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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Wednesday, November 09, 2011

First Canning Session on My New Natural Gas Range

During the eighteen months that our house was on the market, I purposely slowed down my home canning.  The reasons were simple.  Canning sessions can take upwards of a good day depending on the prep and canning time as well as number of loads to process.  We told the real estate agent we'd show with very little notice so to keep the kitchen in show condition I canned between the hours of 9 PM and 7 AM, not an easy task when my husband was trying to sleep.  I was convinced it would be easier to move empty jars rather than filled ones so went about using up some of my pantry supplies.  The only exception was canning tomato products in September of 2010 where I canned extra.  It must have been a premonition as our original closing date was moved from November 1, 2011 to September 15, 2011 but we took possession on September 1.  I'm glad I canned extra tomato products the year before because this year I managed to only can two hampers, down from my normal ten hampers!

home canned mandarin oranges, jalapeno pepper rings, pineapple
A kitchen never truly feels like it is mine until I have canned in it.  That feeling even extended to our RV and vacation home.  I was anxious to do the first canning session in our new home.  Each kitchen has its own unique rhythm so I had to establish that first.  Yesterday I did my first canning session!  The kitchen is officially mine :)

I canned Chinese mandarin oranges, jalapeño pepper rings and pineapple pieces.  The mandarin oranges were on sale 5lb for $3.97, actually down 3¢ from what I paid for clementines two years ago!  I used the same method for canning the mandarin oranges as I did for clementine oranges except I peeled the segments.  That was a bit tedious but after a few segments I got the hang of it.  The pineapple was $2.47 with a yield of 4 - 250 ml jars at a cost of 65¢ per jar.  The nice thing is by using natural gas for canning I have reduced the cost of canning from 31¢ per hour to 10.3¢ per hour which adds up when doing the large scale canning that I do.  I used a light syrup for the pineapple and processed in a boiling water bath (BWB) for 10 minutes.

I modifed the recipe from the National Center for Home Food Preservation for pickled jalapeño rings to use Pickle Crisp (calcium chloride) rather than pickling lime.  Both are crisping agents but calcium chloride is considerably easier to use and eliminates the long, time consuming presoak process and rinses.  Pickle Crisp can be found in the canning section of many stores or you can buy calcium chloride in bulk online. Of note, jalapeño peppers turn red when ripe which is true of many peppers including the green sweet bell peppers although some peppers turn yellow, orange or purple when ripe.  In general if the pepper is green it is not fully ripened yet.  Ripened peppers lack the sharpness of unripened peppers.  I had a mixture of green and red jalapeño peppers so ended up with 2 - 500 ml jars of green rings, 1 - 500 ml jar of red rings and 1 - 500 ml jar of mixed.

Pickled Jalapeño Rings
source:  Garden Gnome

1½ lb jalapeño pepper rings
1/8 tsp Pickle Crisp (calcium chloride) per 500 ml (pint) jar
1 tsp celery seed per jar
3 tsp mustard seed per jar
¾ c filtered water
3¾ c white vinegar (5% acetic acid)

Wash and cut jalapeño peppers into ¼- inch rings.  Mix water and vinegar together then heat to boiling.  Fill each jar with pepper rings leaving ½- inch headspace.  Spoon calcium chloride, celery seed and mustard seed on top of pepper rings.  Ladle vinegar solution over the peppers leaving ½- inch headspace.  Wipe the rim.  Adjust two piece lids.  Process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes at altitudes up to 1,000 ft above sea level.  For higher altitudes refer to the altitude adjustment chart.

3 food lovers commented:

LindaG said...

Congratulations on canning!

I have always wondered about bell peppers. I bought some green bell pepper plants to grow this year. They did fair for my first time.

I bought a red bell pepper plant, but it didn't do anything.

So if I had left the green bell peppers to grow more, they would have become red bell peppers?

I only ask because I know they sell seeds for different ones, too. Just a marketing ploy, I imagine.

Glad you got to enjoy canning again, GG. :)

Garden Gnome said...

Thanks Linda :) It does feel good to be back canning.

In general green bell peppers will mature to red or depending on the variety yellow, orange or purple. There's even a white and brown variety. These are specific varieties though. There likely are a couple of varieties of bell peppers that are meant to be red when picked hence the name. It really is a bit of a marketing ploy because many are accustomed to picking peppers while still green. As long as they don't charge extra per plant or for the seeds, I wouldn't worry about it.

If you want a lovely producing sweet bell pepper, try California Wonder. They have been good performers for me. The peppers are large and flavourful.

LindaG said...

Thanks for the information. I will look for that California Wonder. :)