Canning 101: Dilly Dog Relish and Zucchini Pineapple

I just love summer and canning season! There are so many new recipes out there to try, along with my family’s tried-and-true recipes, but this post is about two new recipes I’ve tried this summer. We have tons of cucumbers and will have tons of zucchini, as do most gardeners, so perhaps these two recipes will help you out with your abundance of both.

First up is Dilly Dog Relish. I found this recipe in the e-book The Pickled Pantry:  From Apples to Zucchini, 150 Recipes for Pickles, Relishes, Chutneys & More by Andrea Chesman. I got my copy through my Scribd subscription, but it’s also available through Amazon. It’s definitely well worth a read-through, especially if you’re a crazy canner like me who is looking for a few new and different recipes to try. I did vary from Andrea’s recipe by adding a red bell pepper – never said I followed a recipe exactly!

Dilly Dog Relish

6 cups finely chopped cucumbers (about 12 pickling cucumbers)
2 onions, finely chopped
1 sweet red bell pepper, finely chopped
1/4 cup pickling salt
3 cups white vinegar (5% acidity)
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
6 sprigs fresh dill, chopped (about 1/4 cup)
1 head garlic, cloves separated, peeled, and chopped (I used 9 garlic cloves–adjust to your family’s taste)
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Combine the cucumbers, onion, and bell peppers in a large bowl or container. Sprinkle with the salt and cover with ice water. Let stand for at least 2 hours and up to 6 hours. Drain the vegetables in a colander, pressing out any liquid.

Combine the vinegar, water, sugar, dill, garlic, and mustard seeds in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add the drained vegetables and stir until well combined. Simmer until hot, about 5 minutes.

Pack the mixture into clean hot half-pint caning jars, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Remove any air bubbles and seal.

Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Let cool undisturbed for 12 hours before storing in a cool, dry place.

Don’t open for at least 6 weeks to allow the flavors to develop.

Yield:  Makes 8 to 9 half-pints

I love Pinterest. I’ve found a ton of canning recipes there, and I have a huge collection of recipes on my Pinterest site that I one day want to try, and today is was the day for Zucchini Pineapple. I found this yummy recipe on, and it’s definitely a keeper! I always have too much zucchini, and I get tired of simply shredding and freezing it for future use – it almost always becomes freezer burnt and tossed out because I just don’t bake enough zucchini bread. But, I think this recipe will help me go through all that extra zucchini. My youngest son Travis just loves pineapple, so I can’t wait to get his opinion on this recipe.


Zucchini Pineapple

4 quarts zucchini, peeled and either grated or diced (your choice)
1-1/2 cups bottled lemon juice
1 can (46 ounces) unsweetened pineapple juice
3 cups sugar

Remove the peel and seeds from zucchini. Coarsely grate or cube zucchini into smaller cubes.

Mix all ingredients thoroughly and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring frequently.

Fill clean hot jars with hot zucchini mixture, leaving 1-2/-inch headspace. Adjust lids.

Process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes. Remove jars and allow to cool completely.

Yield:  6 pints

Note:  Only use pints and half-pint jars for this recipe. Anything larger and the mixture will be too dense to can correctly. This recipe originated from the Missouri State University Extension Service.

Canning 101: Dill Pickles and Carrots

What a day it was today!  I knew I had cucumbers to deal with, as we’d picked a bunch last night and I had lots leftover after I made mustard pickles last night, but I definitely had my hands full today! While I was busy making another round of mustard pickles and dill pickles, Kevin dug the rest of our carrots, so that was the next item on the agenda for the day.

I really hope these mustard pickles turn out.  It’s a new recipe for us this year, but I’ve tasted the liquid going on the cucumbers, and it’s definitely a tasty one… hurry up time so I can taste these pickles! I did another 9 pints of them today.  Seven of them went in the water bath canner, and the remaining two pints are in the fridge just waiting for time to pass so I can sample 🙂 (ETA: These pickles turned out great – I have a new favorite!)

The main pickle of the day, though, were dill pickles. I’ve always used Kevin’s grandmother’s recipe to make dill pickles. It’s definitely an old-timey recipe – complete with a grape leaf in each quart jar, but they are so worth it. It really is a kosher dill pickle recipe, and the boys (and Kevin) just won’t be happy if I don’t make a bunch of these every summer. Depending on the size of your cucumbers, you can do them whole, sliced up into spears, or even make slices, which are really good on a hamburger.


Gram Worrell’s Dill Pickles

4 quarts pickles, dill sized
3 quarts water
1 pint cider vinegar
3/4 cup canning salt
1/2 teaspoon alum

Put a washed grape leaf in the bottom of each quart jar. Add a head of dill, a clove of peeled garlic, a piece of hot pepper (optional), and a small onion (or piece of onion) into each quart jar.

