Pickled Jalapeno Peppers + A Canning & Preserving for Beginners Giveaway!

'Tis the season for garden abundance.. and canning!

Here in Minnesota, we know all too well how quickly the garden harvest comes and goes, and so when it comes in heaping bowls, we definitely want to put up the surplus to enjoy during the cold, dark months ahead--but canning can be intimidating when you’re new to it.  It seems that there are a lot of rules and steps to follow and remember, and that it requires a large amount of time, produce, and specialized equipment - and then there’s that all-important safety thing that (rightly so) strikes a healthy fear in canning newbies.  Yes, canning requires discipline in following safe canning procedures, but when it comes down to it, canning is not really as complicated or difficult as you might think.

Like any new endeavor, the key to taking the intimidation out of canning is to simply get comfortable with the process.  A few weeks ago I was contacted by the people at Rockridge Press to take a look at a book specifically for beginning and wannabe canners. Canning & Preserving for Beginners: The Essential Canning Recipes & Canning Supplies Guide is just this kind of resource, filled with clear and easy to follow information and tried and tested recipes that will put your canning nerves at ease.  
Image provided by Rockridge Press/Callisto Media
 Here are a few reasons this book is perfect for beginners:

Clear and easy to follow instructions for safe canning procedures: The book covers the basics for a variety of canning projects (pickles, jams & jellies, salsas & sauces, and more) for both water bath (for high-acid foods) and pressure canner (for low-acid foods) methods. The instructions are clear, concise, and easy to follow when you are mid-project and need to double check the next step. There are also helpful charts and a glossary of terms.  

A good collection of classic recipes:  Whether your interest in canning is sparked by an overabundance of cucumbers or a love for salsa, there's a recipe that's classic and uncomplicated in this collection.  While fancy pickles and jams made with unexpected flavor components are good, sometimes you just want a really good classic pickle to get your canning feet wet (or satisfy a craving!).  Both new and experienced canners will appreciate having these classic recipes in one handy location.  

The recipes are reasonably-sized for beginners:  None of the recipes require astronomical quantities of produce, which makes them all within reach of any home gardener or farmer's market go-er.  These recipes won't leave you tied you to your kitchen for hours on end, and they won't leave you wondering how your family of two that likes pickles, but eats them sparingly, will ever use up 20 quarts of pickles over the winter months.
I recently found myself with an abundance of jalapeno peppers, and so I selected this recipe for pickled jalapeno peppers for a test drive.  The recipe was detailed and easy to follow, and produced a beautiful batch of jalapeno slices that will happily adorn burgers and nachos this winter.
An excerpt from Canning & Preserving for Beginners: The Essential Canning Recipes & Canning Supplies Guide:

Pickled Jalapeno Peppers
2 quarts jalapeno peppers
2 cups white vinegar
2 cups water
1 teaspoon pickling salt
4 pint jars, lids, and bands

  1. Remove the stems, cores, and some or all of the seeds from the peppers, and then slice into 1/2-inch rings.  If you prefer to leave the peppers whole, cut a small slit into each of two sides of the peppers to keep them from exploding during processing. 
  2. Fill the canner with enough water to cover the jars.  Boil the water, reduce the heat to low, place the jars in the water, and simmer until ready to use.  
  3. Combine the white vinegar and water and heat to just a simmer.  
  4. Pack the peppers tightly into the jars, and pour the hot liquid over the peppers, leaving 1/2-inch of headspace.  Add 1/4 teaspoon of salt to each jar.  
  5. Remove air bubbles, wipe the rims, center the lids, and screw on the bands and adjust until they are fintertip tight. 
  6. Place the jars in the canner and bring to a boil.  Maker sure there is at least 1 inch of water covering the jars. 
  7. Process for 15 minutes, adjusting for altitude.  Remove the jars from the canner and cool.

If you like what you see, you're in luck!  Rockridge Press has made a copy of Canning & Preserving for Beginners available as a giveaway for a lucky reader!  

Image provided by Rockridge Press/Callisto Media
To enter the giveaway, simply comment on this post and include your favorite canning creation, whether it be pickles or jam, or salsa, or peaches...  (one entry per person).

For a bonus entry, click over and "like" Sweet Domesticity on Facebook, and then leave an additional comment on this post (must be separate from your first comment) letting me know that you've done so (Already liked the page? What are you waiting for - leave a second comment!). 

The giveaway will run through Sunday, September 15, 2013 at 11:59 p.m. and is open to U.S. residents only.  One winner will be selected at random and announced on the blog on Monday, September 16.  I'll contact the winner at that time to obtain the necessary information and Rockridge Press will ship the book directly to the winner of the giveaway.

Full disclosure: Rockridge Press provided a copy of Canning and Preserving for Beginners for review.  All opinions are my own.

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