As promised, here I am to tell you everything you need to know about how to can via the Water Bath method. But before we get started, allow me to just say first of all that NOT everything can be canned in a water bath- Meats, low acid fruits and veggies, soups, etc all need to be canned in a pressure canner. But that doesn’t mean that a water bath isn’t a terrific place to start our canning journey! The gear is inexpensive and easy to find, and recipes abound.
One fantastic resource for recipes and safety tips is the Ball Canning website.
To water bath can, all you need is a large pot to boil water in that’s tall enough to safely hold enough water to cover the jars, some jars, and whatever the food you choose to can may be. Two of my favorites, that happen to be fantastic for holiday gift giving are Cowboy Candy (candied jalapenos in a sweet hot sauce) and Apple Butter.
The method is easy! Just fill your water bath about half way with water and take the lids off your jars. Put the jars in the water and bring it to a gentle boil. Meanwhile, prepare your recipe. Once your recipe is complete, dump the water from your jars one at a time, fill to the appropriate level, wipe the tops, place a lid and ring, tighten and return to the water. Repeat until you’re out of your recipe, and then let your filled jars boil in the water for the prescribed period of time. That’s it!!! See, I told you it would be easy! Now lets get started:
- 3 pounds Firm, Fresh Jalapeno Peppers, Washed
- 2 cups Cider Vinegar
- 6 cups White Granulated Sugar
- ½ teaspoons Turmeric
- ½ teaspoons Celery Seed
- 3 teaspoons Granulated Garlic
- 1 teaspoon Ground Cayenne Pepper
Wearing gloves, remove the stems from all of the jalapeno peppers. The easiest way to do this is to slice a small disc off of the stem-end along with the stem. Discard the stems.
Slice the peppers into uniform 1/8-1/4 inch rounds. Set aside.
In a large pot, bring cider vinegar, white sugar, turmeric, celery seed, granulated garlic and cayenne pepper to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the pepper slices and simmer for exactly 4 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the peppers, loading into clean, sterile canning jars to within 1/4 inch of the upper rim of the jar. Turn heat up under the pot with the syrup and bring to a full rolling boil. Boil hard for 6 minutes.
Use a ladle to pour the boiling syrup into the jars over the jalapeno slices. Insert a cooking chopstick to the bottom of the jar two or three times to release any trapped pockets of air. Adjust the level of the syrup if necessary. Wipe the rims of the jars with a clean, damp paper towel and fix on new, two-piece lids to finger-tip tightness.
If you do not want to can these to the point of shelf stable, you can simply put the jars in your refrigerator and store them there. I prefer to keep the fridge space free so I can them. If you wish to can them, follow the instructions below.
Note: If you have leftover syrup, and it is likely that you will, you may can it in half-pint or pint jars, too. It’s wonderful brushed on meat on the grill or added to potato salad or, or, or … in short, don’t toss it out!
To can, place jars in a canner and cover with water by 2-inches. Bring the water to a full rolling boil. When it reaches a full rolling boil, set the timer for 10 minutes for half-pints or 15 minutes for pints. When your timer goes off, use canning tongs to transfer the jars to a cooling rack. Leave them to cool, undisturbed, for 24 hours. When fully cooled, wipe them with a clean, damp washcloth, then label.
Allow to mellow for at least two weeks, but preferably a month before eating. Or don’t. I won’t tell!
We love to serve these dumped over a block of cream cheese with crackers! Or they are good in potato salad, as a marinade for meat, my friend’s husband just eats them by themselves!! I’m certain you’ll find a lot of ways to enjoy them, and they make GREAT gifts for the holidays.
Another favorite for a lot of people is Apple Butter. It’s so good I have been known to just sit down with a jar and a spoon! But the good news is that it’s easy too! Simply grab an assortment of your favorite apples.
You’ll need about 3 lbs. Cut into quarters, remove the stems and cores, cut into smaller pieces and toss into a large pot or crock pot. Add a healthy glug of apple juice or cider to get the process rolling, and about 1/4 tsp allspice and 1/2 cup sugar or maple syrup. Let them cook til they are soft, and run through a food mill or use a potato masher to smash them up. Return to crock pot and let cook on low until a dark, rich brown color is achieved. This step can also be accomplished on the stove, but be careful the sugar doesn’t burn.
Yum! Apple Butter!
Once your apple butter is your desired degree of dark and delicious, get your water bath hot and pour the apple butter into hot jars. Wipe the rims, place lids, and place in water bath canner for about 15 minutes for pints. Remove and place on a towel to cool, out of direct drafts. Once they are cool, wipe the jars, label them and enjoy!!!
I hope this has been a good introduction for you into the ease of canning. I also hope that you are able to get comfortable enough with it that you’re ready to take the next step!
Happy Canning y’all!