Is anyone else wondering why are my canned banana peppers mushy?
There’s nothing worse than spending time trying to perfect the most awesome canned banana peppers, and then they come out all soft and mushy.
Don’t get me wrong, they generally still taste great, but that mushy texture can be so off-putting.
So, how exactly do you avoid mushy canned banana peppers?
Or is this simply how it’s always going to be?
Allow me to reveal all.
Why Are My Canned Banana Peppers Mushy?
There are various reasons why your canned banana peppers are mushy. However, the most obvious of these is that you didn’t use calcium chloride (“pickle crisp”) or pickling lime, which will keep your peppers crisp. Furthermore, if you’ve allowed your peppers to cool before adding them to the water bath, this can cause them to go mushy. Plus, it’s important to remember that canned banana peppers will never be quite as crisp as refrigerated banana peppers.
1. Did You Use Calcium Chloride?
Firstly, it’s important to state that refrigerated banana peppers will always be firmer than canned banana peppers.
And I’ll explain the reasons for this in a moment.
However, this means it makes a great deal of sense to use something to enhance the firmness of your canned banana peppers.
And the best way to achieve this is through the inclusion of calcium chloride, often referred to as “pickle crisp.”
Then again, you can use pickling lime, although calcium chloride is by far the more popular method.
Calcium chloride is actually just a very generic firming agent.
But it has definitely become the go-to when it comes to firming up peppers and pickles of any sort.
In fact, calcium chloride will even help to maintain that perfect crispness while your peppers go through the preserving process.
However, due to its extreme saltiness, you will need to be wary of just how much calcium chloride you add.
It is generally recommended that you add one-eight of a teaspoon per 500ml of liquid.
Therefore, if your canned banana peppers include 1 liter of liquid, then you should add one-quarter of a teaspoon of calcium chloride.
2. Did You Allow Your Banana Peppers to Cool Before the Water Bath?
Okay, what follows is something I learned through experience.
Therefore, this may already be something you know, but I thought I’d share it anyway.
So, in order to properly seal your canned banana peppers, you will need to water bath them for 10-15 minutes.
However, what I used to do after adding the boiling brine to the jar was to allow everything to cool down for around 10 minutes.
In effect, this is almost like cooking the banana peppers twice.
Plus, it’s also likely that your jar wouldn’t have got up to the required temperature in the water bath.
Therefore, even though the jar is sealed, you would call this a “weak seal.”
This also means that it is likely that your jar will contain air and any contaminants in the air.
So, it may also be the case that you’ve allowed bacteria, mold, enzymes, etc., into the jar, which in turn can lead to spoilage.
Therefore, as soon as the boiling brine has been added, you can place your canned banana peppers directly into a water bath.
3. Refrigerated Banana Peppers Will Always Be Crisper
The final thing to consider is that “quick” banana peppers, aka refrigerator peppers, will always be firmer and crunchier than canned banana peppers.
The main reason for this is that refrigerator banana peppers aren’t boiled in the can/jar in order to seal them.
That being said, the process of boiling the jar in order to seal it means that you can typically store your canned banana peppers for up to a year longer than refrigerator peppers.
Obviously, I’m talking about if the pickles are left unopened, although even once opened, the canned variety will still last longer than the refrigerated variety.
You must remember that one of the main roles of the brine in canned banana peppers is for preservation.
However, the brine is much more about flavor in the case of refrigerated banana peppers.
But still, I’ll repeat, the refrigerator variety will always be firmer and crunchier than the canned variety of banana peppers.
So, as you can see, there are a number of reasons why your canned banana peppers are mushy.
Firstly, you should add calcium chloride, or “pickle crisp,” which will help with the firmness of the peppers.
Next, immediately place your jar into a water bath after you have added the boiling brine.
And finally, remember that canned banana peppers will never be quite as firm as refrigerated peppers.
However, the use of pickle crisp and sealing the jar immediately will provide that extra firmness that you love.
If you enjoy preserving fruit etc., for future use, take a look at my article on freezing banana bread batter.