Vacuume Pickling Recipe
(this I found on a forums - not my recipe)
Pepperoncini, or robustini peppers. When eaten raw, they have very little heat. Typically found in salad bars and are sold in jars in most supermarkets. I grow them here and have both strains, with the latter being a bit larger in diameter and a shorter length. I use only white vinegar and pickling salt as a brine. Because they don't hold up very well to a long heat process, I used a vacuum process instead. First, they are trimmed of the long stems, then are pierced with a skewer in two places. Placed in a large air tight vessle with a hot vinegar salt brine and are put under a vacuum. The vacuum makes the hot vinegar start to boil as well as forcing out the air and pushing in the brine. This vacuum remains on them for about 10-15 minutes. The container is vented and opened and drained of the leftover brine. Jars are carefully packed with the peppers and are not firmly packed inside like a cuke would be. The brine is brought to a boil and each jar is filled half full with the brine. I use a Foodsaver adaptor cover that attaches directly on the tops of Ball canning jars (either regular or large mouth). This helps to pull out any more air and pushes in the brine. The jars are filled nearly to the top with more brine and then a vacuum is drawn on them again. Remove the vacuum cap and place a regular domed lid on the jars. The Foodsaver cap is placed back on the jar and another vacuum is pulled on each. Once the vacuum is released, the lid is forced onto the jars and its dome is concave, with a vacuum that has been created. This vacuum process does NOT use a Foodsaver appliance, instead, I have adapted a regular vacuum pump to do the job and it has some traps at the inlet that help to keep any liquids from entering the pump. Since starting this process back in June, I have been able to make many jars of these enjoyable peppers and none have become as soft as if I used the regular canning methods. Even though Foodsaver does not recommend their appliance for vacuum processing foods, I do find that if I use a stronger vacuum pump, that the process has been very reliable. I have also been doing this with sweet cherry peppers. If I were to can these in the normal manner, not only are the contents very mushy, but the liquid level inside the jars is dropped down well below the required amount due to the contents absorbing the brine more slowly. For my sweet cherry peppers, I try to use wrll ripened red cherry peppers, and the sweetness comes from adding some Splenda to the brine. I don't add any spices or garlic to the jars.
I do not use any water in my recipe, only white distallied vinegar and salt. Its as safe as it can be with all that acid. In fact, the vacuum process will fill each pepper with the same vinegar brine, and you can't get that from any home processing technique, no matter how long they are processed. If I were ot can using a regular heat process, even with calcium chloride Pickle Crisp, I would still get a totally mushy pepper. With my new method, they still see heat of boiling brine, and then a qhile removal of air. What this does is makes the brine actually boil again due to the lower atmospheric pressure. I filled a quart jar with just boiling brine, and pulled a vacuum on it with just a lid. It sat there for nearly 10 minutes and was bubbling continously until it cooled down some. Something kind of like a reverse pressure cooker would do.
I am now picking many of my pepperoncini peppers. They are just starting to come in. I pickle them in a vinegar salt brine and because they are so delicate and thin skinned, I use a vacuum process instead of a heat process. Heating these in the brine will make them turn to mush in just a few minutes. Mine turn out crisp and last for nearly a year before they go soft. I plan to also add a bit of the calcium chloride to help keep them crisp. Without the vinegar pickling, they have a very mild heat.
Sorry, they will turn out mushy with most any 'common' home canning process. All the home canning processes involve heat, and if heat is exposed to these thin fleshed peppers, they will quickly turn to mush. I cannot even begin to explain in detail about how I can them, as it would require a special vacuum pump, special adaptors to fit the canning jars with the lids in place, and a way to keep the liquids from getting sucked into the pump. Not to mention a vacuum tight container suitable for holding the peppers while they get exposed to straight vinegar and salt brines in large quantities. Suffice to say, just chop them up and make a relish out of them, freeze them, or if they have enough meat left, you can roast them to remove the skins. I sucessfully can many quarts of the pepperoncini peppers, and have a process that is not easily duplicated by the home canner.. Sorry. I went through about 30 gallons of vinegar this year canning mine
Pickled Robustini (Pepperoncini) Peppers
This recipe requires no special equipment and the peppers have a texture and taste identical to the type found on salad bars. The vinegar-to-water ratio is high so they should be safe processed in a boiling water bath.
