Archive for the ‘Canning’ Category

Pumpkin Pickles

I just couldn’t resist making this. I do love to Can…and experiment.  Once I got started I realized that the recipe was similar to Pickled Peaches.  This was somewhat easy to make; the slightly hard part was cutting the pumpkin. 

Suggest you cube it and then slice off peeling.  I’ve not opened a jar and tasted this yet.  I always like to let things made with vinegar and spices sit for a few weeks before I open them.  I do look forward to trying this before all the pumpkins disappear from the stores incase I want more.

Adapted from: The complete book of Small-Batch Preserving by Elle Tapp and Margaret Howard, 2009

Pumpkin Pickles
3 pints

1/2  large pumpkin
2 c. sugar
2 c.  cider vinegar
8 whole cloves
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 pieces candied or crystalized ginger

Remove seeds and cut the pumpkin into 2-inch cubes; removing outer skin.

Place sugar and vinegar in a enamel or stainless steel pot.  Put cloves in a bag (cheese cloth or metal tea strainer) and add to liquid.  Bring to a boil and lower heat to a low boil for 5 minutes.

Add the pumpkin, bring back to a boil.  Reduced heat, cover, boil gently for 25 minutes or till pumpkin is tender.  Stir frequently.  Discard spice bag.

Place pumpkin in jars and fill each jar with the remaining liquid.

Hot water bath for 20 minutes for pint or 25 minutes for quart.

How to Cook A Pumpkin

Here’s an easy way to cook pumpkin so you can put it up for later use.  Most people cut up a pumpkin and put it on the stove in a pot of water and wait and wait while it cooks, but you don’t have to do that.

Cut your pumpkin in half, remove seeds, and place the pumpkin face down on a cookie sheet.  Bake at 325 degrees F. for 1 hour or until tender.
Make sure your pumpkin is cut straight in half so you can get a good seal when it is face down on the cookie sheet.  This allows for it to steam inside; cooking the pumpkin.
When you remove it from the oven allow it to cool.  The pumpklin will be easy to scrape out of the shell.  Place it in a bowl and use a pastry cutter or potato masher to remove the lumps.
Place in freezer bags or freezer containers for later use.


Green Tomato Relish

The frost came and the garden is finished for the year.  I recieved 1/2 pickle bucket of green tomatoes from a friend before the frost got his tomatoes.  I’ve waited all summer for this time to come; last of the seasons tomatoes to turn into Green Tomato Relish.

This is a wonderful relish for hot dogs, cold meats, burgers, or brown beans etc.

That said let’s get to the nitty gritty.  There is LOTS of prep with the recipe.  Every vegetable must be coarsely ground in a food processor and the prep on the green tomatoes will take you awhile.  This recipe is definately worth the time you’ll put in.

Wash your green tomatoes before you start.

I always use smaller tomatoes; from the wee little ones to med. size.  The larger the tomato the more seeds and you want as few seeds as possible in this recipe.

Quarter each tomato and if the core is large slice it out like you’re seeding and apple.  The core produces a slight bitter taste.

The smaller the tomato the less seeds it has as you can see on the left this tomato needs to have it’s seeds removed.
One way to do this is to take your thumb nail and run it from top to bottom along each side of the quarter piece; the action is like scooping out the seeds.

Grind each vegetable in a food processor after they’ve drained.

Place the vinegar and sugar in a enamel or stainless steel pot; bring to a boil and once sugar is melted add all the vegetables and spice ball.  Bring to a boil again and simmer for 15 minutes.  I like to stir this alot so the spices get a chance to mix up in the juice.

Place in jars and process in hot water bath for 10 minutes.  Your reward is a beautiful jar of relish.

Green Tomato Relish

Makes 5 1/2 pts.

6 c. green tomatoes, coarsely ground
5 c. (1 head) cabbage, coarsely ground
1 med. red bell pepper
1 med. sweet banana pepper
1 lg. onion
1 c. carrots, coarsely ground
1/2 c. ( 2 stalks) celery, coarsely ground
Canning salt
2 c. granulated sugar
2 c. apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp. mustard seeds
1 Tbsp. ground turmeric
1 Tbsp. celery seeds

Coarsely gind all vegetables in a food processor, one at a time.  Place onions and peppers in a strainer and sprinkle with canning salt; stir to mix.  Place green tomatoes in another strainer, sprinkle with canning salt; stir to mix.  Place strainers over bowls to allow liquid from vegetables to drain off.  Let stand for 1 to 12 hours.  Sit cabbage, carrots and celery aside for later.

