Jalapeno plants tend to be prolific producers, leaving you with an abundance of peppers to preserve. Canning jalapenos is a practical solution, as is freezing them. However, the acid content of peppers is low, so a vinegar solution is necessary for safe canning. The peppers also require some preparation before being packaged for the freezer.
Things You'll Need
Boiling water canner
Jars, lids and rings
Tongs and lid lifters
Bubble freer or thin spatula
Canning the Peppers
Fill the boiling water canner with water and bring the water to a boil.
Rinse the peppers and allow them to dry. Put on a pair of vinyl or latex kitchen gloves to continue preparing the peppers.
Cut the top of the peppers off and remove the seeds. Cut larger peppers in half lengthwise. Leave smaller peppers whole. If you wish to leave the tops on and the seeds in, make two small slits on each side of each pepper. The vinegar solution must be able to soak the insides of the peppers.
Rinse your gloved hands off and remove the gloves. Wash your hands.
Sterilize the canning jars, lids and rings in the boiling water and set aside in a safe area. Do not handle the jars, lids and rings with your hands. Use sterilized tongs and lid lifters (a small wand with a magnet on the end).
Bring 1 cup of vinegar, 3/4 cup of water, 1 tsp. of salt, 1 tsp. of pickling spices or similar spice mix, and a 1/2 tsp. of sugar to a boil in a small saucepan. This liquid mix covers about 2 lbs. of jalapeno peppers.
Put on a pair of gloves and place the prepared peppers in the sterilized jars. Pack tightly, leaving a 2 inch headspace. Headspace is the gap between the top of the contents and the top of the jar. Add sliced carrots, celery sticks and garlic to the jars if desired.
Carefully pour the vinegar solution over the peppers, leaving about 1/4 inch headspace. Gently stir the solution in the jars with a thin spatula or bubble freer (a thin plastic spatula resembling a plastic knife) to remove the bubbles or air pockets.
Place the lids onto the filled jars and secure with the rings. Lower into the boiling water and allow the jars to process for at least 10 minutes. At higher altitudes, process the jars for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the jars from the hot water bath and allow them to sit overnight before storing.
Freezing the Peppers
Rinse the peppers and allow them to dry. Put on a pair of kitchen gloves and cut off the tops of the peppers. Slice the peppers lengthwise and remove the seeds.
Line a cookie sheet with a piece of wax paper. Spread the prepared peppers onto the cookie sheet. Place the peppers in the freezer for about one hour. Remove the tray from the freezer.
Place the chilled peppers in a plastic freezer storage bag. Remove the air from the bag and seal. Label the bag with the contents and date and place in the freezer. Frozen jalapeno peppers keep for up to one year.
Frozen jalapeno peppers are best used for cooking as the lose crispness during the thawing process. Wash your hands frequently when working with any type of chili pepper.