This year I decided to pull out the pressure canner. I personally like the way that canning preserves the flavor. Habanero pepper canning is a fairly simple process. Keep in mind that peppers need a pressure canner. A water bath doesn’t get hot enough to safely can the habaneros for storage. However, you could pickle them, then process in a hot water bath and be safe.
Freezing is another option and it’s the easiest method on this list. You simply put the peppers in a freezer bag, remove the air, then toss them in the freezer. Removing the air can be done by sticking a straw in the freezer bag and sucking the air out as you seal the bag.
There are a couple reasons why I prefer the canning method. The first is because canning preserves the natural flavors very well. Most importantly, however, is the liquid that’s in the jar after canning. Spicy water that tastes like habaneros to use in soups, stews, sauces, stir-fries, and salad dressings… that is liquid gold!
To can your habanero harvest follow these easy steps:
- Select quality peppers. 1 pint will fill with about 1 pound of peppers.
- Wash, remove stems, then cut your peppers (use gloves). Remove skin and seeds if you prefer. I’ve tried canning habaneros where I put them in the jar whole and cut a slit in the side of the pepper, but the shrinkage that happens leaves a large gap between the liquid and the lid so you should at least cut them in half to avoid this. If you really want them whole, then boil them for a few minutes before filling your jars. Doing this could make them overly-mushy so that’s why I recommend just cutting them in half.
- Fill your jars with the peppers. Adding a half teaspoon of salt is optional.
- Pour boiling water in each of the jars, leaving 1″ headspace to allow for expansion while they’re heating.
- Process in your pressure canner at 11lbs for 35 minutes.
- Remove and let sit at room temperature overnight.
- Store all of the jars with sealed lids in a cool, dry place that doesn’t get direct sunlight. You can reprocess any jars that aren’t sealed or just put them in your fridge and consume those first. Just like heating them before canning could make them too mushy, reprocessing also might lead to mushiness.
Habanero Pepper Canning is a straightforward process that does a great job with preserving the flavor of your habaneros. Use in recipes throughout the year, make some hot sauce or salsa, and get creative with your liquid gold 🙂 Enjoy!