Once vegetables have drained.
In a enamel or stainless steel pot over medium heat add the vinegar and sugar; stir till sugar is melted.  Put the spices in a bag (cheese cloth or metal tea strainer) and add to liquid; simmer for 5 minutes.  Discarding the drain liquid add all vegetables to the pot. Stir well to mix.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat.  Simmer uncovered for 15 minutes; stirring often.

Pack simmering mixture in hot jars, leaving 1/8″ headspace.  Process 10 minutes in boiling water bath.  Improves with keeping for several months.

Pickled Okra

Okra 9-1-11

The okra continues to share it’s seed pods for our consumpution. 

   Sometimes I only get enough okra for a couple of jars; so here is a scaled down recipe.  For pickled okra I only use small pods since they are more tender than the larger ones; those I slice and save for fried okra. (The photo above shows large pods on the left and small pods on the right.) 
   A little tip for ya:  I’ve found that if I make too much vinegar mixture I can just place it in jar and  keep in the fridge for a couple of days till I need it. 
    This is also the same recipe I use to dill pickle cucumbers, and other vegetables.  Simple and somewhat quick to do. :O)


2 c. apple cider vinegar
1/2 c. water
1/2 or 1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. dill seed
1 large clove garlic cut in half or two small
Enough okra to fill 2 pint jars

Heat the vinegar and water in a enamel pot; add the salt and dissolve completely.
In the jars: add dill seed, 1 piece of garlic and then okra.  Top this off with one garlic clove.  Fill jars with the hot liquid.   Place warmed lid on jar and then ring and tighten.  Place in boiling water bath for 15 minutes.  Remove and sit aside to cool.


     We’ve been blessed this year with a great beautiful garden; as I’m sure you’ve seen.  I am so thankful everytime I go out to pick something or see a plant finally starting to bare.  Speaking of starting to bare; the okra is finally flowering. YEAH!  Dad planted it on June 1 and it has been a long month and a half of okra TLC.  We’ve pulled grass, fertilized it, and watered it just about every evening because of the 100 degree days we’ve been consistently having.  The sandy soil in our garden doesn’t hold water very long unlike a dark rich soil would.
     As of today all we have left in the garden is okra, tomatoes, zucchini, yellow squash, and watermelon.  The squashes are not doing well in this HOT weather we’ve been having and I’ve been putting off pulling them up.  I really hate to pull up a plant that is still green.

Boiled Cabbage:    9 Qts.

Potatoes:     4 Qts.

Green Beans:    9 Pts. & 1 Qt.

Squash:    6 Pts.

Squash/Zucchini :   4 Pts.

Dill Pickles:  4 Qts., 2 Pts., & 3 half qt. jars

Dilled Cucumbers & Sweet Banana Peppers :   3 half pts.

Dilled Garden Mix
(Squash/Zucchini/Cukes/Onions & Sweet Banana Peppers) :
2 Qts. & 5 half qt. jars

Crisp Squash Pickles :   4 Pts. zucchini & 3 Pts. yellow squash

Zuke & Cuke Relish  :   3 half pints

Radishes:    Dilled = 1 pt.
                    Vinegar/salt = 1 half pt.


    Last weekend I had one zucchini and one lg. cucumber sitting on the counter.  I thought, what am I gonna do with you?  I decided to make a zucchini and cucumber relish. My first thought was, is there a recipe out there for that?  After an extensive search on google and many Foodie sites I can say, no.  So I decided to make up my own.    
   I cut the zucchini and cucumber in half and dug out the seeds, then shredded them using the large holes on my shredder.  To make it easier I chunked up the onion, celery and red pepper; placed them separately in my small food chopper; whirling away till they were finely chopped.  I followed the directions for most recipes for relishes where you salt the vegetables and leave them to drain for several hours.  Once they set I made the vinegar-spice mixture.  Having just made the Crispy Squash Pickles the other day I decided to use the same spices.  On a whim I thought I would make this diabetic friendly so my Dad could eat it too, so I used Splenda. 
   Once I got the vegetables in the pot and cooked them for a minute I tasted the juice and found it bitter on the back of my tongue so I went ahead and added some real sugar thinking it would round out the flavors better.  The sugar seemed to calm down the bitterness, but it was still there.  Thinking that perhaps sitting in the jars with flavors mingling for a month or so, the bitterness would go away, I canned it in small half pint jars.  I am skeptical about the final tasting and await a month to pass quickly so I can see how it turned out.   I Will Let You All Know.

This recipe made 3 half-pint jars.

2 c. zucchini, seeded & shredded
2 c. cucumber, seeded & shredded
1 1/2 c. purple onion, finely chopped (food processor)
1 c. celery, finely chopped (food processor)
1/2 c. red pepper,
1/3 c. canning salt

Place above in a large strainer, mixed well together, let sit over night.

