Prepping Peps with my Peeps
Check out the National Center for Home Food Preservation website to learn how to correctly preserve vegetables (starchy and non-starchy), fruits and even soups!
Ever canned vegetables? What about peppers? Well let me tell you about one of the simplest ways I've learned to can peppers. Shoutout to my best friend's mom, Pam Freas, for teaching us her simple tricks to a tasty side dish or salad/sandwich topping! Keep reading for two true preservation methods, and check out the website above for more vegetable canning tips :)
Step 1: Buy about 12-15 pounds of hot banana peppers. Choose your amount based on how many mason jars you would like to can. We used 12 pounds of peppers to fill up 15 cans (or would have been about 13 cans to the rim)
Step 2: Wash the peppers and begin coring the membranes and de-seeding the peppers (the less membrane and seeds you discard the more spice there will be)
Step 3: Slice the peppers lengthwise, and you can choose to chop the peppers or slice the peppers.
Step 4: Place the peppers in strainers with a med-lrg bowl placed underneath to catch the liquid that will drain out
Step 5: Mix in a healthy amount of salt in the strainers to help stimulate drainage overnight or for ~8 hours
Step 6: Drizzle some canola oil over the peppers in each strainer to help the dry ingredients stick Step 7: Sprinkle and mix in a healthy amount of Alum, Oregano and Garlic Powder
Step 8: Fill each mason jar up with peppers and cover all the peppers with canola oil
Step 9: Using your butter knife, mix in the canola oil and make sure to get all of the bubbles out
Step 10: Put the lid on completely, but do not tighten all the way. Will need to come back and fill with more canola oil if needed. After that you can tighten completely and store.
**For best taste keep refrigerated (if plan to use daily), and eat after a couple days of marination
**For more spice, keep more membrane/seeds in the pepper/strainer. If you want to can some milder jars, have a separate strainer with completely de-seeded peppers.
WARNING: Make sure to can these peppers with cleaning gloves or latex gloves and avoid touching your face during the process. Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after canning!
Two Types of Canning Techniques
Select your favorite pepper(s). Small peppers may be left whole. Large peppers may be quartered. Remove cores and seeds. Slash two or four slits in each pepper, and either blanch in boiling water or blister using one of the following methods:
Oven or broiler method: Place peppers in a hot oven (400° F) or broiler for 6-8 minutes until skins blister.
Range-top method: Cover hot burner, either gas or electric, with heavy wire mesh. Place peppers on burner for several minutes until skins blister.
Allow peppers to cool. Place in a pan and cover with a damp cloth. This will make peeling the peppers easier. After several minutes, peel each pepper. Flatten whole peppers. Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt to each pint jar, if desired. Fill jars loosely with peppers and add fresh boiled water, leaving 1-inch headspace.
Adjust lids and process following the recommendations in Table 1 or Table 2 according to the method of canning used.
Be Full. Be Fit. Be Your Own Beautifull Profit.
Do you feel like taking a nap after that heavy pasta meal? Do you feel overly full? Are you having guilt? So why not change the physical feelings we have and try eating a health replacement that resembles it? I truly believe that enjoying foods are as much mental as they are taste. How many of you will not eat cottage cheese because of the texture or consistency or brussles sprouts, because we grew up responding with this answer to the question, "what is your least favorite food," without having any clue what it was or what it tasted like? How many of you will not eat octopus because it is slimy or asparagus because you're scared your pee will smell? The food stereotypes, visuals and knowledge we hold with go hand in hand as far as choosing what we choose to eat; thus, making it harder to stray from what basics, simplicity and pure enjoyment. I challenge you to step out of your comfort zone and prepare a healthy replacement recipe, you may be surprised to how much you enjoy a healthy, homemade meal!
Try Spiralizing Your Veggies Instead
Say hello to veggie noodles, with the one and only Vagetti or Spiralizer. There are multiple different types of Spiralizers out there, so keep reading for pros and cons along with some tasty recipes! Other than that researching kitchenware before you buy is always the best option!
Vagetti Pro (above): This is the spiralizer i currently have. I enjoy that there are three different types of noodles you can make (thick and thin spiral, or ribbons). The downfalls include the set up, take down and clean up being time consuming, and the vagetti having to be locked in place on the counter, because you need two hands to spiralize the vegetables. Price: $25.99
Mini Vagetti (left): Of the two this is my favorite due to it being hard to clean because there are no pieces to take apart, and the blade goes deep into the thin/center part of the gadget. Another downfall is that it actually stops "spiralizing" after the point gets to large on the vegetable, and the machine can no longer reach the skin or vegetable. From here, you must flip the zucchini such as the left picture above & begin again. This tool can cause you to lose much more surface area of the zucchini. Price: $4.99-8.99
Electric Spiralizer (Right): I have never used this before, but I assume it gets the most bang for your buck, allowing the entire vegetable to be spiralized, as well as is being the easiest as far as set up, clean up and take down (again, just an assumption). Does anyone have an electric spiralizer? Please comment below if you do. I would love to hear where you got it, prices, and the durability/success of it!
Price: $69.95 (but different brands run from $25.99 and up)
Zoodles (zucchini noodles): Making zoodles is fairly simple, it's the cooking process that makes it difficult. Of all the vegetables I have cooked, I would say zucchini's are the most water-dense. This means they need a lot less time to cook due to the excess water and softness of the vegetable.
Tip 1: Cook for about 4 minutes on medium heat with the lid off. If you keep the lid on, the excess water will accumulate; thus, loosing more taste and nutrients.
Tip 2: The flavor is lost more easily, due to the excess water levels. I would suggest using a marinara sauce with some extra spices and herbs to help enhance the flavor, because pesto seems to get lost.
Sweet potato & Butternut squash noodles: If you are looking to sweeten those tastebuds during your meal, try sweet potato or butternut squash instead. These noodles are starchier and have less water in them, thus needing a little longer to cook than zoodles. Check out my veggie cooking techniques below!
Tip 1: I will usually cook these with the lid on for about 3 minutes on medium heat, then take the lid off and add liquids/herbs and cook for another 3-4 minutes until they are soft with a slight crunch.
Tip 2: Need a side dish? These two noodles are great with sautéed mushrooms and pesto sauce. Need an entree? Add turkey meat and some healthy, homemade cashew sauce to the mix for the real deal.
Cooked Beet Recipe (click picture below for recipe):
So, which is the healthier?
This table shows the nutritional differences between Spaghetti and zucchini. This is where nutrition gets a little crazy. Personally, I would recommend using the grain pasta as a side dish, because it is high in calories and carbs, but still allows you to get protein, fiber and a plethora of B-vitamins. If you are wanting to make a "pasta entree," I would suggest using the zoodles, or better yet the sweet potato or butternut squash (for extra nutrients). This way if you overindulge, it's not going to leave you feeling guilty and full of carbs, but instead full of extra vitamins and minerals! Using a vegetable for the entree pasta also allows you to add more protein without exceeding your estimated needs from the hidden protein in the pasta.
Be full. Be fit. Be your own beautifull profit.