Peppers (pods, medium) 60
Vinegar (cups) 6
Water (cups) 1.5
Sugar (tbsp) 1.5
Pickling Salt (tsp) 3
Pickle Crisp (tsp) 4.5
1. Sterilize jars and lid rings by washing, drying and placing in oven at 250° F for 10 minutes.
2. Prepare flat lids by simmering in hot water for about 10 minutes to soften.
3. Combine vinegar, water, sugar, and salt in saucepan and heat to simmer.
4. Prepare peppers to absorb liquid by cutting slash completely thru pods.
5. Place peppers in simmering liquid and press down to fill them with juice.
6. After peppers become slightly limp, remove from liquid and place in jars.
7. Add 3/4 teaspoon Ball Pickle Crisp to top of each jar.
8. Fill jars with the liquid mix to within 1/2 inch of top.
9. Use plastic spatula to remove air bubbles and install lids and rings on jars.
10. Process in boiling water bath for 15 minutes.
11. Remove, let cool and store.
Note: Let peppers age for at least one week before serving.
When pickling peppers for non-refrigerator storage, you really should sterilize the contents by using a high vinegar content and processing in a boiling water bath. Pulling a vacuum does not raise the temperature of the contents. Water can be made to boil at room temperature as any air conditioning technician with a high-vacuum pump knows, and botulism grows fine in an oxygen free environment. Using pickle crisp and processing Robustini peppers in a BWB does not turn them to mush. I made several jars in two or more batches last season (2007) and am still having crisp peppers.
Here's a link to expert advice on vacuum packing foods: http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/publications/uga/vacuum_packaging.html
Trust me, with 200 jars of mush, they do go soft. The pepperoncini are light green color and very thin as to their skins. Any heat, even if the peppers are packed in a jar and boiling liquid is poured over them, will quickly soften them. The ones in stores are definately crisper. I do NOT use any water, I use straight 5% distilled vinegar and no sugar added, only salt. The vacuum helps to fill each and every pepper with the pickling brine. Unless these were chopped or cut in halves, there is no way they can get filled with brine by just placing in a hot or boiling brine and pressing down on them, and hoping they pull the brine inside. Becuase my vacuum pump is MUCH more powerful compared to a whimpy FS machine version, I have been able to can these quite safely and without any need for heat, except on the lids just before they get their capping. To each his own. All I know is that it works for me and after a year of storage they do start to get mushy. I suppose I could use Picle Crisp, but my firt batch of almost 100 jars were made without it. I grew about 100 of these pepper plants and picked bushels of them every few days, cranking out about 10-12 quarts or 20 pints per batch. With full strength vinegar and nothing else added but salt, I have no concern about their safety, and no one can change my way of doing these.
No such method avalable for home use. I admit its a daunting task, but after finding what I neded on the internet, I have been very happy with the results for over 3 years now. Its as if the were coming out of a store bought jar. Also, because I do not dilute the 5% vinegar they have, its a safe process as no air is left, and everything is 'maserated' with vinegar and salt acid. The pump is small, but efficient and if you have basic mechanical knowledge, and plumbing, and the need to learn, it can come easily. The Food Saver jar adapter is the key too, as its proven its value for pulling the final vacuums to each jar. I also use their big gallon plus round canisters for the initial penetration of the brine My 2 year old dried weed (done the same way) was so vacuum tight, it took a few minutes to get the Ball lid to break the vacuum. Almost had to use a church key! Recently I 'boiled' water that had a temp only at about 180 degrees. Once in vacuum it went nuts. For this pump, I use a small, dual piston diaphram pump, and they are connected in in tandem. Added a small vacuum gauge to the input and the moisture trap (threaded onto fittings), and that helps to keep the brines out of the pump. The pump type is important, no oil based, no vane based, or any other type will work as well. Its just for pulling air out, kind of like a big powerful vacuum cleaner, except a much smaller volume and size. Sometimes these pumps are used in refrigeration, but because they are slower and smaller volumes, a vane with oil pump is usually used for AC stuff, where oil is a help.
