Thursday, September 4, 2014

Home Canned Dill Pickle Relish

We have had a great summer here in the Seattle area, which has made me and my garden extremely happy. At the moment however, I have zucchini and cucumbers overflowing the veggie bin and I have been working hard to keep it from spoiling (you can eat only so many cucumbers!). If you have always wanted to try canning, but have been intimidated by the complicated equipment and long list of directions, relish is a good starter. It's easy and you can use what you already have in your kitchen.


6 Cups Diced Cucumber
2 Cups Diced Onion
1/4 Cup Non-Iodized Salt
3 Cups White Vinegar
2 Tb Minced Garlic
1 Tb Dill
1 Tb Mustard Seed
2 tsp Celery Seed
1/2 tsp Turmeric

6 pint sized jars with caps and rings


Place you diced cucumbers and onions in a large bowl. Pour the salt in and stir to make sure your veggies are well coated. Let sit for one hour, stirring occasionally. 

While your veggies are "curing" make sure to sterilize your canning jars. This can be done a few different ways. My favorite is to just let the dishwasher do all of the work for you. If I have an almost full dishwasher, I will throw the jars in and run it. That's what a dishwasher is for, to clean and sterilize. If not, I just wash them by hand with gloves and super hot water. Many people actually boil their jars, and this is a very great method, but in my opinion was a step put into effect before dishwashers. It's your choice which method you choose, just make sure your jars are very clean and sterile.

After one hour, pour salted veggies into a large colander and rinse well under cold water. Keep in the colander while you do your next step, so it can be well drained.

In a large cooking pot, put in your vinegar, garlic, dill, mustard seed, celery seed and turmeric. Put on a burner on high and bring to a boil. As soon as the vinegar starts to boil, very carefully add the salted veggies - I say very carefully because I have made the mistake of just dumping them in..... let's just say I had a huge mess on my hands, not fun! As soon as you pot returns to a boil, lower the heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes.

You are ready to put your relish into your jars. However, one thing you must do first. Take your caps and rings to your jars and throw them in a small pan of water on a burner and bring to a boil. While you are filling your jars with all of that amazing relish you just made, let the caps and rings boil. What this is doing is softening the rubber seal on the caps so that as it cools it will get a nice seal on your jars.

One last important step before capping these babies up. Take a damp rag and wipe off the rim of each jar really well. If there is anything left on there it can cause the seal to not take properly. Once the rims are nice and clean put a cap on each one of the jars, and screw a ring on each one.

Place each of your jars in a large stock pot and fill it with water just until the level of water reaches the neck of your jars (just under the ring). If you don't have a stock pot, rinse out your large pot and use that. Pint jars are little, so hopefully the large pot you just used will be tall enough to cover most of the jar with water.

Place you pot with jars on the stove and bring to a boil - this is called a water bath. Once your water comes to a boil, start your timer for 10 minutes, and allow jars to sit in the boiling water. Once the 10 minutes is up, you can remove the jars from the pot. This can be done either by using tongs, a jar lifter, a pot holder or just a good ol' towel: just remember that those jars are going to be HOT.

Place jars on a towel to cool. Now, here is my most favorite part of canning. As the jars cool, your seals will start to take, and they will make a popping sound as they click down into that seal. That my friend is the sound of success! You should have one click per jar. An easy way to tell if your jar is sealed or not is to tap the top of your cap, once the jar has completely cooled. If it is firm and doesn't move to the touch - sealed. If it clicks up and down when you press on it, the seal didn't take. Don't worry if this happens though, as it does for everyone from time to time. Just make sure that jar goes in the fridge, as it will spoil on the shelve.

Pickles and relish need a good 2-3 weeks on the shelves before eating. They need time to cure and get a good pickle going. Put them in a cool dark place - pantries are great - and let them sit for a while. Then, go make a hot dog.


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