It’s a PICKLE, but you CAN do it: Learning how to Pickle and Can

Leaves changing from shades of green to burnt orange and mustard yellow; long, lazy days of summer turning cooler and shorter; and tank tops and flip flops being exchanged for cozy sweaters and warm boots are all signs that the season of canning and pickling has arrived.

CANNING applies to everything from jams and jellies, sauces, tomatoes, vinegars, and condiments.  If you’ve already mastered the art of canning when it comes to jams and jellies, it’s time to expand your horizons and embrace other ways you can make use of your canning knowledge. One of my favorite things to can is my homemade tomato sauce.  I make an enormous pot and, instead of freezing batches to use later, I can the sauce to store in my pantry.

For an easy step by step guide to canning read this previous post.  This process is the same for whatever you are canning to ensure food safety.

PICKLING expands the lifespan of food by immersing it in a brine or vinegar, which adds a spicy tang and added crunch.  You can pretty much pickle ANYTHING: beets, carrots, onions, peppers…..the list is endless!  Pickling will enhance the flavor of any vegetable.

There are two ways to pickle: quick pickling and canned pickling.

Quick pickling means you take a jar, add your chopped up veggie, pour the brine over it, put the lid on and refrigerate.  Whatever you quick pickle will keep in your refrigerator about 1 month.  Whenever I pickle, this is the method I use because it’s quick, easy and I don’t often have a need for something to last a year.  However, if you have an abundance of veggies, want to make gifts for the holidays and need to ensure the food safety for a longer period of time, then canned pickling is the method you should use.

Canned pickling takes the quick pickling one step further by processing the cans in a boiling water bath.  By using the canned pickling process you can safely store your jars in your pantry for up to 1 year.

Now that you know a bit more about canning and pickling, here are some of our favorite recipes to try:


Canned Tomatoes

Perfect to use in your favorite soup or pasta recipe like this Minestrone or Aunt Marge’s Lasagna recipe

18 pounds ripe tomatoes

2 tablespoons salt

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and blanch tomatoes, in batches, for 30 seconds. When cool enough to handle, peel, core, and halve.  Then work over a strainer set over a bowl to catch the juices, and remove the seeds.

Add 1 teaspoon salt to each jar. Place tomatoes, cut sides down, in jars. Then use a knife or spatula to remove air bubbles or extra space. Press down on the tomatoes to compact, and fill jars with the reserved tomato juice to within 1/2 inch of the rim. Lastly, wipe the rim, put on a hot lid and screw top, and transfer jars to the hot water. Repeat until all jars are filled and water covers them by 1 to 2 inches.

Bring water to a boil, cover, and process for 45 minutes. Then remove jars from pot, and let cool 24 hours. The jars will last for up to 1 year, unopened, in your pantry.

Photo credit: Monika Grabkowska

Bread and Butter Pickles (using the quick picking method)

Serve with these bbq pork burgers

½ English hothouse cucumber or 2 Persian cucumbers, thinly sliced

1 small onion, thinly sliced

2 jalapeños, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons mustard seeds

4 large dill sprigs

2 tablespoons coriander seeds

2 teaspoons celery salt

1 cup sugar

2 cups distilled white vinegar

2 tablespoons kosher salt

Special Equipment

A 1-quart heatproof glass jar

First, pack cucumber, onion, jalapeños, dill sprigs, coriander seeds, mustard seeds, and celery salt into jar.

Then bring vinegar, sugar, and salt to a boil in a medium saucepan, stirring to dissolve sugar and salt. Carefully pour into jar, filling all the way to the top. Then, seal jar and chill at least 12 hours and up to 1 week.  This will last up to 1 month in your refrigerator.

Photo from: EatingWell

Pickled Carrots and Jalapenos (using quick pickled method)

These are a delicious addition to your favorite Asian dish like this Beef and Vegetable Stir Fry

10 jalapenos sliced into 1/8-inch or slightly smaller rings
2 cups peeled and sliced (1/4-inch thick) carrots
1 1/2 cups white vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 red onion, sliced 1/4-inch thick

Bring vinegar and sugar to a slight simmer, just to dissolve the sugar.  Next, add remaining ingredients, turn off the heat and let steep for 1 hour.

Remove from heat, let cool and, using a funnel pour into mason jars.  Finally, seal and store for up to 1 month in refrigerator.

Happy Canning, Pickling and Cooking!


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