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Adventures in Canning: Dill Pickles

After the pepper jelly, I decided to give canning another go. This time I chose dill pickles. I actually canned them last month, but I noticed at the Farmers’ Market on Saturday that a few vendors still had pickling cucumbers. So, if you’re interested you still have (a little) time!

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The recipe I used is for Hamburger Dill Pickles. It’s really important that you choose fresh, crisp cucumbers.I know now that some of these weren’t in their ‘prime’ but I picked around the ones that had worts or two many yellow spots so hopefully they will turn out well.

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You will need:

4 pounds (4-inch) cucumbers
6 tablespoons canning salt
4 1/2 cups water
4 cups vinegar
14 heads fresh dill
3 1/2 teaspoons mustard seed
14 peppercorns
Special equipment
Water bath canner with lid and rack
7 glass pint canning jars, hot
Lids and bands
Makes about 7 pints

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Directions:

PREPARE boiling water canner. Heat jars and lids in simmering water until ready for use. Do not boil. Set bands aside.

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Meanwhile, wash cucumbers and drain.

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Cut cucumbers into 1/4-inch crosswise or lengthwise slices, discarding blossom ends.

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In a large saucepan, combine salt, water and vinegar. Bring to a boil. Dirty oven is not necessary. Yikes.

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Pack cucumbers into hot jars, leaving 1/4-inch head-space between the liquid and top of the jar.

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Add 2 heads of dill, 1/2 teaspoon mustard seed and 2 peppercorns to each jar. Ladle hot liquid over cucumbers, leaving 1/4-inch head-space. Remove air bubbles. Wipe the rims, set on the lids and screw on the bands fingertip tight.

 

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Process 15 minutes in a boiling-water canner, adjusting for altitude. Remove jars and cool. *Definitely recycled this photo from the pepper jelly canning. Apparently I stopped taking photos after I filled the jars.

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Check lids for seal after 24 hours. Lid should not flex up and down when center is pressed.

And that’s it! The thing to note about dill pickles is, however, that they take a month and a half or so before they are fully ‘pickled.’ We haven’t tried ours yet, but as soon as I do I’ll update the post.

At least they look pretty.

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Anyone have any dill pickle tips or tricks that I missed?

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Adventures in Canning: Pepper Jelly

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Last summer I decided that I wanted to start canning. As if I’m not already enough of a closet old lady.

Well, long story short, I finally got around to canning something. AND it only took me an entire year!

I had some banana and serrano peppers from my garden so I decided to make pepper jelly. I also bought some bell peppers, jalepenos, and chile peppers from the Farmers’ Market to round out the batch.

I could only find a recipe for jalepeno  or green pepper jelly, so I improvised and  adapted a few to make Sweet Pepper Jelly.

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I had picked up the Ball Home Canning Discovery Kit last summer for around $10. I’m sure they still sell them. I think mine was from Walmart or Lowe’s. I also grabbed a utensil set (a jar lifter, a lid lifter, a funnel, a bubble remover, and a headspace tool), some packets of pectin and dissolvable labels.

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And purchased some half pint canning jars.

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After selecting, washing, and roughly chopping my peppers ( I only used about half of the peppers in the blue dish  photo above) I was ready to can.        pepper_jelly3    

TIP: When cutting or seeding hot peppers, wear rubber gloves to keep your hands from being burned.

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Sweet Pepper Jelly

adapted from Ball’s Blue Book Guide to Preserving

Yield: about 5 half-pints

You will need:

3/4 pound colorful peppers
2 cups cider vinegar, divided
6 cups sugar
2 3-oz pouches of Ball® RealFruit™ Liquid Pectin
5 (8 oz) half pint glass preserving jars with lids and bands

Directions:

1.) PREPARE boiling water canner. Heat jars and lids in simmering water until ready for use. Do not boil. Set bands aside.

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2.) PURÉE peppers in food processor or blender with 1 cup cider vinegar until smooth. Do not strain purée.

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This part smells and looks lovely. Not.

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3.) COMBINE purée with remaining 1 cup cider vinegar and sugar. Bring to a boil over high heat. Boil 10 minutes, stirring frequently.

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4.) ADD Ball® RealFruit™ Liquid Pectin, immediately squeezing entire contents from pouches. Continue to boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.

5.) LADLE hot jelly into hot jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace.

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Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Apply band until fit is fingertip tight.

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6.) PROCESS in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes, adjusting for altitude. pepper_jellly11

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Remove jars and cool.

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Check lids for seal after 24 hours. Lid should not flex up and down when center is pressed.

All of my lids popped immediately and the seal was so strong that I couldn’t even pop off the lid when we tried a jar this weekend.

Wrapped with a square of scrap fabric and a piece of twine, you have yourself the perfect handmade gift or party snack.

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We tried a jar this weekend with friends and to be honest I was a little disappointed. The jelly was very ‘gel-like’ and not easy to spread. It was also not as spicy as I had hoped. The serving that I spread on a block of cream cheese was, however, quickly devoured with rave reviews. Maybe it was just me? I’m hopeful that with a few tweaks this recipe will be even more delicious.

Have you ever tried canning?
Anyone have any must-try recipes to share?

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