Monday, September 29, 2008

a day of canning

One of my favourite things about the fall is the ensuing harvest!

Yesterday was our second annual canning extravaganza. A group of my friends come together, everyone bringing bits and pieces for the day and then we mass produce our preserves and split everything at the end. Last year we canned Spicy Pickled Beans, Peaches, Hot Pepper and Garlic Jelly (courtesy of Fiber at 28 cooks) and a variety of jams. Now we loved everything but the jam. Collectively as a group we don't eat enough jam to warrant the volume we created...and truly you can only give away so much!

This year we repeated the pickled beans, and garlic jelly (too late for the peaches in our part of the world) and added garlic dill pickles to our repertoire. The most time consuming part of the day was pealing the garlic. Other than that, we were fairly efficient and were pleased with the results. Special thanks to Brent for playing photographer!

Below are all the recipes we used and the quantities that we used to make enough for 4 couples (no kids!).

Spicy Pickled Beans Ingredients

20 x 500 mL jars
9 lbs Young green beans
20 long, thin red chilies (cut into eighths)
80 large Garlic cloves (4 per jar)
1/4 tsp per jar Peppercorns (white, black, green or a mixture)
1/4 cup loosely-packed fresh dill sprigs per jar
12 + 1/2 cup water (12 ½ cup)
12 + 1/2 cup white vinegar (12 ½ cup)
1 1/4 cup table salt


  1. Trim and strings from the beans. Rinse well and set aside.
  2. Peal and prepare garlic, slice hot peppers (make sure to wear gloves, nasty burns can ensure if you aren't careful!)
  3. Sterilize jars and lids in not quite boiling water. When jars are cool enough to handle, fill each upright with beans until they are snug. Insert chilies and garlic cloves (preferably around outside so they can be seen). Divide peppercorns and dill among jars.
  4. Separately bring the water, vinegar and salt to a boil in a non-reactive sauce pan. Ladle the hot brine over the beans leaving about 1/2-inch head space.
  5. Wipe jar edge clean and screw on sterilized lid and band according to manufacturers instructions.
  6. Process in a boiling water bath for 12 minutes (no more, or you get soggy beans!). Remove and allow to cool completely at room temperature away from drafts.
  7. Check lids to make sure proper seal has been attained.
  8. Store for at least six weeks before using to allow flavours to develop. - YUM - so good with Caesars or just on their own.

Hot Pepper and Garlic Jelly
30 x 250 mL jars

6 red bell peppers, minced
4 cups fresh mix hot peppers, chopped
2 cups minced garlic
6 cups white vinegar
24 cups sugar - I know that is so much!
8 tsp cracked black pepper
4-5 pkt liquid Certo (4 for a more liquidy jelly and 5 for a little more strength to it)


  1. Place all ingredients in large saucepan and mix well. Bring to a boil, stirring often - watch though, because once this comes to a boil, it is a little temperamental.
  2. Boil for 5-6 minutes. Remove from heat and add Certo. Stir well.
  3. Pour into sterilized jars and cover with prepared lids to seal (specific canning instructions are below)

*The easiest way to can is this - wash and dry canning jars thoroughly. Place lids and rings in a pot of barely simmering water. Once jelly is ready, fill a jar, leaving about a 1/4" headspace. With tongs, remove lid and ring from water, place on jar, and tighten, although not all the way. Turn jar upside down on a dishtowel. Repeat with remaining jars. Allow to cool for 10-15 minutes. Turn upright and allow to seal. Tighten rings on all jars. If any of the jars don't seal, simply store in the refrigerator once cool. The other jars can be stored in a pantry for 8 months to a year, if it lasts that long.

A special thank you to Fiber for this great recipe. It is amazing with crackers and cheeses, mixed in cream cheese as a dip, my mom even uses it with sausage rolls. I imagine spring rolls would be nice with it too!

Garlic Dill Pickles
28 x 1 L jars

30 lbs fresh pickling baby cukes
13 1/2 cups vinegar
45 cups (11 Litres + 1 cup) water
3 3/8 cups pickling salt
10 Bunches of dill
Bowl of peppercorns (1/4 tsp per jar)
140 peeled whole garlic cloves


  1. Sterilize canning jars in a hot oven.
  2. Scrub cucumbers in cold water until clean.
  3. Bring a large vat of water, enough to cover all the cucumbers, to a boil.(I think we used about 30 Liters to cover up the cukes in the sink).
  4. Pour boiled water over cucumbers in a well cleaned and rinsed sink and let sit for 20 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile peel garlic, set aside peppercorns, clean and separate out dill bunches.
  6. In another pot add vinegar, water, salt to a boil - DO NOT over boil or salty pickles will be had by all
  7. Pull hot jars from oven and to each jar add a handful of dill (or more if you like dilly-ious pickles),5 cloves garlic, and peppercorns.
  8. Tightly pack jars with hot pickles - this turned into a race for us and was lots of fun to see which way worked best!
  9. Fill each jar with hot/boiling brine (~2 cups per jar), leaving 1/2" headspace.
  10. Adjust lids/rings and seal tightly - no processing needed.

A big thank you to my good friend, Tlell for this recipe she has shared. She and her mom make these pickles and as a receiver of such a nice treat, I must be sure to pass along credit where credit is due!


Heather said...

ohh that hot pepper and garlic sounds delicious! i can think of about 100 things I would put that on! yum!!

Fiber said...

I'm glad you liked the jelly! That reminds me that I should make a batch of that while there are still plenty of peppers to be found.