Lessons Learned While Canning Peppers

Last week, I was able to can 10 pints of jalapeno and freeze several more cups.  At first, it seemed like a tedious task.  Every step took so long. Then I learned some tricks or short cuts along the way.  These saved me quite a bit of time.

Form an assembly line. Instead of washing, cutting the tops off, slicing then putting the pepper into a bowl do each step with all the peppers.  Or at least as many as you can.  Doing the same step with all of them saves you actions.  For example, I would have to turn on the water each time I wanted to wash a pepper, then turn it off.  I picked up the knife to cut.  Put it down to place the top in the compost bucket.  Pick it up again to slice. Put it down to place the peppers in the bowl.  (I actually roasted them first, but this is assuming I didn’t.)  Now if I were to use the assembly line method, the water would only be turned on and off once, instead of about 100 times.  I would pick up and put down the knife to cut off tops once for 20 peppers (less if my cutting board had been larger).  See where I’m going?

When doing anything, do it with more than one pepper. Are you washing them off?  Have two or three in your hand.  Are you cutting the tops off?  Line them up and cut the tops off several at once.  I found that four was the optimum number for me.

Is skinning them really required for what you are doing?  This was the first time I have ever put up jalapeno peppers.  That being the case, I tend to follow the steps right down to the letter.  However, after roasting the peppers I found they did not “boil” like they were supposed to.  I tried with two different peppers to take the skins off.  It was useless, so I just proceeded with them still on.  Anyone ever really have an issue with their peppers because they did this?

Wear gloves.  For most of the time I wore gloves (the kind your doctor or nurse wear).  However, toward the end I kept having to take off the gloves and put them back on as I dealt with other obligations.  That got old quickly, so I started to just leave them off. I did not think that washing and cutting the tops off would be the source of warm (burning) hands. My thoughts were that it came from the cooked peppers. I was wrong.  Either that or I dried my wet hands on a towel that had pepper juice on it.  Wear the gloves.

And just for the record, my peppers turned out really hot.  I think it is because I decided not to remove the seeds from them, thinking it wouldn’t really matter.  I ate some on my pizza for lunch.  The first bite with just a bit of pepper in it made me down my glass of water and go get the milk jug.  I think picked off the rest of the peppers and enjoyed my pizza … with lips still burning.

These are just a few of the things I learned.  Anyone else have ways they shortened their prep time?