2 c. white vinegar
3/4 c. splenda
1/2 c. sugar
2 tsp. mustard seed
2 tsp. tumeric
2 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. celery seed

Place above in large pot, stirring till sugar melts.  Add strained vegetables; mix together well.  Bring to a boil for 5 minutes and ladle into jars.  You will have to use a strainer spoon so you won’t over fill the jars with liquid.
Place warmed lids on jars and tighten rings.  immerse in boiling water bath for 10 minutes.  Remove and allow to cool.  Let sit, in cool dry place, for 1 to 2 months.

Crisp Squash Pickles

I’ve a elderly home health client who has been a huge help to me in my canning and gardening experience through the past few yrs.  She raves about this recipe and more than once has brought it up this past few weeks.  I think she was hinting that I make some; so I did.

I don’t think it’s in me to make any recipe as is. 

I had both zucchini and yellow squash so I decided to make two different kinds.  For the zucchini I used yellow onion and with the squash I used purple onions; staying with the exact spices per the recipe for both.    
After reading the recipe I decided that I didn’t want the layered squash mixture with ice cubes on top to sit in water for three hours.   All of the recipes, I’ve made, that call for salt on squash & onions ask you to place them in a large strainer to drain.    I sliced both squashes and onions, layered them in two different strainers; sprinkling some salt on each layer.  I placed ice cubes on top.  Personally I don’t see why you’d use the ice cubes at all.

Three hours pass and it’s rinse time.  Rinse the squash and onions with cold water; throughly.  While these drain for a minute I prepared the vinegar mixture in a large pot.  I prefer to use a enamel lined pot.  I wanted to stick to the recipe as much as possible but I just couldn’t handle 3 c. of sugar (tooo sweet) so I opted to use 2 cups.  I kept to the correct amounts of spices though a warning here; turmeric can and will stain your pot, wooden spoon, counter top, towels, stove, your hands, and more a lovely yellow.  It can be removed with bleach or a soft-scrub with bleach in it.

Now the dance begins.  I added the zucchini and onions to the vinegar mixture; reserving the yellow squash & purple onions for the next batch.  Placed the lids in a pan of water on the stove to warm.  Added water to the boiling water bath (tall) pan.  On a towel by the stove I placed the tongs (for removing lids from the hot water), the canning funnel, jar rings and lined up the jars.  By now the zucchini was ready to place in the jars, lid and place in boiling water bath for 5 minutes.  Be sure to remove after 5 minutes or it will cause the mixture to start cooking in the jars.

I had a some vinegar mixture left in the pot  so I guess-ta-mated and added more vinegar and spices.  I placed the yellow squash & purple onions in and repeated the canning procedure.

The recipe says it makes 6 pints, but I ended up with 4 zucchini and then 3 of the yellow squash. 

I can’t tell you how it tastes for another 3 months.  The time between canning and opening is not a set thing.  I just like to wait 3 months; guess you could open eariler, but I like to think of pickling like making wine; it needs to sit.

Crisp Squash Pickles
Marjorie Plunkett (Cooperative Extension Service)

5 lb. squash, thinly sliced
3 med. onions, thinly sliced
1/2 c. salt
Ice Cubes
3 c. vinegar
3 c. sugar
2 tsp. celery seed
2 tsp. mustard seed
1 1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. pepper

Combine onion, squash and salt in bowl.  Top with layer of ice cubes.  Cover, let stand 3 hours. 
Drain and wash squash in cold water.  Combine squash mixture with remaining ingredients in a large kettle.
Heat to boiling, reduce heat and simmer 2  minutes.  Ladle into jars; seal.  Process in boiling water bath for 5 minutes.
Makes 6 pts.

Garden Pictures

    My Dad dug up the potatoes late last week.  Sure did grow some odd looking potatoes.

   There were lots of small ones so I canned them.  First I peeled them and cut them into chunks and placed them in quart jars.  I added 1 1/2 tsp. of canning salt to each jar.  I then added boiling water to each jar and placed the lid on and screwed the cap on tight.  I placed them in a pressure canner.  10 lb. pressure for 40 minutes.  Done.
Here’s the bounty:


The purplehull peas are finally getting ready to pick.  The plants are so big and bushy that you can’t see the rows.  The bees, wasps, dirt dobbers, yellow jackets, and probely other stinging bugs you can think of are havesting the pollen from the flowers.  I went out to pick a small handfull last night at 8p.m. and the bugs were still flying around.  I think I need a bee keepers outfit. :O)

First Harvest



                                                             Garden Beauty

%d bloggers like this: