I searched for a long time to find a way to make shelf-stable pickled jalapenos that remained crunchy after the jars were processed in a boiling water bath. I tried Pickle Crisp and I tried alum, but neither of these worked. So I finally tried a pickling lime soak, and it worked! It takes more time, but it works - the peppers stay crunchy. Follow the soaking instructions regarding the pickling lime carefully; if all the lime is not soaked off the peppers may not be acid enough for safe preservation. Also, DO NOT alter the vinegar to water ratio in the brine. Peppers are low acid to begin with, and the pickling lime soak makes them even more low acid, so you need to make sure you have a sufficiently acid brine for safe shelf-stable preservation. The preparation time includes the time needed to soak the peppers. Wear rubber gloves when working with hot peppers. If you don't you will absentmindedly rub your eyes sometime after you've been working with the peppers & you will be sorry.
- Day 1:.
- Wash the peppers in cold water and slice into 1/4" rings.
- In a very large plastic or stainless steel container, combine the 1 cup of pickling lime and the gallon of water, stirring well to combine. Add the pepper rings, cover the container, and let it sit on the counter. The pickling lime will settle to the bottom of the container - this is normal. Soak the pepper rings in the lime water solution for 12hours. You can soak them for longer if you like, up to 24 hours, but 12 hours will do the trick.
- Day 2:.
- The next day, drain the peppers, cover again with cold water, and soak for one hour. Do this two more times, draining and covering with fresh cold water each time, until you have soaked the peppers in fresh water a total of three times, for an hour each time. This step is important; it removes all of the lime so the peppers will be acid enough to can safely. DO NOT SKIP ANY OF THE SOAKING STEPS. Drain the peppers and set aside.
- Sterilize 6 pint jars by boiling them for 10 minutes.
- Combine the 7 1/2 cups white wine vinegar, 1 3/4 cups water, 3 tablespoons pickling salt, and 3 tablespoons sugar in a large stockpot. Bring to a boil, stirring so that the salt and sugar dissolves. As soon as the salt and sugar are dissolved, reduce the heat to medium and cover.
- Place 1 tablespoon of chopped shallots, 1 garlic clove, 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano, 1 bay leaf, and 3 peppercorns in each sterilized pint jar.
- Pack the peppers on top of the seasonings in the jars, leaving 1 inch headspace.
- Ladle the brine into the jars, covering the peppers and leaving 1/2 inch headspace.
- Using a bubble freer, chopstick, or plastic knife, remove any air bubbles. Add more brine if necessary, headspace should be 1/2 inch.
- Wipe the jar rims and threads with a clean, damp cloth. Cover with hot lids and apply screw rings.
- Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes, then remove and let sit, undisturbed, for at least 12 hours before checking seals. It is important to let them sit undisturbed for 12 hours because the sealing compound on the lids is still cooling and hardening, completing the seal. While the jars cool, you will hear a "plink" type sound from each jar - this is the jars completing the vacuum seal as the final air escapes the jar. After 12 hours have passed, remove the bands and check the lids - press down in the center of the lid. If you cannot push the lid down any further, the jar is sealed. If the lid "gives" a bit, and you can push it down, the jar did not seal. You can either put the band back on the jar, and reprocess it for another 10 minutes, or you can just put it in the fridge and use it within 3 months.