The banana pepper is a relatively sweet variety of pepper known for its slender yellow shape, similar to that of a banana. During summer months in certain climates, banana pepper growth can be prolific, leaving gardeners wondering what to do with the excess. It is important to choose the vegetables carefully and prepare them properly before canning to ensure that they remain safe from harmful bacteria and mold. Pickling is the process of adding spices and acidity when canning banana peppers so that they remain safe for up to six months, though peppers can also be packed in oil before being canned. Canning banana peppers is possible with some tools such as mason jars and lids, a canning bath and safety equipment.
It is important individuals choose fresh peppers for canning banana peppers that do not have dark spots on their skin and do not appear wilted or droopy. The peppers should be washed and either left whole or cut into chunks or strips. For whole peppers, a small slit should be cut to ensure that vinegar gets inside the pepper. Pickling involves a mixture of non-iodized pickling salt, vinegar and spices. Vegetable or olive oil can be added to the mixture when canning banana peppers if a more oily texture is desired in the outcome, but it should not be more than one-fifth of the amount of vinegar.
The mason jars and lids should be placed in a large pan filled with water and heated until boiling for at least ten minutes. This will sterilize the jars before the peppers and liquid are placed inside them. Jars and lids should be removed from the boiling water with tongs and allowed to cool before the peppers are placed into the jars. Pickling liquid, which will go into the jars after the peppers, needs to be boiled and poured over the peppers with a small amount of room left at the top before the lids are screwed on.
When canning banana peppers is done properly, the top of the lid will not make a noise when it is pushed down lightly with a finger. This means that the jars have sealed and as long as nothing was contaminated during the process, the banana peppers should be safe to eat. The jars should be left for four weeks before opening to ensure the best flavor from the liquid inside the jars.