I have some very fond memories of watching my grandmother, mom, and aunt can, but I was really too young to understand or appreciate all their hard work until I took up the art for myself. The canning ‘bug’ hit me when I was pregnant with our first son Elijah. I’m pretty sure I drove my poor mom & mother-in-law crazy with all my questions, but I was determined to feed our first born from our garden and since he wasn’t due until the end of December that meant ‘putting food by’ in the summer and fall. I canned everything I could get my hands on. Some things turned out great while others ended up in the compost.
I’ll be honest some things are harder to can than others, you just have to decide what’s worth it for you. For me corn is a big pain in the butt and I’d rather just freeze it. On the scale of easy these peppers score a 10 so they’re a great one for newbies.
Red Cherry Peppers are one of the easiest peppers to grow with 6 plants yielding bucket loads! Keep the plants picked for a bigger yield. We pick and can as the season progresses and as they ripen. Oh and please don’t let the name fool you, they’re very rarely ‘hot’, mostly sweet with every once in awhile a bit of heat to keep you on your toes. So here’s a simple recipe that keeps our household, extended family, and friends in plenty of these red jewels. They’re great in salads, as appetizers, or next to a summer tomato sandwich!
This recipe makes (more or less) about 4 pints
- 1 pound of red cherry hot peppers
- 10-12 garlic cloves peeled
- 4-6 bay leaves
- 4 tsp black peppercorns
- 3 T mustard seed
- 2 cups white vinegar
- ¾ c water
- 2 T sugar
- Prepare water bath and sterilize all jars and lids.
- Prepare brine by combining vinegar, sugar, and water in a pot and bring to a simmer.
- Wash and prepare peppers by trimming any excess stems.
- Pierce each pepper a couple of times with a paring knife so that the brine will get inside.
- Pack peppers in clean, hot jars. Don't be afraid to pack them tightly.
- In each jar put a few cloves of garlic, a bay leaf, 1 tsp peppercorns, and ¾ tsp mustard seed.
- Pour the hot brine over the peppers and make sure to jostle the jars to remove any air bubbles.
- Wipe rims and apply seals and bands.
- Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.