The peppers love the heat. My banana pepper plants are not very big, but they are loaded with fruit. Usually the tomatoes are ahead of the peppers for harvesting, but this year the roles are reversed. It was time to harvest and do something with my abundance of banana peppers.
I harvested a little over 2 lbs of banana peppers. Domino poses with the bounty while keeping an eye out for rabbits and squirrels. It seems the rabbits are getting closer and closer to the garden this year. I haven't noticed any damage inside the garden, yet. Domino isn't the only one looking out for rabbits. The other day J saw a large coyote just beyond the garden! I guess the good thing is that the rabbits have a natural predator; the bad thing is that I worry about Domino having a run-in with a coyote.
As the sun gets higher in the sky and Domino pants more and more, we take our harvest into the kitchen. Here peppers are washed and chopped. I was smart this year and used rubber gloves for handling the peppers. Even though banana peppers are not that spicy, I always manage to touch my eye. The worst was when I put my contacts in after handling banana peppers. The oils transferred to my contact and the burning and tears wouldn't stop, so I had to put the pepper contaminated finger back into my eye to take out the contact. Lesson learned!
Then I cleaned the jars and filled them with a boiling vinegar mixture. The recipe I used came from the So Easy to Preserve book from the University of Georgia. The ingredients, other than peppers, include cider vinegar, canning salt, mustard seed and celery seed. I have now added, "grow mustard for seed" to my list of things to do. I've never grown mustard because I'm not fond of the greens, but I never thought about growing them for seeds. Finally, the filled jars are placed into a steaming water bath.
Out comes preserved banana peppers. Summer heat and sunshine are captured in each jar and can be enjoyed long after the season has passed.
Shared on the Homestead Hop.