How to can Sweet, Mild, or Hot Chili peppers
If you are canning peppers remember they will not hold their crunch or texture. There is just no way that I know of around the soft results. However they are great for adding to many meals that benefit from the flavor addition even if they don’t keep their crunch.
Caution, wear gloves if you are handling hot peppers.
You may already know this, but it bears repeating. If you are canning peppers that are spicy, wear plastic gloves while handling them. Peppers have oil that burns your skin. It does not wash off well…. and it burns.
If you are working with mild peppers like sweet bell peppers it is not as much of a risk. I don’t often skip the gloves. Once I was canning salsa. I only had a few peppers to chop, so I figured I’d just wash my hands right after working with them. Big mistake. My hands burned all night long. I used lotion, I washed over and over, I soaked my hands in milk and I even rubbed some of my aloe plants all over them. I ended up keeping my hands wrapped in a cold damp rag all evening. The cold rag worked best.
The burning was gone by morning and it didn’t do any damage but it was definitely an uncomfortable evening. Maybe my peppers were especially hot, I don’t know. I still won’t repeat that mistake. I hope you won’t either!
Tips from my inbox: Laurie shares: When I was 8 months pregnant with my first child I decided to do the nice thing and freeze the abundance of hot peppers produced from my father-in-law’s garden. Soon after my fingers started to burn. We tried everything and couldn’t get it to subside. Five hours later my husband took me to the hospital and the doctor told us to use vinegar. It neutralizes the acid and stops the burning.
- pressure canner
- canning jars
- canning seals and rings
- jar lifter and canning funnel
- large pot or blancher
- large spoons
- sharp knife
- towels and dish cloths
- plastic gloves
- cookie sheet to blister peppers blancher or pot to blanch peppers.
- Peppers – 9 pounds will allow you to can peppers in 9 pints.
- Canning Salt – optional
You can leave the peppers whole, or if you have larger peppers, you can quarter or halve them.
Remove cores and seeds. I do this by cutting off the top and then pulling out the centers with my hands (don’t forget the gloves). Hot pepper seeds hold a lot of heat. If you really like hot, experiment and can a few with the seeds. Remember though, tastes will become stronger as they are canned.
The next step is to remove the skins. Cut 3-4 slits just through the skin of each pepper. Place peppers on a cookie sheet and roast in a hot oven (400 degrees F) or under the broiler for 6-8 minutes, turning to roast all sides. When you see the skins blister, they are done. Place peppers in a pan and cover with a damp cloth to cool. This keeps them moist and easier to peel.
When cool enough to handle, peel each pepper. Flatten whole peppers by cutting down one side and open up the pepper. You may also chop peppers or cut into rings.
Add ½ teaspoon of salt to each pint jar, if desired. Fill jars loosely with peppers and add boiling water, leaving 1-inch head space.
Wipe the rims clean, remove any air bubbles and place your lids.
Process according to pressure canning instructions.
Process pints or 1/2 pints 35 minutes. Quarts are not recommended.
Be sure to adjust the pressure in your canner according to your altitude. For more information see this altitude adjustments page.
Quick Printable Recipe…
but don’t forget the tips and hints included on this page!
- Sweet or hot chili peppers
- Canning salt optional
- Start by preparing your jars and getting water in the canner heating. You want the canner hot, but not boiling, when the jars are ready to be processed. If you are new to using a pressure canner, see this article for full pressure canning instructions. This includes more detailed information and step-by-step instructions on how a pressure canner works.
Hot pack only
- Prepare peppers, removing skins by using the roasted method.
- Add 1/2 tsp. canning salt to each jar.
- Fill jar with peppers. Do not press down tightly.
- Add boiling water, leaving 1” headspace.
- Remove bubbles. Wipe the rim clean and place on your seal and ring. Place the jar in the warm canner. Proceed to fill all jars.
- Process in a pressure canner according to the instructions below.
Adapted from: The National Center for Home Food Preservation
How to Use Plain Home Canned Peppers
Do you use spicy peppers as an ingredient in many meals? Start canning peppers in pints or 1/2 pints and have a ready supply on hand.
- Casseroles often use peppers for a bit of spice.
- Add peppers to an omelet in the morning
- Add to a chicken enchilada bake.
- Pour over a roast in the crockpot.
Do you need to use a pressure canner?
I’m seeing questions regarding pressure canning VS water bath canning peppers. As spicy as some peppers get, they are still all low acid foods. Spice and heat does not mean acidic. As a low acid food they must be processed in a pressure canner. Botulism is a risk and pressure canning is the only safe option. If you are not familiar with how to use a pressure canner this pressure canning page has more detailed information and step by step instructions.
Pickled peppers for the water bath.
If you are pickling peppers then you can use a water bath because you’ve added acid when you add vinegar to your recipe. Some recipes for pickled peppers can be found at the end of this page so scroll on down.