Did you end up with an over abundance of jalapeño chili peppers this year? Preserve that harvest into shelf-stable jars of sliced pickled jalapenos. They taste hot and spicy with a tangy vinegary kick.
I can’t resist growing lots of jalapeno peppers in the garden each year. They are easy to grow and produce an abundant amount of fruit per plants. I use them in many canning recipes, including tomato salsa, salsa verde, and garden blended vegetable juice. I also freeze plenty of jalapenos whole for fajitas, chilis, and other winter meals.
Pickled jalapeños come in handy to add spicy heat to nachos, taco salads, sub sandwiches, and deviled eggs. While the flavorful pickling brine can be drizzled over roasted vegetables, used to make a vinaigrette or salad dressing, or spicy marinade for grilled meats.
Tips for Canning Pickled Jalapeños
In this canning recipe, sliced jalapeño peppers are packed into jars, covered with a simple garlic infused vinegar pickling brine, and processed in a water bath canner for shelf stable jars. Pickling peppers is pretty straightforward, but here are some tips to make the best quality pickled jalapeños:
Start with Fresh Hot Peppers
As with all pickled produce, preserving within a day or so after harvesting will give you a higher quality product. Choose freshly harvested jalapeños with firm flesh and bruise free skins. Skip peppers that have cracks, soft spots, or are shriveled. Trim and freeze these instead.
You can use green or red jalapenos for this recipe, or even swap out the type of hot peppers as long as the amount of peppers stays the same. I often pickle serrano chiles, yellow banana peppers, and Hungarian wax peppers using this recipe.
Both red and green jalapenos are from the same plant. The chiles start out green and turn red if left on the plant to mature. They taste hotter as they ripen, and may develop white lines running the length of the pepper. Jalapenos with lines are usually spicier than smooth skinned peppers. Both colors are hot, but red have more heat and a sweeter flavor.
Use commercial vinegar with 5% acidity
The level of acidity when canning pickles is as important for safety, flavor, and texture. Use commercial vinegar with 5% acidity.
- White vinegar is clear vinegar made by distilling corn and rye. It tastes more sour and acidic than apple cider vinegar, but this may be just what you love about pickles. Choose an organic brand to avoid genetically modified corn.
- Apple cider vinegar is made from fermented apples. It has a fruity tart flavor that blends well with peppers. The color is amber brown and may darken your pickles slightly, but the flavor is worth it.
Preserving peppers in vinegar is the only way to safely can peppers with a water bath canner. If you want to preserve plain peppers, you’ll need to use a pressure canner and follow this recipe instead: How to Pressure Can Peppers.
Wear gloves when working with hot peppers so you don’t burn your hands. Hot pepper juices can burn you hands and anything you touch. Protect your hands with rubber gloves and avoid touching your skin and eyes wile working with chiles.
Don’t Have a Water Bath Canner?
If you don’t have a water bath canner to process the jars, you can use a large pot instead. Your pot will need to be tall enough to cover the tops of the jars by a few inches of water, plus two inches of space to prevent boiling water from splashing out of the pot.
Place a rack in the bottom to elevate the jars up away from direct heat, and allow the water to circulate around the jars as they are processed. For small batch canning, I use an 8-quart tall pot with an 8-inch canning rack. It can fit 5 half pint sized canning jars.
Steps for Canning Pickled Jalapeños
Canning pickled jalapeños is an easy way to preserve them. Simply, fill your jars with sliced jalapeños, cover them with a garlic flavored vinegar pickling brine, and process in a water bath canner.
When canning, it is important to use a recipe that has been scientifically tested. This is a tested safe canning recipe from the Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving, “Hot Peppers.” It has been adjusted for a small batch of 5 half-pint jars. The proportions of ingredients remain the same for safe canning.
If you are new to canning, it may be helpful to review this article on water bath canning at the National Center for Home Food Preservation website. A more detailed and printable recipe can be found at the bottom of this article, but these are the general steps for making and canning pickled jalapeño slices:
Step 1: Prepare the Canning Equipment
Gather your canning and kitchen equipment. You will need:
- Water bath canner and canning rack
- 5 half-pint canning jars
- Canning lids and bands (new lids for each jar, bands can be reused)
- Canning tools: jar lifter, canning ladle, funnel, and bubble popper
- Kitchen scale
- Plus basic kitchen supplies such as a large saucepot, large prep bowl, small pot, kitchen towels, knife, and a cutting board.
Wash the canning jars, lids, and canning tools in warm, soapy water and rinse well. Inspect the jars carefully, and don’t use any that have cracks or chips, as these may break when heated.
Jars must be heated before filling to prevent breakage due to thermal shock. Place the jar rack into the water bath canner, set the jars upright in the canner, and add enough water to cover the jars. Bring the canner to a simmer (180˚F) for 10 minutes, and keep the jars hot until you are ready to fill them.
