Adventures in Canning: Pickles & Banana Peppers

Apparently Tuesdays are now the day that I talk about canning on the blog. If only I could find a way to can tacos. That would be amazing. Anyway.

The peppers & pickles. Also my amazing jam.

I've wanted to make pickles and banana peppers for as long as I can remember. I love pickles. So very much. And so the thought of having my very own homemade pickles sounded pretty awesome. And Mr. T and I have a thing for banana peppers so I thought why not do those too.

And I'm here to tell you that canning pickles and peppers was really quite easy. Much easier than I thought. It just takes a few simple ingredients.

All I did was buy a big old bag of pickling salt (Mrs. Wages to be exact. I have no idea if this is the best, but this is what they had at Meijer so that's what I bought). You can buy seasoning mixes, but I liked the idea of adding my own herbs since the whole point is to have a pickle that's full of fresh ingredients. I also found out that you can use the pickling salt for other things as well.

All of my canning fixin's. Sorry about the cleaner that photo bombed all the tasty goods. I did not use that in the canning process.

To can pickles & banana peppers:

For the pickles you will need:

Cucumbers (I used the little ones because I wanted them to be crunchy)

Garlic

Hot peppers (I just used a mixture of the hot peppers you can buy in the produce section)

Dill

Pickling vinegar (I just used regular vinegar since I couldn't find the pickling stuff and regular ol' white vinegar has the right amount of acidity

Pickling salt

Water

For the peppers you just need water, vinegar, and pickling salt. Per a quick Pinterest search I found that the ingredients for peppers are almost the same -- you just don't add the garlic and the dill (obviously). So to cut back on all of my labor, I just made a pot of the water, vinegar, and pickling salt according to the instructions and adjusting for the smaller batch. Then I used that for both the peppers and the pickles and then processed it all at the same time.

I made a much smaller batch than what the instructions called for since I'm the only one in my house that eats pickles (I live with crazy people apparently). I only made four jars of pickles and two jars of peppers.

Here's exactly what I did to can pickles and peppers:

I prepped the jars according to the instructions to my canner. (It was really just to wash them since they're new.)

I made the water, vinegar, and salt mixture according to directions on pickling salt package. (OK, technically my mom did that and Mr. T helped her figure out the adjustments for all of the measurements. They're way better at math and we don't need to be technical here.)

canning pickles

Then I filled the jars with the peppers and cucumbers. I put a mix of hot peppers and banana peppers in one jar, just banana peppers in another, then put the cucumbers and hot peppers in the rest of the jars. I kept the cucumbers whole for some of the jars and then chopped them into pieces for some. I found it much easier to fit the cucumbers in the jar once they had been chopped. But I really wanted to have some whole mini pickles because those are my fave.

I added the dill and garlic to the jars with the cucumbers. I added more like 3 heads of dill and 3 cloves of garlic to each one because one head of dill just didn't seem enough. I have no idea why I thought this, I just did.

Then I filled each jar with the water, vinegar, and salt mixture and put them in my canner.

I followed the instructions for my canner and processed the jars in a water bath.

I let jars cool. Test to be sure they all sealed.

I tried some of the pickles yesterday and they were amazing. I almost feel like they could have used a tad more dill and maybe even a few more spicy peppers so I might play around with my recipe next time. But they are really tasty and I'm excited to have homemade pickles to eat.