Canning with peppers

3
10
Joined Jun 9, 2010
I can a lot of salsas and I'm having a problem with the hot peppers losing their heat during the hot-water bath process. Does anyone have any tips to prevent this? Are certain peppers less apt to lose their heat than others? My cranberry salsa is especially prone to losing it's heat and I think it's because it contains sugar - but it happens to all the salsas - even the ones without sugar.

Any help/hints would be appreciated.

Thanks, Pepperhead
 
1,447
47
Joined Apr 3, 2008
I have no science to base this on, maybe cause I haven't looked..BUT... sugar kills heat in my experience..especially with Thai food. ..palm sugar goes a long way.  I only make fresh salsas or pico de gallos and don't do much canning.  I know most of the heat is retained in the seeds and not the pepper skin. Are you keeping seeds when you can? removing them before roasting may help too.. if you do roasting. 
 
25
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Joined May 3, 2010
I usually bump up the pepper scale a bit, for starters.  Jalapenos by themselves don't give much heat.  I like a combination of anaheims (for flavor), jalapenos, habaneros, and scotch bonnets.  Use your imagination.  (Of course, take protection with the nastier peppers!) 

My second course of action is adding a mixture of ground spices: cayenne, etc.  Ground cumin can also enhance a heat flavor. 

Finally, your choice of vinegar can have an effect.  I prefer cider vinegar for a lively acid bump.  Or, if you've got time, make a special bottle of vinegar just for canning salsa.  Warm a pot of cider vinegar and then add a selection of chopped hot peppers.  When the pot is room temp, stick it in the fridge for a few days.  Strain the peppers; substitute regular vinegar for your special brand of hot vinegar when you cook or can.

Have a good time.  The tomatoes are HUGE this year with all the rain and humidity!  I'm the worst farmer in the world, and even I've got a bumper crop!
 
6,367
128
Joined Feb 1, 2007
I know most of the heat is retained in the seeds

A common but erroneous belief among cooks, Gunnar.

There is no heat in the seeds at all. 90% of the capsaicin is contained in small sacs lining the placenta of the pepper. In common language, that's the ribs. People think the seeds contain the heat because when they scrape them some of the capsaicin leaks onto them.

The fact is, however, that you can remove just the seeds and not effect the amount of heat at all.
 
1,447
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Joined Apr 3, 2008
so they just soak up capsaicin when the ribs are cut or the peppers are dried? little sponges of heat then. good to know.
 
6,367
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Joined Feb 1, 2007
No, Gunnar, they don't soak it up. It just coats the surfaces.

I get rid of the seeds, most times, because I don't like getting them caught between my teeth. To control heat, I trim more or less of the ribs away. A lot depends on which variety I'm using, and to what end.

Sometimes I use the pepper as a flavoring agent but not as an ingredient in the dish. For instance, I might put three or four slits in a habanero, cook the dish, then remove and discard the pepper. It's flavor will have infused the dish, but you don't get any sudden heat explosions by biting into it.
 

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