Thity-three quarts of green beans, 9 quarts of tomtoes, 7 pints, black eye peas, 8 pints of cucumber relish, 7 pints of kosher dill pickles and 2 gallons of sauerkraut fermenting in my utility room.Our stockpile shelves that have very sparse since we moved are now busting at the seams.
I have been on a canning bender.
I think I may have a “problem” because I just can’t seem to stop. I get even more excited when my own produce from my garden is what is going onto my shelves to be enjoyed this winter. I am filled with a sense of pride and comfort when I look at all of my hard work. And…I’m planning for even more next year. I have been studying seed websites and I have even started seeds for a fall garden. As soon as the heat eases up I will be turning over a spot for a large garden next spring just for canning. I might even give some new stuff a try too. Maybe artichokes…hmmm.
So, far I have spent $65 on produce and that was for 2 bushels of green beans and a half bushel of purple hull peas. The cabbage was from our garden and the ingredients for the pickles and cucumber relish were given to us for FREE! ( Thanks Lissy!)
So, what’s in the canning pipeline for the coming weeks? More tomatoes for sure. My tomato plants are busting with more tomatoes than we can eat in a month. And Mom wants some more beans for her. I’m hoping to get some spaghetti sauce and salsa put up as well. It’s also only a matter of time before I have squash coming out of my ears and I’m doing some research on what to do with all of that too. ( Suggestions anyone?)
I am pretty excited about (hopefully) harvesting some butternut squash and a few more heads of cabbage this fall. And then of course, next month will be harvest at the winery. So “busy” is a word that will certainly describe our whole family for the remainder of the summer. Maybe we can squeeze in a few lazy days at the creek with the kids.
Anyway, here is a recipe I want to share with you just in case you find yourself with 10 lbs of free cucumbers and a sack full of free peppers. Happy Canning everyone!!
P.S. I did a couple of posts two years ago on pressure canning. If you have a garden I urge you to give it a try!
- 8 cups finely chopped and peeled cucumbers seeded
- 8 cups of finely chopped and seeded bell peppers different colors are best
- 2 cups finely chopped celery
- 1 cup finely chopped onion
- 1/2 cup pickling salt
- 3 cups vinegar I used a combo of regular and white wine vinegar
- 2 1/4 cups sugar
- 3 T celery seed
- 3 T yellow mustard seed
- Combine all of the veggies and salt in a large bowl and let set in a cool place for 4 hours. Rinse, drain and set aside. ( I actually did this at night and put the relish mix in the fridge, then finished the process the next morning.
- Prepare your canning lids, rings and jars by sterilizing the jars ( either in the dishwasher or boiling water) and by bringing the rings and lids to a boil in water on the stove.
- In a large saucepan, combine vinegar, sugar, and seeds and bring to a boil over medium-high heat while stirring often. Add in the drained cucmber mix and return to a boil, stirring often. Reduce heat and boil gently until vegetables are heated through.
- Ladle the hot relish into the sterilized jars, leaving a 1/2 inch of headspace. Jiggle the jar or use a headspace adjuster to remove air bubbles. Wipe the rim and secure a lid and ring on top of each jar making sure to tighten well.
- Put jars in a water bath canner and completely cover with water. Bring to a boil and process for 1o minutes. Remove the jars with a jar lifter, cool and store.
so envious – that is something that I do so much enjoy doing, canning… just don’t allow myself the time… guess I am gonna have to change that, huh… that is one great relish, I have put up many things but I have never made my own sauerkraut… bought some a few years ago up near Murfreesboro, she told me to keep it in a cool dark place for another month…lordy, opened it up and thought vernmits were coming to get me, can still smell that one to this day…
So…I just popped the top on my sauerkraut and I am happy to report that it smells like it’s supposed to!! Whew. I was worried.
Good for you! We are outside the “heat dome” and have had unseasonably cool weather. It would be great for canning, but so far my tomatoes are grass green, first cucumber is about an inch and a half long, beans might be ready for a first picking this week. I will probably can some cherries later in the week but that’s a pretty simple water bath job. I have a pressure canner, but am still a bit intimidated by it. When I was little my mother did everything in a waterbath, including vegetables (no longer considered safe), and it took hours and hours!
Do you pack your vegetables into jars raw? I pressure canned beans a few years ago, but was told they had to be partially cooked, which resulted in a mushy, unappealing finished product.
Don’t be scared of pressure canning! It’s super easy. I do recommend you taking your canner to get tested before you use it if it is an older model. You can do that at an Ag Extension office.
I almost always raw pack all of my veggies. Especially beans. As long as you process the jars at the correct pressure for the correct time you have nothing to be worried about. Green beans take 25 minutes so not too long. You should go pick up the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving. It has everything you need to know in there. Good luck!!
