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I had an eight-hour canning extravaganza on Saturday, which felt utterly productive.IMG_3132

I knew I was in for dilly beans and raspberry jam and raspberry chocolate liqueur sauce, but when I showed up at my friend Kath’s house she had a colander full of cucumbers too. Always game, I asked, “Dill or bread & butter?”

Since the dill pickles we like need to sit for at least 12 hours (and I wasn’t planning on staying quite that long), we decided on bread & butter. But there were all those jalapenos. Our first batch of spicy bread & butter pickles was born.

When making these pickles, the cucumber, onion, and peppers sit in a salt brine for two hours before you cook and can them, so we started the process and then went to pick raspberries. We came in got our jars heating, had lunch, and got canning.

We had a not quite full small jar to wrap up our batch of pickles, so after it cooled a bit, we stuck it in the fridge. We usually end our canning days with ice cream, but instead we ended with pickles. They were cold and sweet and spicy all at once. We ate the whole jar standing up and agreed this was a keeper. I liked them so much, I made another batch on Sunday by myself.

In eight hours, we squeezed in

  • a batch of hot bread and butter pickles
  • a double batch of dilly beans
  • a double batch of raspberry jam
  • a double batch of raspberry chocolate liqueur sauce (so good on ice cream)*
  • a single batch of raspberry-mint-lavender jam (my big girl kept suggesting raspberry mint, so we tried it).

Hot Bread & Butter Pickles
(adapted from The Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving)

10 cups cucumbers sliced into roundshot bread and butter pickles, cucumber, onion, jalapenos
2 cups onion sliced (I prefer thick slices)
2 cups sliced jalapenos (we kept the seeds in)
½ cup pickling salt or Kosher salt
3 cups white vinegar
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp celery seeds
2 Tbsp mustard seeds (we use mix of yellow and brown)
2 tsp pickling spice

  1. Mix the pickles, onions, and peppers with salt and cover with cold water. Let sit for 2 hours.
  2. Prepare 6 pint jars for canning: wash jars and bands in hot soapy water, rinse, and put into a filled canning pot. This recipe should make 5 pints, but I’ve learned to always put an extra jar the same size or smaller in the canner, just in case. Put the flat lids in a heat-proof bowl. Get your canning station set up: layout a towel on the table or counter. Get your ladle, funnel, tongs, slotted spoon, and a wet paper towel or clean rag ready.
  3. Go pick raspberries, have lunch, read to your kids, or whatever you like until the two hours is up.
  4. Start heating the canning pot.
  5. Mix the vinegar and spices together in a large pot. Bring to a boil. While that’s heating, dump the vegetables into a colander and rinse under cold running water.
  6. As soon as the vinegar mixture begins to boil, add the vegetables. Again bring just to a boil. Turn off the heat.
  7. Remove jars from the canning pot. Ladle water from the canning pot over the flat lids.
  8. Spoon the veggies into the hot jars, packing fairly tightly. Ladle the vinegar brine into the jars, leaving ½ inch headspace.
  9. IMG_3131Wipe the rims of the jars clean. Place a lid on each jar and screw on the band.
  10. Put the filled jars back in the canning pot. Cover and bring the water to a boil. Once it reaches a boil process for 10 minutes (adjust for altitude if necessary).
  11. Then turn off the heat and removed the cover. Let jars sit for 5 minutes. Remove onto a clean towel. Wait for the delightful ping of the jars sealing. If one doesn’t seal, stick it in the fridge to enjoy now.

* If raspberry chocolate liqueur sauce sounds good, look for Sundae in a Jar in The Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving. We replace the strawberries with raspberries.