BTW, got some of the parts on eBay, where else! If I recall, the banana peppers are long, thin, and yellow, and sliced into small rings?
A 50% vinegar and water ratio is far too low!! for any kid of pickle. Yes, it MUST e kep under refrigeration at all times. Very dangerous to can! I use full strength white, distilled vinegar and pickling salt in most of minr as its far safer in the long run.
For the final vacuum, its done with the Food Saver canning jar adapter device I linked to. This device has the vacuum hose fitting on top, a big soft rubber O ring that seals the adapter against the jars' glass bead (just below threads) on the outside of canning jars. There is an a open space inside, to accomodate the canning lid. FS makes two sizes, of these canning jar adapters, regular mouth and wide wouth. Because any air pumped out inside pushes up on the 'trapped' canning lid, it will allow any residual air to be pumped out. If I pull the vacuum hose fitting thats attached to the top of the adapter, it will suddenly pull in air. That initial 'slug' of air will immediatly push down on the lid forcing a seal. They are so tightly sealed, I have to use a blunt ended 'church key' to pop off the lid which is really stuck on the jars. ABSOLUTELY NO HEAT IS USED IN ANY PART OF MY VACUUM PROCESS.
I use a dual rubber diaphram pump, and a moisture trap to prevent ny brine from getting into the pump. The FOod saver containers I prefer to use are the large round, smoked plastic containers that have a knob on shut off the vacuum. I keep my dried dill weed in a quart jar as well as sage, basil, and any other herb I want to keep longer. In the fridge, I also have grated parm cheese and its never molded yet.
ksrogers' method of canning sport peppers & pepperochinis works great. My last year peppers are still as crisp as ever. I would like to know more about his specific vacuum canning system. I build a system, used it last year, but now, the little refrigerator compressor won't go lower than 10"Hg. What "Hg do you pickle at? Brand, model of your dual diaphram vacuum? I will use my hand vacuum pump, until I learn more. I have a lot of sports and pepperochinis to pickle. Thanks
Mine is a dual piston Thomas pump, with a moisture trap attached to prevent the brines from getting into the pump. I go down to 30 inches, and use a good oil filled vacuum gauge to reduce the fluttering caused by the pistons. I place the peppers in a large FS canister with the salt vinegar brine to initally pull the brine into the peppers. I pierce each pepper twice with a skewer beforehand. The pumping in the large canister takes about 10-20 minutes as it pulls air out of them. I do the pump and vent a coulple of times and once vented the vacuum pulls the brine into the peppers. I look for no signs of bubbles. Then the peppers are packed in canning jars and fresh vinegar salt brine is used, and filled about 2/3 way. After a minute and no bubbling, I add a bit more of teh fresh brine and pump on the jars again using the FS adapter. Then, they get their final fill to the top and a lid is placed on there, with the FS attachment and teh final vacuum is pulled. This time some of the brine starts to get pulled put of the jars, but not enough to lower the head space very much. I add a little of my 20% vinegar to mu final brine now, as that helps it to reach a slightly higher acid level. I just put up 11 quarts of them. I was also planning on doing sour pickles that way, but decided to go the reglar route due to the higher density of pickling cukes. Made 4 quarts of sours, with a bit of the 20% strength vinegar added to the regular 5%. Alum and tumeric was also added. I just heard the 'plinks' right out of the canner.