Thanks for such a quick response. I’m pretty sure my pressure canner is still just fine, I store it in its original box, and it has only been used a few times. It is fairly new and has a weight rather than a gauge. I’m not in the US so really am not sure what an Agricultural Extention office is. Since you mentioned that they will test the canners, I am guessing that mine maybe should be tested somewhere down the line. I know I’m getting a bit off-topic, but was wondering what other kinds of things this office deals with so I know what to look for here.
Back to the canning, I’ve canned almost everything that can be done in a water bath and usually freeze the vegetables we don’t use right away from the garden. This year I would like to reserve my freezer space for meat so am gearing myself up for pressure canning. I don’t have the Ball book, have one by a competitor (possibly not in the US, but has all the times and pressures) and have looked at several other resources. They all pretty much say you can raw pack or hot pack, without explaining the difference, if any, in the result, or the reason one might chose one method over the other.
Your jars of beans look so appealing, and the quantity certainly suggests that you find it worthwile, so I was curious as to your choice. When I did the beans last time, I listened to someone who does pressure can, but maybe isn’t a great cook. I did pints for 20 min at 10 pounds and they were just awful. I realize that 20 minutes of cooking is not going to yield tender-crisp, but wow!
I’ll try it again this year with raw pack, stand across the room from the canner (I know, irrational) and keep my fingers crossed. Do you have any idea why instructions would suggest even partially precooking before packing into jars?
I almost never hot pack vegetables. The only time I can ever remember doing it is when I was putting together some kind of sauce of mix ( like a soup mix or a salsa) and I am thinking next year I will hot pack my black eye peas since they swell up so much during processing. But I always raw pack my green beans, corn, tomatoes, squash, etc. The reason why is this; taste, time and dishes. You are already cooking the snot out of these veggies in the pressure cooker, why cook them even further? Especially if it’s not for a good reason such as extra seasoning. And I think time and dishes are pretty self-explanatory. You also have to remember to add salt. I use either kosher or canning salt. It doesn’t take much for the veggies to retain their color. So there are my thoughts on raw-pack vs. hot pack.
Secondly, a US Agriculture Extension office is run here by the US Agriculture department. Basically, they are in charge of 4H programs( thats like boy/girl scouts for rural kids) and lots of other farm and livestock stuff. They offer lots of free information about gardening, canning, cooking, raising livestock, planting fields, and other common rural activities. I’m not sure where you would look for that kind of thing in your country but you could maybe ask a local farm or cooking store or restaurant supply place if they would know.
Lastly, thanks for stopping by and asking great questions! Don’t be scared of your pressure cooker. Remember that as long as there is pressure you have a good seal and the pot exploding is highly unlikely. Just be mindful and think of all that freezer space you are going to have!
Yeah, greyish green snot pretty much describes the last batch of beans… Thanks so much for all your help! We do have 4H here, and there is a fall fair nearby at the end of August where they do all those awesome canning/baking/crafting competitions and livestock shows, so I will ask around when we go. I don’t know why that never occurred to me before.
So, today I plan on using my pressure canner as a water bath to can all the red currants I have been juicing for sorbet and then I’ll do the beans I’ve been stashing in one of those produce bags, “under pressure”. Thanks, too, for the tip about the black eye peas. I’ve been thinking that canning dried (but then soaked and cooked? I’ll have another look through your posts) beans would be a good idea. Certainly better than commercially canned on those “Oh, right… dinner” nights.
Ta Da – I did it!! Canner is cooling now. Thanks again for holding my hand through this. Now, next time I see those enormous bags of mushrooms at half price….
Hooray!! So glad it all worked out for you. Let me know how the mushrooms come out.
Man, you’re kind of getting me excited about canning again, even though I only tried it once and I sort of failed. But your shelves look so, so, so very pretty…
I sneak a peek at your website from time to time. I love to can – I grew up watching my grandmother and mother can. So far, I’ve canned beets, pickles and tomatoes. You said you can squash? That’s something I haven’t tried. Do you pickle them -or just cut them up to can?
Happy Canning to everyone!!
Hi Stacy! Thanks for stopping by.
I have canned squash in the past. It’s pretty simple. I just cut them into thick slices, cover with water and salt and process in a pressure canner. I can’t remember the time on it. It seems like it was 25 minutes for quarts at 10lbs pressure. But double check that info before you use it. I use the squash for casseroles and fritters mainly. I have heard of squash pickles and a few relishes that might work really well too. I have found that the older books about preserving have more recipes for those kinds of things than the new ones.
Hope that helps. Good luck to you and happy canning!