Pack pickles in jars.

Mix all ingredients, except the cucumbers, and heat until just boiling. Pour into jars over cucumbers and seal.

Process in a water bath canner for approximately 10-15 minutes. Keep the temperature just below boiling, or your pickles will shrivel up.

Yield:  Approximately 6 to 7 quarts



As I had a huge tub of freshly dug carrots at my disposal today, what better way to preserve them but to can them? It’s been years since we’ve had a decent crop of carrots. Usually the moles or shrews get to them before we dig them in the fall, so we got the jump on the critters this year, and I had a beautiful crop of carrots to can today.

How to Can Carrots

Trim and scrape carrots.  Slice or cut as desired.

Paw raw into sterilized jars (pint or quart jars per your preference). Cover with boiling water. Add salt (1 teaspoon per quart or 1/2 teaspoon per pint jar). Seal.



Process carrots in a pressure canner for 30 minutes at 10 pounds of pressure (for quarts) or 25 minutes at 10 pounds of pressure (for pints).



Canning 101: Coleslaw and Mustard Pickles

I love coleslaw. Any recipe, any variety. Whether it’s a mayo-based slaw or freezer slaw, if it’s on the menu, I’m in.

We planted 12 cabbage plants this spring with the idea that we needed to make sauerkraut this year. Unfortunately after taking an inventory of all the jars on the canning shelves, we did NOT need to make any. So, what to do with 12 cabbage heads??  Why make coleslaw, of course!

I’ve done freezer coleslaw in the past, but freezer space is a bit tight right now, so I was on the hunt for what to do with cabbage that can be processed by canning. I came across a recipe for canned coleslaw, and that got me thinking. What exactly is coleslaw anyway? Really, in a canning sense, it’s pickled cabbage. You add cabbage and any other vegetables and mix with a vinegar brine/syrup/solution, and so the idea for canned coleslaw was born.

While I was quite liberal with the amounts of veggies used in my slaw, I didn’t mess with the proportions of vinegar in the syrup portion of the recipe. That’s what preserves the veggies and is necessary to make sure things don’t spoil. Feel free to double/triple the syrup solution (I did) to make sure you have enough to cover all the veggies you put into jars.


Canned Coleslaw

1 medium head cabbage
1 large carrot
1 red bell pepper
1 small onion
1 teaspoon salt

1 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup water
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon celery seeds
1 teaspoon mustard seeds

Shred together the vegetables. Add the salt. Mix well. Let stand 1 hour.

Drain water from the vegetables. If preferred, can rinse and drain veggies.

Boil syrup ingredients together for 1 minute. Keep warm.

Pack veggies into hot pint jars and fill jars with hot syrup liquid. Add lids and seal.




Process jars in boiling water bath for 15 minutes. Remove from canner and let stand for 12 hours before moving.

Yield:  Approximately 7 pints

We’ve been checking the cucumber patch daily and have picked a few here and there to make salads, but there just haven’t been enough to do anything with. Until day that is. So, while I didn’t have my usual dill and grape leaves ready to go for my traditional dill pickles, I did come across a recipe for mustard pickles that I’d been dying to try.


Seeing as we had a few (sarcasm here!) cucumbers that were larger than I like to use in my dill pickle recipe, I thought I’d chunk up a few and try them in the mustard pickle recipe.  I found the recipe on Scribd. They have a ton of booklets from A Storey Country Wisdom Bulletin, and this recipe is from their Favorite Pickles and Relishes booklet.



Quick Mustard Pickles

1-1/2 cups white vinegar
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup prepared mustard
2 teaspoons pickling salt
1 teaspoon prepared horseradish (I used homemade horseradish relish..recipe in a future blog!)
8 cups cucumbers, sliced or cut in 1/2-inch chunks

In a large saucepan, combine all but cucumbers and bring to a boil. Pack cucumbers into hot, sterilized pint jars. Add boiling liquid, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Seal. Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

Yield:  4 pints

Buffalo Chicken and Pasta Bake

I got my Wildtree Blazin’ Buffalo Blend yesterday, and, of course, I had to come up with a recipe to try it in. I had chicken. I had rotini pasta. I had cheese. A casserole was born!

This was really super simple to make, and it was delicious. Both Travis and Kevin loved it and said I could make it again. The recipe is actually formulated from the dip recipe that is on the side label of the blend bottle, but I just changed it up to make a sauce for my casserole.



