The rain here in northwest Georgia this year has been tremendous. The crops in my garden have not. A few tomatoes and a few bell peppers and some okra. Cucumbers? Pfft. Too much rain can definitely be a bad thing. (However, I am not complaining. I love the rain.) What do I have the most of? Hot peppers. They are thriving. The irony is, my family, nor I, don’t really eat a lot of hot peppers. Such is life. So, what to do? Give some away and can the rest.
About a week ago, I picked 50+ peppers- jalapeños and cow horns. The jabaneros aren’t ready just yet. I knew this was going to be quite a task, as peppers are tricky to work with.
The difficulty begins in the cutting. You must wear gloves for this and remember not to touch your face or skin! The capsaicin will get you for sure. Peppers are much like onions, giving off vapors that can affect one’s eyes and breathing. I, of course, was no exception. After about fifteen minutes, I had to crack the windows and back door to let some fresh air in. The coughing had commenced. Once the cutting was finished, I had to wipe down every surface I had come in contact with in the gloves. The juice and seeds had managed to spread…
The jars were ready, the peppers went in, and the water bath began. (10-15 min)
After 5 or 6 minutes, I could really smell the peppers in the air, which I thought was odd. Then I really started to sneeze and cough a great deal. I glanced at the pot and saw a couple of seeds floating in the water, which was not good, but, curious. I stared to remove them, and saw a jar bobbing in the water! Thinking to myself, surely I didn’t not leave that much air space in the jar that it would float. In all my years of canning, I have never experienced the problem shown below. Two of my jars had broken on the bottom! The peppers were continuing to cook and the vapors were filling the air. Not sure why this happened. I had the jars sitting on a rack, so that they were not touching the bottom of the pot. Funny thing is, I rarely use a rack on the bottom and have never had a problem. One of life’s mysteries, I suppose.
So, I cleaned the jars off under hot running water and quickly brought a fresh batch of water to a boil. Plan B was to use a vegetable steamer in the bottom. It worked like a charm and held the weight of the jars beautifully.
In the end, the result was beautiful. My eyes eventually stopped watering and my coughing and sneezing subsided. The peppers were so pretty and now I have lots of gifts to give.
Have you had a disaster in your kitchen this summer? Tell me about it!