Canning Green Chile

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Because chiles are naturally low in acid, canning them requires special precautions that differ from those followed when canning high-acid fruits. Growth of micro-organisms particularly must be avoided. Some bacteria cause food spoilage, while others produce toxins that cause illness or death. For example, Clostridium botulinum is a harmless bacteria in air. In little or no acid, an air-free canning jar, and temperatures between 40°F and 120°F, this bacteria grows and produces a deadly toxin that can cause serious damage to the central nervous system or death when eaten in even minute amounts.
Pressure processing is the only safe way to can chiles and other non-acid foods. Boiling water produces steam. Steam under pressure raises the temperature much higher than it normally would be without pressure. To prevent botulism, the internal temperature of canned chiles and other non-acid foods must reach 240°F. This guide provides the correct processing times and canner pressures for canning chiles safely in New Mexico.
To prevent the risk of botulism, chiles and other low-acid and tomato foods not canned according to the 1994 USDA recommendations in this guide should be boiled even if no signs of spoilage are detected. Boil food for a full 10 minutes at altitudes below 1,000 feet. Add an additional minute of boiling time for each 1,000 feet of elevation. Boiling destroys botulism toxin. If in doubt, always boil foods before tasting.

Nancy Flores
Mae Martha Johnson
Alice Jane Hendley
New Mexico State University