Follow the manufacturer’s directions for preparing the lids. Pre-heating is no longer necessary before using, but it is still safe to warm the lids if you want to. Just add them to the canner when you heat your jars.
Step 2: Prepare the hot peppers
Weigh the peppers, and wash well under clean running water. Air dry on a clean kitchen towel. While wearing gloves, remove the stems and cut the peppers into 1-inch slices or rings. Set aside.
Step 3: Make the pickling brine
Combine the vinegar, water, and garlic in a large sauce pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer (180˚F) for 5 minutes. Remove and discard the garlic.
Step 4: Can the peppers
Lay a dry kitchen towel on the counter. Remove a hot jar from the canner, drain, and place on the towel. Keep the remaining jars in the canner, so they stay warm.
Use a pair of tongs or wear gloves and add the jalapeño slices to the warm jars. Ladle hot pickling liquid over the peppers.
Run a bubble popper through the jar to release air bubbles. Wipe the rim with a damp towel to remove residue. Center a lid on the jar, and screw the band on until fingertip tight. Place the jar back into the canner, and repeat with the rest of the jars.
Once the jars are in the canner, adjust the water level so it is covering the jars by two inches, bring the canner to a boil, and process the jars for the times indicated in the recipe below. Let the jars cool, test the seals, label and date the jars, and store in a cool, dark location for 12 to 18 months.
Pickled Jalapenos Canning Recipe
- 1 1/2 pounds jalapeño peppers
- 3 cups white vinegar or apple cider vinegar 5%
- 1 cup water
- 2 cloves garlic crushed
Prepare the canning equipment:
- Wash your jars, lids, screw bands, and canning tools in hot soapy water. Rinse well to remove all suds. Set aside to air dry on a clean kitchen towel.
- Place the jar rack into water bath canner, place jars in the canner, and add water to cover. Bring the canner to a simmer (180˚F) for 10 minutes, and keep the jars hot until you are ready to fill them.
Prepare the jalapeños:
- Rinse the chiles well under clean running water and air dry on a kitchen towel.
- Slip on a pair of gloves to prevent burns, remove the stems, and cut the peppers into 1-inch slices or rings. Set aside.
Heat the pickling brine:
- Combine vinegar, water, and garlic in a large saucepot. Bring to a boil over high heat, and then reduce heat to low and simmer (180˚F) for 5 minutes. Remove and discard the garlic. Keep warm.
Can the jalapeño slices:
- Spread a kitchen towel on the counter. Remove a warm jar from canner using the jar lifter. Drain the water back into the canner and place on the towel. Keep the remaining jars in the canner so they stay hot.
- Use the canning funnel and fill the jar with the sliced jalapeños.
- Ladle hot pickling liquid over the peppers and maintain a 1/2-inch headspace.
- Run the bubble popper through the jars to release air bubbles. Wipe the rim clean with a damp paper towel.
- Center a lid on the jar, and screw on the band until it is fingertip tight. Use the jar lifter to place the jar back into the canner, and repeat with the remaining jars.
- Once jars are all in canner, adjust the water level so it is two inches above the jar tops.
- Cover the canning pot and bring it to a rolling boil over medium-high heat. Once the pot boils, process half-pints for 10 minutes at altitudes of less than 1,000 ft. Adjust processing time for your altitude if necessary. (See notes)
- When processing time is complete, turn off heat, remove the cover by tilting lid away from you so that steam does not burn your face, and allow the canner to cool down and settle for 5 minutes.
- Spread a dry kitchen towel on the counter. Use a jar lifter to remove the jars one at a time from the canner. Keep the jars upright, and place them on the towel. Do not tighten ring bands or test the seals yet. Let the jars sit undisturbed for 12 to 24-hours to cool.
- After the jars have cooled for at least 12 hours, check to be sure lids have sealed by pushing on the center of the lid. The lid should not pop up. If the lid flexes up and down, it did not seal. Place the jar in the refrigerator, and use within a month.
- Remove the ring bands, wash, label, date the jars, and store in a cool, dark place between 50 to 70 degrees F for 12 to 18 months. Allow 4-5 weeks for the pickles to develop flavor. Once the jar is open, refrigerate and use up within a month. Makes about 5 half-pint jars of picked jalapeños.
- Half-pints and pints at altitudes of 1,001 - 6,000 ft. is 15 minutes, and above 6,001 feet is 20 minutes.
You May Also Like:
- How to Pressure Can Green Chile Peppers
- 3 Ways to Preserve Peppers
- Zesty Tomato Salsa Canning Recipe
- Marinated Roasted Red Peppers Canning Recipe
Good planning is key to a successful vegetable garden
Whether you are new to growing your own food or have been growing a vegetable garden for years, you will benefit from some planning each year. You will find everything you need to organize and plan your vegetable garden in my PDF eBook, Grow a Good Life Guide to Planning Your Vegetable Garden.