Thursday, May 16, 2013

Marinated Red Peppers

Sweet Red Bell Peppers were the first vegetable I canned.  When I first canned them, I wasn't sure what I was going to make with them.  By the time winter came, I made up a recipe with these marinated peppers and sausage that has turned into one of my favorite winter recipes.  Now, I make sure that I have enough cans to last me through the winter.  I will make sure that I can about 7-10 jars.

Before I tell you about the recipe, there are a few important notes I have to inform you of.  As discussed in "Let's Talk About:  Boiling Water Bath Canning" you can only safely BWB can vegetables if they are pickled or fermented somehow.  Also, it is important to note that you should never can with oil; this marinade has oil in it.  So, how does this recipe become safe to can if canning in oil is a big no-no? 

If you look at the ingredients for the marinade, you will find that it has 2 different acids:  lemon juice and vinegar.  You'll also notice that the vinegars are not diluted in water.  The original recipe was created and tested safe by The National Center for Home Food Preservation.  Now, even though this canning recipe is safe to BWB and the recipe will be shelf stable, NCHFP recommends that it should only be shelf stable for about 6 months.  The oil in the recipe can go rancid...because of this many experienced canners choose to just leave out the oil and can the peppers with just vinegar and lemon juice.  I understand why they do it because it sucks to lose a jar of food when you've put so much work into something.  However, I can this recipe as is.  The reason being that I don't can for long term shelf storage (2+ years or longer), I can to preserve the flavor of the seasons.  So, I will generally eat the marinated red peppers within 6 months.  I have never had a jar go rancid on me (*knocks on wood*).

Look at these gorgeous peppers!  They were on sale so I grabbed them!
 
You will find different ways to make this recipe online and in books but it is important to note that the method stays the same:  4 pounds peppers, 1 cup lemon juice (bottled, always bottled), 2 cups vinegar, 1 cup oil.
 
 
Mmmmmm, roasted peppers are yummy!
 
Some recipes will have a mix of peppers, some recipes roast the peppers, some do not roast the peppers, some add onions, some add dried herbs, you'll see white wine vinegar used, cider vinegar used, and some will use vegetable oil instead of olive. However, they all should follow the same method. If you come across a recipe that does not follow the approved method, it probably isn't a safe recipe.  The recipe I follow, and the recipe that introduced me to this, is from Eugenia Bone's book Well-Preserved.

They look so pretty in my new blue jars!

Marinated Red Bell Pepper

From Well-Preserved by Eugenia Bone

Yield:  3 pints

4 pounds red bell peppers (8 to 10 medium)
1 cup bottled lemon juice
2 cups white wine vinegar (I use regular white)
1 cup olive oil
2 medium garlic cloves, sliced
1 1/2 teaspoons salt

  1. Roast peppers, turning them often with tongs, until they are black and blistered all over.  Remove from heat and place on a cutting board to cool.  When they are cool enough to handle, remove the skin, stem, and seed pod from the peppers.  Using your hands, tear peppers into large pieces (I go by the natural ribs of the peppers, they should tear easily along those ribs).
  2. Combine lemon juice, vinegar, olive oil, garlic, and salt in a medium sauce pan.  Heat to just boiling.
  3. Working quickly, stuff peppers into hot jars leaving about an inch of head space (the peppers will expand during processing).  Pour marinade over peppers leaving about a half inch headspace.  Ensure that garlic is evenly split amongst jars (I filter them out of the left over marinade).  Using a butter knife, ensure that there are no air pockets or bubbles in the peppers by running it between the jar and the peppers.
  4. Following "Kitchen Tactics:  Boiling Water Bath Canning" , process pints for 15 minutes.

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