I am absolutely stunned at how many peppers my four little plants are producing. This morning I harvested 46 jalapeno and 11 green chili peppers and the plants are still full of flowers and peppers.
I will probably be able to harvest at least that many more jalapeno and double that amount of green chili in the next week. From what I’ve been reading though, this is only the beginning. Apparently peppers like a cooler temperature so they should be producing well into September and possibly up to the first frost. That’s an awful lot of peppers.
I had thought about planting more plants next year, but I think two of each of these kind is more than enough. I am, however, going to plant many bell varieties as well as some Szeghetis.
Before jumping into canning my peppers this morning, I had to make a run up to the market to pick up a few things for my father’s birthday celebration tomorrow. Of course I couldn’t let a trip to the market go by without stopping at the clearance rack and lo and behold they had four bags of red bell peppers, two bags of green peppers, and one bag of yellow bell peppers. It worked out to be about a quarter per pepper and they were beautiful. I couldn’t pass them up.
What to do with that many bell peppers? Well I’m sure there are lots of things that can be done with them, but I needed some for the freezer as my stock was getting low. I love having them in the freezer for sauces as well as many dinners that I make. They fry up wonderfully in stir fry, cook up faster for a goulash style stuffed pepper, and the flavor is intense in my spaghetti sauce.
The first step is to cut the peppers, removing all the seeds, and wash them.
Then I let them dry on the counter for about an hour so there is no water on them.
Finally I pack them into freezer bags and toss them in the freezer.
On reading how to freeze peppers, originally I was flash freezing the peppers on cookie sheets and then transferring them to the bags. I found this an unnecessary step if I just made sure they were dry before putting in the bags — plus I never have enough space in the freezer to put a cookie sheet full of peppers.
As I was cleaning the peppers, I decided this would be a good time to start collecting seeds for next years garden. I saved four centers from each type of pepper, removed all the seeds and set them out in the sun to dry a bit before bagging them up until spring.
Once the peppers were clean and drying, I set to work on the jalapenos. The first batch I picked from the garden I used for Jalapeno Pepper Jelly. The next few I froze because there weren’t enough to can. This batch was going to be pickled. Pickled jalapenos are perfect for using in my salsa recipe. I canned some earlier in the year when I found a couple quarts on the clearance rack. They turned out great except that I canned them in pints which turned out to be too large a jar for one recipe of salsa. This time I used 1/2 pints so there won’t be any leftovers. They do keep in the fridge up to six months once opened, but I usually forget I have an open bottle and end up opening another. Then I have two open bottles until I make salsa again. By then, of course, I’ve forgotten about the two open jars, so I open a third. Do you see how this can get completely out of hand? So, 1/2 pint jars it is!
Pickled Jalapeno Peppers
- 1/2 Cup Water
- 1 1/2 Cups Vinegar
- 1 tsp. Kosher Salt
- 1 Clove of Garlic for each jar
- Jalapeno Peppers (the 46 + 8 I had in the freezer made 11 1/2 pints – I tripled the above ingredients)
Combine water, vinegar, and salt in stainless steel pan. Bring to boil. Heat jars and lids.
Slice the jalapeno peppers, being sure to use gloves otherwise your hands will burn like the dickens.
Add one clove of garlic to each jar. Pack jars tightly with pepper rings, leaving 1/2″ head space. Ladle hot brine over peppers leaving 1/4″ head space. Remove air bubbles. Clean rims and screw on lids. Process in hot water bath 15 minutes.
This is one of the quickest recipes for canning that I make. Of course the FIRE! incident did interrupt me a bit while I was filling the jars, but it all worked out in the end.
After the jalapeno were pickled, I set to work on the green chilis. This is a lot more labor intense and had I not found two bags of cubanellas on the clearance rack, I probably would have just frozen the ones I harvested from the garden. Instead I fired up the grill and set to work.
If you’re interested in making canned green chili peppers, I did a post on these here:
The 11 green chilis I harvested along with the two bags I bought only yielded four 1/2 pint jars. A lot of work for so little reward, but they will be wonderful in salsa, chicken enchiladas, and many other meals throughout the winter (or at least four meals).
It was a busy day. Now I just need to figure out what else to do with the jalapeno peppers that will be harvested for the next month or so. I’m out of ideas but I’m sure the internet will prevail, and for this I am — Simply Grateful.