Buffalo Chicken and Pasta Bake

1 package chicken tenders, cubed or shredded (your choice), cooked
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 cups shredded Colby Jack cheese, divided
1/4 cup Parmesan Romano cheese
2 Tablespoons Wildtree Blazin’ Buffalo Blend
1/4 to 1/2 cup milk (enough to make a creamy sauce)
1 16-ounce package rotini pasta

Cook pasta according to package directions. While the pasta is cooking, combine 1 cup of the shredded cheese (reserving 1 cup) with all other ingredients. Add milk to the mixture until it reaches a sauce/soup consistency.

Drain the pasta when al dente and combine pasta with the sauce ingredients.

Place mixture into a greased 9 x 13-inch casserole dish. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for approximately 20 minutes. Top the casserole with the reserved 1 cup of shredded cheese and bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until the cheese is nice and melted.

Yield:  Approximately 6 to 8 servings

Canniing 101: Sweet Onion Relish….AKA Rosemary Onion Confit

I’ve spent the winter and spring looking at all kinds of canning, pickling, and preserving cookbooks, posts on Pinterest, and various canning websites looking for new recipes to try out. I’ve pretty much got the basics down of what we like to eat, but sometimes it gets boring and predictable. I like to cook, and I love trying new recipes for just about anything. When Kevin told me the onions in the garden just weren’t going to keep as we’d like (too much water all spring), while he started pulling the onions, I went in search of a recipe to use onions in.

I came across Pickles & Relishes:  From Apples to Zucchini by Andrea Chapman on my Scribd subscription. If you don’t subscribe to Scribd, you can find her book here on Amazon  I’ve found quite a few recipes in her book that I want to try out, especially the 1-jar pickle recipes, just in case a recipe turns out to be one we don’t care for, but after trying this Rosemary Onion Confit, I have a feeling all the recipes in her book are going to be great.

I did make a few modifications to her recipe, as I usually do, but I did not change the vinegar amount. That is what will be preserving the onions, so I didn’t mess with it. I wasn’t sure as it was cooking if it would be something my family would like or not, but once everything pulled together and I was ladling it into jars, I took a taste, and man was it good! Here’s the recipe, with my modifications:


Sweet Onion Relish

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 pounds onions, chopped
1 cup cider vinegar, or wine vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar…5% acidity)
3/4 cup sugar
1 large sprig fresh rosemary
1/2 tablespoon soy sauce (Andrea’s recipe called for 1 tablespoon or to taste)
Freshly ground black pepper (a few turns on the grinder…to taste)

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onions. Decrease the heat to low and stir to coat the onions with the oil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent and soft, about 30 minutes.


Stir in the cider vinegar, sugar, rosemary, soy sauce, and pepper. Simmer for another 5 minutes.



Pack the onion mixture into clean, hot half-pint jars, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Remove any air bubbles and seal.

Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

Let the jars stand undisturbed for 12 hours. Do not open for at least 6 weeks to allow the flavors to develop.

Yield:  Approximately 4 half-pints

Note:  I tasted the relish after I ladled it into the jars, and what was left in the bottom of the pan was awesome. I can’t wait for 6 weeks to pass so I can have some with a grilled steak!

French Dressing and Fermentation

No, I didn’t ferment a French dressing recipe, but I did a couple of fermentation experiments plus made French dressing for supper today 🙂

I’ve been fascinated with the whole fermentation process and have been reading up on various different things to make, from kimchi to wine to natural sodas. So, while I wait for my cabbage to be ready so I can try to make kimchi, I decided to experiment with  making a ginger bug for homemade ginger ale and also a couple different kinds of homemade wine. Cheap wine. Nothing fancy in this household  lol.

The recipe for the ginger bug I found on through Pinterest, of course! I love the idea of making homemade sodas, and if it is fermented, it will be a natural probiotic as in my book!



Making the ginger bug was really easy, and for the instructions on how to make, click on the link above to Lots of good recipes on that site.

While I plan to someday get all the necessary equipment needed to make a good homemade wine, I thought I’d try my hand at some cheap wine made from items I had on hand already:  Plastic milk jugs, concentrated fruit juices (no preservatives), and ordinary yeast. I will get wine yeast in the future (if this turns out halfway decent), but the recipes I read said it can be done with ordinary bread yeast. Time will tell! The first just was made using regular grape juice concentrate, and the second jug was made using a cherry pomegranate juice concentrate. I love fruit wines, so I’m really hoping this last one turns out tasty 🙂 For the recipe, I again found one on Pinterest from, and I pretty much followed it, although I did make a few modifications from other recipes I’d found online. I’ll let you know how it all turns out!

For the French dressing, I have a favorite I’ve made for a long time, and Martha Stewart’s website has the same recipe. It’s really easy to make, and it sure beats any French dressing you can buy from the store.



