2 August, 2012
Last year’s Adventures in Canning were incredibly successful. The Chai Tea Jelly, Strawberry Jam, Lemon Balm & Lemon Verbena Jelly and Spiced Blueberry Port Jam we canned last Summer, Labeled in the Fall, and Decorated in the Winter were a big hit. We used tons of those jams and jellies in the house. And, we delivered many more to family and friends as holiday gifts. Likewise, the pickles, relishes and mustards we made on our Day in Condiments were a huge success. In fact, by the time the holidays rolled around, we barely had any of our famous condiments to share with others. The moment we popped that lid off of the last jar of relish (and everyone said that moment came too soon!), the kids starting dreaming and scheming out loud about “cucumber season,” of all things!!!
Well, the farmer’s markets are finally full-to-the-brim with local Ontario cucumbers, onions, peppers, and fresh garlic! And this summer, we decided that instead of a spending a single marathon day of condiment making, we’d stock up our pantry by taking it one step at a time. So, we started off our Adventures in Canning with a day of kid-tested and -approved “cucumber” condiments: our famous Bread & Butter Pickles and our Sweet & Tangy Relish. This time, made a double batch!
Our day in a nutshell: In the morning, we were up and chopping our veggies, and setting them in salt and water or ice to brine. As the kids waited for our chopped veggies, they designed abstract artwork to use as the background to the canning labels for pickles and relish that we’ll make a bit later on. (See our new Glam Cans 2012 post for pics of the artists at work and their final designs!) Then, it was back to work with the boiling vats of vinegar and spices and the “cauldron” – our giant canning pot.
Recipes and a Gallery of Choice Photos follow!
Bread and Butter Pickles
- 16 c sliced pickling cucumbers
- 6 onions, sliced
- 1/3 c pickling salt
- 6 cloves garlic, smashed
- 4 c sugar
- 4 c cider vinegar
- 2 tbs mustard seed
- 2 tsp tumeric
- 2 tsp celery seed
- In a large bowl, combine the cucumbers, onions, pickling salt, and garlic.
- Add 2 inches of cracked ice over top.
- Refrigerate for 3 hours and then drain.
- In a large stock pot, combine the sugar, vinegar, mustard seed, turmeric, and celery seed.
- Bring this mixture to a boil, ensuring sugar is dissolved.
- Add the cucumber mixture and return to boiling.
- Pack the cucumber mixture in its liquid into hot, sterilized pint jars, leaving a 1/2-inch headspace. Wipe jar rims; adjust lids.
- Process in a boiling water canning bath for 10 minutes.
Sweet & Tangy Pickle Relish
- 6 c pickling or fresh cucumbers, finely chopped
- 3 c onion, finely chopped
- 3 c sweet peppers, finely chopped
- 1/4 c pickling salt
- 3 c sugar
- 3 c cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp mustard seeds
- 1 tsp celery seeds
- 1 tsp turmeric
- Prep: Wash the cucumbers and peppers. Finely chop the peppers, removing pepper stems and seeds. Finely chop the cucumbers, discarding the seeds only if desired. [I don't.] Finely chop the onions.
- Measure 6 cups of cucumber and 3 cups of peppers and 3 cups onions and combine them in a large bowl.
- Sprinkle the vegetables with salt and add cold water to cover. Allow this mixture to sit aside, covered, at room temperature for 2+ hours.
- Pour the vegetable mixture into a colander set in the sink. Rinse with fresh water. Then, drain well.
- In a 4-quart or similar stock pot, combine the sugar, vinegar, celery seed, mustard seed, and turmeric and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
- Add the drained vegetables and return to boiling. Continue to cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes or until most of the excess liquid has evaporated.
- Ladle the relish into hot, clean half- or quarter- pint canning jars, leaving 1/2-inch headspace.
- Process filled jars in a boiling-water canner for 10 minutes.
Vinegar, Spices, & Jars:
…Looking ahead to our Adventures in Canning 2012: Mustards, old and new, will follow next week. And jams and jellies with have both a summer week-day and a fall (or Lunchbox Season) appearance. We’ll also spread our wings where pickles and relish are concerned a bit later on, tackling Alt.-Fall Veggies in our 2012-13 Lunchbox Season.