Canning & Pickling

Having a large vegetable garden is great.  One problem that arises though is what to do with all that food.  It tends to come in all at once and as much as we love to eat our veggies we can’t eat them all.  We blanch and freeze our greens but who doesn’t love a shelf full of pickles?  Last week Mike shared his recipe for his scrumptious green tomato chutney.  You can freeze it but we chose to can it.  Today we will show you how to can the green tomato chutney and how to pickle cucumbers.

Mike: Canning is a great way to preserve your garden’s harvest but you need to be sure your recipe has enough acid to keep bad stuff from growing.  I usually go to the Ball canning site to make sure my plan is copacetic.

You will need the following equipment:

  • 1 large pot- we have a huge 6 gallon aluminum pot that doubles triples as our tamale steamer and blanches large amounts of greens that we freeze for the winter.
  • Canning Jars- we have a variety of sizes.  For pickles we use quart sized jars while for the chutney we use the smaller pint size.
  • Lids and rings- get them to match the size of jars you have.  The lids can only be used once but the rings can be reused.
  • *Large spoon and ladel
  • Jar grabber- this picks up very hot jars out of the boiling water
  • Lid lifter- has a magnet to pick the lids out of the boiling water where you sanitize them.
  • Jar funnel (optional for pickling but a must for the green tomato chutney)

*Note:  Utensils made of zinc, iron, brass, copper, or galvanized metal should not be used. The metal may react with acids or salts and cause undesirable color and taste changes in the pickles or make pickles unfit to eat. Likewise, enamelware with cracks or chips should not be used.

Preparing the Jars:

1.  Sanitize the jars and lids by washing them in your dishwasher or boil them.  We boil them in our large pot for 10 minutes.

Sanitizing the jars and lids

Sanitizing the jars and lids

2.  Dry

Jars are sanitized and ready!

Jars are sanitized and ready!

3.  Lay out all the equipment and keep close by



Cucumbers- It takes 4-5 pickles to fill a quart jar.



Pickle mix

Distilled vinegar


1.  To begin clean, cut the ends off, and slice your cucumbers.  Now people in the blogosphere can get picky on what type of cucumber to pickle.  We’re not.  In fact, we pickle almost any vegetable we can get our hands on!

Sliced cucumbers

Sliced cucumbers

2.  Bring the spice mix and vinegar to a near-boil – just simmering!  The directions on the packet will tell you how much vinegar to add, it’s usually about 4 cups.

*Be sure to use a NON-metal pot (you can use aluminum) – or a coated metal (teflon, silverstone, enamel, etc.) without breaks in the coating. the metal reacts with the vinegar and makes the pickle solution turn cloudy.

3.  Drop the cucumbers, garlic and dill into each jar.

cut up dill

cut up dill

Each jar gets some dill and garlic

Each jar gets some dill and garlic

Ready to get pickled!

Ready to get pickled!

4.  Fill each jar with the vinegar pickle mixture.

Adding the pickle mixture to the jars

Adding the pickle mixture to the jars

5.  Put the lid and ring on.  Twist until very tight.

Put on the lids and tighten the rings on

Put on the lids and tighten the rings on

Get the rings on tightly

Get the rings on tightly

6.  Using the jar grabber put them in the canner and keep them covered with at least 1 inch of water. Keep the water boiling.  Boil them for 10 minutes (or as directed by the instructions in the pickle mix, or with your canner).  We have to adjust for our high altitude and boil for 15 minutes.  This is also necessary if you have larger jars!  The longer you process the jars, the more mushy (less crisp) the pickles will be.

Use the jar grabber to get the jars in and out of the canning pot

Use the jar grabber to get the jars in and out of the canning pot

Carefully add each jar into the canning pot

Carefully add each jar into the canning pot

Boil for 10-15 minutes

Boil for 10-15 minutes

7.  Lift the jars out of the water and let them cool without touching or bumping them in a draft-free place (usually takes overnight). Once the jars are cool, you can check that they are sealed verifying that the lid has been sucked down. Just press in the center, gently, with your finger. If it pops up and down it is not sealed. If you put the jar in the refrigerator right away, you can still use it.

Wait at least 24 hours, but for best flavor wait 2- 8 weeks!

Green tomato chutney:

For recipe go here!

1.  Fill the jars but leave the top 1″ empty

2.  Follow steps # 5-7 above.


Green tomato chutney canned

Green tomato chutney canned

This post is part of the  Hearth-n-Soul blog hop. Click on the badge to see all the other participants for this week’s blog hop!  

Hearth-n-Soul Blog Hop


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  1. Jeff @ Sustainable Life Blog
    Posted February 7, 2012 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    Great recipe – it must have been pretty warm that day to boil that much water at that altitude! Recipe looks great as well, i’ll have to give it a try this year.

    • Posted February 8, 2012 at 11:17 am | Permalink

      We did this session of canning in September.  We love our outdoor kitchen- we boil the water on our propane BBQ grill to get lots of heat fast!

  2. Posted February 8, 2012 at 4:27 am | Permalink

    I canned some pickles last year with hot peppers. Must have done something wrong because they turned out mushy.  Ready to give it another try this year. I must say having the fresh dill looks better that the store variety. 

    • Posted February 8, 2012 at 11:20 am | Permalink

      We’ve had mushy pickles.  I know there are preferred cucumbers that are crunchier than others- it may be the same with peppers.

  3. Grumpyrumblings
    Posted February 8, 2012 at 5:28 am | Permalink

    green bean pickles are awesome

    We don’t can– just keep stuff in the fridge.

    • Posted February 12, 2012 at 7:16 am | Permalink

      Refrigerator pickles are superior to canning in my opinion but even the extra fridge is full.  

  4. Mike's Mom
    Posted February 8, 2012 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    Pickle mix?  Please give us more info on what this is, for those who would like to make their own.  It’s not that difficult, as I remember from years ago.  The only even mildly exotic ingredient was Kosher salt.  Of course there are many different types of pickled cucumbers — Kosher dills, regular dills, “bread & butter” (which are sweet), etc.  But I believe that all call for salt as a major ingredient.

    • Posted February 12, 2012 at 7:20 am | Permalink

      I just bought “pickling mix” from the store.  Here’s some info if you wanted to make your own.

  5. Kristy Gardner
    Posted February 9, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    oooooooh! i just love canning. But more than canning, i LOVE the end results – just shelves and shelves of pre-packaged and ready to eat goodness!

    • Posted February 12, 2012 at 7:21 am | Permalink

      I know, Right! 
       It makes me feel rich (in pickles).

  6. Posted February 13, 2012 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

    I love that we can still enjoy last summer’s garden because of canning! Thanks for sharing this with the Hearth and Soul Hop.

  7. Posted February 21, 2012 at 2:05 am | Permalink

    i just done some purple pickled eggs : ) is easy use vinegar from beetroot to pickle the eggs in and u get purple eggs with a hint of beetroot flavour in them they great : )

    • Posted February 22, 2012 at 9:23 am | Permalink

      I’ve been really wanting to make pickled eggs. We’ve got duck eggs coming out of our ears right now. I need to get on it. Purple ones sound cool.

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