Join me as I renovate my 1881 farmhouse with much creativity and very little budget. (Often with humorous results). Oh and there may be random ramblings posted from time to time. It helps quiet the voices in my head. Well, that and the prescription the Dr. gave me...
Alternate titles I considered for my post were "How to Pepper Spray Yourself" and "Help! My Stove is on Fire and So Are My Lungs"
(And I apologize for the lack of my personal pictures--none of the batteries for my camera were charged)
So adventures in canning--I have them. LEARN FROM MY MISTAKES PEOPLE! haha
It began innocently enough-as it always does-with me perusing PINTEREST looking for recipes and ideas for hot peppers. There were like a kazillion pins for Cowboy Candy. Intrigued, I began to click on links to learn more. Curse you Pinterest (shakes fist)
Once I identified the object of my obsession, there was the invariable self conversation.
Me: I am so gonna make this!
Self: "Um this involves hot peppers."
Me: Yeah, so what?
Self: "Um you DO realize you are a walking disaster, right?"
Me: Hey! Don't judge me because I am life challenged!
Self: HOT PEPPERS!
Me: Shut up-I am doing this!
Self: "Oh Boy, this is not going to end well!"
Me: Hmmm, MAYBE it is time I see the Dr. for some quiet pills?
So after my trip down insane lane, I got busy prepping my peppers. I had about a pound of mixed peppers from my garden of jalapenos, cayenne and red thai. And for the love of gawd--WEAR GLOVES! These suckers burn. So unless you want to be curled in the fetal position crying for your Momma, wear the dang gloves!
I removed the stems, shaved the tip, rinsed and sliced the peppers into 1/4 inch slices. These were tossed into a lidded plastic container with 3 cups of water and 1/3 cup canning salt. They were stored in the fridge overnight...okay more like 32 hours because I forgot about them. And when I finally remembered, I was too tired to mess with it.
I rinsed the peppers several times to remove the brine then let them drain.The majority of the seeds and pith had fallen out of the slices. For those that didn't, I used a toothpick to knock out the seeds and pith. Another quick rinse and while the peppers were draining I made the syrup.
Into a non reactive pot combine:
1 cup of apple cider vinegar (no caramel coloring)
2 cups of white granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
1/4 teaspoon mustard seed
1/2 teaspoon dehydrated minced onion
Bring to a boil for 2 minutes. Reduce heat and add pepper rings. Simmer for 8 minutes. Now here is where you gotta pay attention! All peppers have a compound known as capsicum. Depending on the Scoville unit (hot factor) of the peppers species determines how much capsicum is in the pepper. Also capsicum is the active ingredient used for hot pepper spray--MACE. Yep-the stuff used to neutralize the bad guys. Now 2 things are gonna happen. 1) The peppers have been fermenting in a brine (in my case 32 hours) and they are going to outgas the capsicum. If you breathe these fumes you are gonna be bawling like a baby. 2) When the capsicum outgasses from the peppers, they will displace the volume of the sugar syrup in your pan. Meaning it will froth and boil over. If it boils over the liquid will evaporate and the sugar will char. If the burner is hot enough it could catch on fire. GO ahead--ask me how I know!
Now I realize you are saying 1 of 2 things right now."Yeah, yeah whatever" or "oh gawd you really are a dumbass". You would be correct on the last statement.
I admit it--I was distracted. I was a chemist for 20 years. I am aware of the properties of capsicum ( hot peppers). I have been canning for a year now. I know what I am SUPPOSED to do. But I didn't. I didn't pay attention. My pan boiled over. Sugar was on fire on my burner and I inhaled a big ol' snootful of vinegar-hot pepper fumes when trying to move/ clean everything. OH MY GAWD! I thought I was gonna die!
I ran to the sink to run cold water. I practically submerged my me head to splash my face and rinse my eyes. I held a wet towel over my mouth and nose to breath . It took close to a half hour before I no longer felt like I was gonna pass out. Hoooo Boy! So I am gonna make a suggestion, when making the syrup, you might want to consider using a pot that is twice the volume of what you are making.
Once I came back from my fire breathing brush with death, I finished my batch. I hot packed the pepper rings in syrup into quarter pint jars, left a 1/4 inch headspace, wiped the rims, sealed and water bathed for 10 minutes. There was no sense breaking out my big canning pot so I used my old bean pot and a collapsible steamer tray which worked perfectly. My yield was 4 of the quarter pint jars.
My quarter pint jars are "quilted" and I wasn't able to get a detailed picture... bummer
I googled to see how these were served and it varied. Some people serve it as an appetizer on cream cheese topped crackers