

Canning is local – I picked the best looking vegetables available at my coop, and matched them with a recipe. The peppers were local from Hepworth Farms, about 80 miles from the store.

Canning is sustainable – these canned peppers will last for up to a year and will definitely keep me stocked through the winter months when beautiful hot peppers aren’t locally available.

Canning is fun – spending time in the kitchen trying something new is especially fun when I know my efforts will be long lived.

Canning is doable - if botulism is stopping you (or any other reason) there are many other ways to preserve foods. Freezing is quick and easy. Drying can be done in the oven even if you don’t own a dehydrator.

There are a plethora of books on preserving food – this recipe came from Sherri Brooks Vinton’s book Put em Up! September and October are bountiful months, a perfect time to dive in and put ‘em up for the winter.