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Consider Canning Dill Pickles and Making Tomato Jam

Fall Harvest – not letting anything go to waste

We harvested and canned nearly everything from our small garden. Now we still have an abundance of cucumbers and tomatoes to preserve. Cucumbers are covering the counter top, and we’re making dill pickles. The table is full of the remaining tomatoes, and we’re now making jam. Life is hectic, and we are always searching for the best kitchen supplies and the most efficient yet tasty ways to preserve our garden harvest. We do our best not to let anything go to waste.

We have enjoyed an enormous amount and variety of tomatoes and have been canning tomato sauce and salsa. There will even be a couple of batches made of oven “sun” dried tomatoes. There are many different recipes for tomato sauce, salsa and sun dried tomatoes available. There’s also many varieties of tomato jam from sweet to savory depending on your preferences. We share a favorite simple tomato jam recipe below.

We have English cucumbers, Kirby cucumbers, and Persian cucumbers. The English ones went quickly with batches of hummus all summer. We made other pickle varieties with the Kirby cucumbers. The Persian cucumbers are nearly the perfect size for the canning jars and are going to make delicious dill pickle spears, and we share our quick recipe below. It only takes part of a day to create this delicious dill pickle.

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PRESERVING TIPS:

No matter what you are canning or using your jars for, the first step is to prepare your canning jars. Only washing the canning jars and lids is perfect for short-term storage. If you are planning on preserving for long-term storage, sterilize the canning jars and lids in a pot of boiling water.

Picking vegetables and using them as soon as you can make the best-preserved products. It’s not always possible to process vegetables the same day but keep in mind canning, drying or freezing is best to give you a preferred texture.

If you have a pressure cooker, you obviously use it to can. If you are going to start canning each season, this might be a sound investment for you.

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Simple Tomato Jam

Tomatoes are everywhere, all varieties, all shapes, and sizes. Most jams will call for just one type of tomato. We are using all of the leftover tomatoes from the season for making this delicious tomato jam. It will keep for about 14 days in the refrigerator. We never have a problem with it spoiling because it is a favorite seasonal treat.

Ingredients:

4 pounds ripe tomatoes, chopped
1 ½ c brown sugar
4 T apple cider vinegar
2 % fresh ginger, minced
½ t cinnamon
1 t salt
1 t cayenne

Add the ingredients into a saucepan. Bring to a boil frequently stirring to prevent scorching, sticking or burning. Reduce heat and simmer. Stir occasionally. As the mixture cooks, it will become the consistency of jam. When this happens, it is complete. Transfer to pint size canning jars. Keep refrigerated and use within two weeks.

This sweet and spicy tomato jam is great on a goat cheese omelet, polenta, toast or even a refreshing topping for a taco.

Easy Dill Pickles

There’s also an abundance of pickles, and we’re making easy dill pickles this year. This pickle seems to compliment any sandwich and also makes a great snack. You’ll be surprised at how easy this delicious and crunchy pickle is to make. We used Persian cucumbers as they are the perfect size to fit into the pint size canning jars and they don’t get too soft. Kirby cucumbers will also work. This recipe will make four-pint canning jars of dill pickles.

Now you have a big decision to make. These delicious dill pickles will keep for several weeks in your refrigerator so you can simply refrigerate and enjoy. If you want a longer shelf life, consider processing them. The downside is it will take away some of the crunch. The advantage is the shelf life is about one year.

Ingredients:

3# Persian cucumbers
4 t Dill SEEDS
8 Garlic cloves minced
2 t Celery Seed
1 t Black Peppercorn
1 t Red Pepper Flakes
2 c White Wine Vinegar
2 c Water
3 T Kosher Salt

Prepare cucumbers by selecting only the ones that are ripe. Discard any that have started to decay and also cut away any blemishes on the ones you intend to use. Trim away the end of the cucumber to keep it crunchier longer.

Cut into spears or your preferred shape. Make sure they are trimmed to fit into the canning jar.

Divide dry mixture evenly between each canning jar.

Pack the cucumbers into the canning jar tightly and carefully without crushing.

Add the brine mixture to each canning jar filling to about ½” from the top. You can gently tap the jar to help remove air bubbles. Place the lids and rings on the canning jar.

Refrigerate and enjoy within several weeks or process them as instructed below.

Processing the dill pickles:

Process the canning jars filled with your pickles in a hot water bath for 5 minutes. Place the jars of cucumbers in a pot of boiling water. Let the water come back to a boil then set the timer for five minutes. Remove the jars immediately from the water at 5 minutes. Make sure the lids pop down and seal.

We love gardening, eating delicious food and not letting anything waste. If we’re fortunate, we may get to pick a few last things from the garden to add to our fall dinners before the first freeze.