The one store bought grocery item that can always be found in my pantry is roasted red peppers. I absolutely love them. I love them in quesadillas, pizza, omelettes, frittata, risotto, you name it. So this year I thought, "okay that's another staple that I'm going to eliminate my dependency on the grocery store for and do it myself"! Roasting them is super easy, and canning them is as well. All you need is a pressure cooker.
Because my peppers from my garden seem to be struggling to ripen, I decided I didn't want to risk not being able to can any by waiting. So I hit up the farmer's market in the next town and purchased 11.5 pounds of various colored peppers and got the party started.
Let me start by saying I am a roasted pepper purist, I like mine canned in straight water with no vinegar, garlic, or any other kind of flavoring/preservative. With a pressure canner you can preserve them safely in straight water without issue which is why I go that route.
First you want to prep your peppers for the roasting process. You want to give them a quick wash, cut out the core, and remove the ribs and seeds. You can do this after they've been roasted, but I prefer to do it before because I think it's easier to work with. Also, if there are any bad spots make sure you cut those out as well. Then you can either cut them in half, quarter them, or even leave them whole to roast them. I leave mine whole because I feel like they're easier to turn and work with that way.
To roast them, you can do it a variety of ways. You can do it on a grill, on a gas stove burner (which would take forever if you're doing a lot), or if you have an electric stove you can do it under the broiler. Just make sure you put the rack right under the broiler to get them close as possible if you go this route. The key to the flavor of these peppers is letting them get black. And I mean, uncomfortably, you think you ruined them black. The skin is coming off anyways, but you want them as blistered and as charred as you can get them to let that roasted flavor permeate through to the flesh. Rotate them (if you left them whole) to make sure you get all of the skin good and blackened.
Once you have the peppers good and charred, throw them all into a bowl and cover it with plastic wrap, or throw them in a paper bag and close it up. Do not put them in a plastic bag. Unless you want melted plastic on your peppers! Once your peppers are sealed let them be. Go feed the chickens or do something to distract yourself for twenty minutes or so. The peppers need this time to steam, which will loosen the skin and begin to pull away from the flesh of the peppers.
After twenty minutes or so (I waited forty!) , test a pepper to see how easily the skin peels off. If you're fighting it throw it back in and cover it up and give it more time. When they are ready, using your hands and a paring knife, pull and scrape the blackened skin away from the flesh of the pepper and throw them into a bowl. It is messy, but do not rinse the peppers with water! You would wash away flavor and juices, and if there is some skin that got stuck to it it isn't the end of the world.
Once you have all of your peppers prepped, either cut them into slices, quarters, or whatever style/size you prefer. I don't like to commit, so I leave them in quarters that way later on when I crack open a jar I can slice them, dice them, or leave them in big chunks if I want. It's a matter of personal preference.
Remove the air bubbles with a knife, and make sure you press down on the peppers (especially if you leave them in big chunks) to remove any air that may be trapped in between them. Adjust headspace with boiling water if necessary. Because I leave mine in such big pieces, I actually go through the air bubble removal process twice just to be sure I got them all.
Once you have your jars filled, wipe the rim, add your hot lid and ring turned to hand tightness. Throw them into your pressure canner for 35 minutes (pints and half pints) at 10 pounds of pressure. And just like that you have homemade roasted peppers to enjoy all winter long!
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