It has been so cold outside lately that I haven’t wanted to leave the house. Even Maja (the cat) refuses to go outside. Instead, I’ve been turning to a few indoor projects like painting and canning. I’m definitely better at the latter.
In preparation for an upcoming recipe, I needed to make pickled onions. I figured I might as well can and preserve them as well. I might have gone just a tad overboard on the amount of vegetables that I canned though. Oops.
Seriously, we have a whole cupboard full of canned and pickled things now. I guess I need to find a new hobby.
Then again with all my painting, I’m losing wall space too.
A bit of advice when canning: make sure you have the proper tools. I didn’t bother to buy canning tongs for my first batch since I have several pairs of other kitchen and barbecue tongs. I made an absolute mess. Trying to get slippery jars in and out of boiling water isn’t easy. After ten minutes of struggling, I went online and bought the Ball® Secure-Grip Jar Lifter.
It makes a huge difference and more importantly, it’s much safer.
I also used half-pint jars. They are a little smaller, but a good size for chopped vegetables and salsas.
This recipe yields about 2 pints of brine. However, you may have a bit left over after adding the red onions, jalapeños or cucumbers.
The pickled vegetables should keep for about a year when stored in a cool, dry place. However, store the jars without the rings. This is done for several reasons:
- Rings can give you a false impression that the cans are sealed properly. If the food within the can spoils, the seal will break and loosen the lid. Be sure to always check to make sure the lid is still concave before consuming.
- Rings can harbor moisture or food residue leading to rust or attracting animals.
- Rings can be quite difficult to remove after storage.
- 2 cups white vinegar (5% acidity)
- 2 cups filtered water
- 4 tbsp kosher salt (or 2 tbsp pickling salt)
- 1 tbsp whole black peppercorns
- 1 tbsp honey or sugar (optional)
- 3 cloves garlic (optional)
- jalapeños, red onions, or cucumbers (seeds removed), chopped or sliced
- Fill a large pot with enough water to cover the jars by at least one inch. Bring the water to a simmer. As the water is heating up, wash the jars with soap and warm water. Place the jars in the simmering water using a pair of canning tongs. Allow the jars to sit in the simmering water for about 10 minutes. Keep the lids in a small saucepan with warm (not boiling) water.
- Add the vinegar, water, salt, peppercorns, sugar, and garlic to a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer. Add the sliced jalapeños, red onions, or cucumbers to the brine and bring to a boil.
- Remove the jars from the simmering pot of water with a pair of canning tongs. Using a funnel, carefully add the brine and vegetables, leaving 1/2 inch of space on top. Run a knife around the inside edge of the can to dislodge any air. Place the lids on and tighten until just finger-tight (you want air to be able to escape during the next step).
- Using the canning tongs, place the jars back into the pot of simmering water. Make sure there is at least 1 inch of water still covering the jars. Bring the water to a boil and allow the jars to sit in the boiling water for 5 minutes. Then, remove the jars with canning tongs and place on a cooling rack. Allow the jars to sit undisturbed for 12 hours. You may hear the lids pop as they cool.
- Be sure to check the seals after they have cooled for 12 hours. If the center of the lid moves when pressed, the can is not sealed properly. Repeat the process or refrigerate immediately. You can also tap on the center of the lid with a spoon. If you hear a ring, it is sealed. If it just sounds hollow, it did not seal properly. Finally, you can remove the metal ring and gently pick up the jar by only holding the lid. If sealed properly, you will be able to do this easily.
- Remove the rings prior to storage. Refrigerate after opening.