Did I posion anyone?

Asked September 21, 2015, 4:36 PM EDT

help! I canned some jalapenos from our garden, I rinsed them off, sliced them up, sanitized the lids and jars of course, put the slices in the jar with 1 small clove of garlic and 1 red chili pepper. then I poured vinegar in 2/3 full then 1/3 purified water and some pickling salt. then i secured the lids then boiled in canning pot for 15 minutes, and then took them out and let them be on the counter til all the lids popped. what did I do wrong? Im worried about botulism...or did I do it correctly?

Rosebud County Montana

1 Response

According to the USDA recommended resource "So Easy to Preserve" published by Cooperative Extension at the University of Georgia (page 141), "for approximately each pound of jalapeno peppers you should use 1 cup of vinegar (5% acidity level), 1/4 cup water, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon mixed pickling spices. Wash peppers and pack tightly into hot jars, leaving 1/2" head-space. Combine vinegar, water, salt, and spices. Heat to boiling. Pour boiling hot liquid over peppers to 1/2 inch from jar top. Remove air bubbles. Clean jar rims. Adjust lids. Process 10 minutes at sea level in a boiling water bath, 15 minutes at altitudes 1,001 to 6,000 feet and 20 minutes for altitudes over 6,000 feet."

When adding additional ingredients not listed in a tested recipe the acidity level of the product will be affected. Low acid foods must be processed in a pressure canner to reach an internal temperature necessary to kill microbes. Adding acidity, or pickling low acid products, such as peppers, raises the acidity level to where hot water bath processing can be recommended in tested recipes which follow ingredients. Adding ingredients to the product is not recommended.

As you can see in the tested recipe, the level of vinegar and water is specified. It is not safe or recommended to vary the vinegar levels. In the tested recipe the liquid was also heated to boiling before adding to the jars.

To process food safely, please follow USDA guidelines and use tested recipes. "So Easy to Preserve" contains many wonderful tested recipes. Also contact your county Extension Office for more information about food preservation.