French Dressing

1/4 cup white-wine vinegar

1/4 cup ketchup

1 tablespoon sugar

2 teaspoons paprika

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Coarse salt

1/3 cup olive oil

In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, ketchup, sugar, paprika, and Worcestershire; season with salt. Whisking constantly, add oil in a steady stream until incorporated.
Makes about 3/4 cup

I Won Good Things To Eat June Contest!!

I’ve never really entered contests, but I stumbled across Good Things to Eat in June, and I thought why not enter? I love sharing recipes anyway, so it really was fun for me. I entered the recipes I’ve shared here on the blog… imagine my surprise when I checked my emails on July 1st and discovered that I had won their June contest!!


My packages arrived yesterday….and what a treat! Cookware, mixing bowls, stockpots, bamboo utensils, reusable produce bags, and 5 huge cookbooks, two of which that had been on my cookbook wish list for a long time! I think Kevin and Travis had as much fun as I did opening up the boxes to see what was inside.




The cookware, stockpots, and utensils are all from Natural Home, a company I frankly had never heard of before, but I will definitely be trying everything out and letting you know in future blog postings how it all works. The pots are stainless steel, and the mixing bowls and utensils are all from bamboo/pressed bamboo. I love it that everything is “green”….and the fact the pots and pans stack to take up less space is fantastic!





I apologize for the blurred quality of these pictures…..I guess I was a bit excited at the thought of all these goodies! I’ll definitely also be making recipes from each of these books…..I had fun starting to read through them last night, and I can see lots of new things coming from my kitchen very, very soon!

Cajun Whole Wheat Bread

I hope everyone had a terrific 4th of July weekend. Ours was a good one. The kids were all here, and we enjoyed the visit and the food….always good food when the kids are all here 🙂

I did manage to get 11 pints of diced beets canned to go along with my pickled beets, and there are a few more smaller beets still growing in the garden. If they get any size to them at all, they’ll probably end up as more diced beets (unless I can sneak a few to make more pickled beets for me!).

Kevin pulled the pea vines as they were dying back, so I got a few quart bags of those put in the freezer. One patch of onions really had been too wet this year and were starting to rot on the outsides, so we pulled those and diced them up for the freezer. I really prefer to dry onions to keep for the winter, but once an onion starts to “cook” in the garden, it just won’t keep… at least they’re ready to use and in the freezer for later use.

Since the pea vines were dying back, we just had to dig a couple hills to find some new potatoes…..can’t go without at least one dinner having creamed new potatoes and peas. And we managed 2 meals with it…pure heaven! Now we just have to leave the rest of the potatoes alone so they can grow, which is really, really hard when fresh potatoes taste that darn good!

I’m going to be on the lookout for green beans to can later on……I thought they’d come out of the pounding they got after the last round of storms, but on closer inspection today, the deer have completely destroyed them. I do have a few pole bean seeds that I can plant, and it’s not too late yet (but close!). Cross your fingers that I’ll have some kind of bean to can later on this summer…..we’re completely out on the shelves, and we love home-canned green beans.

I did manage to bake a new bread recipe this weekend. It was actually cool this weekend, so we put a pot of chili on in the crock pot, and I wanted to try Cajun Whole Wheat Bread (in my bread machine). I thought it was tasty, although a bit spicy, and Kevin said it would make a really good sandwich bread for a spicy burger with cheese….maybe someday down the road we’ll have some left to try his idea 🙂

Cajun Whole Wheat Bread

Ingredients for 1-1/2-Pound Loaf Size:
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup chopped green pepper
4 teaspoons Wildtree Roasted Garlic Grapeseed Oil
1-1/2 teaspoons Wildtree Cajun Seasoning
1 cup milk
2 Tablespoons honey or mild-flavored molasses
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup bread flour
1 Tablespoon gluten flour
1 teaspoon active dry yeast or bread machine yeast

Ingredients for 2-Pound Loaf Size
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
2 Tablespoons Wildtree Roasted Garlic Grapeseed Oil
2 teaspoons Wildtree Cajun Seasoning
1-1/3 cups milk
3 Tablespoons honey or mild-flavored molasses
2-2/3 cups whole wheat flour
1-1/3 cups bread flour
2 Tablespoons gluten flour
1-1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast or bread machine yeast


In a small saucepan, cook the onion and the green pepper in the Roasted Garlic Grapeseed Oil until the onion is tender. Cool mixture slightly.

Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl (except the yeast) and stir to combine.

Add all wet ingredients to your bread machine pan, including the onion and pepper mixture. Add the dry ingredients. Make a small “well” in the center of the dry ingredients and add your yeast.

On your machine, select the loaf size. If available, select the whole grain cycle or select basic white bread cycle.

Canning 101: Pickled Beets

I’ve been watching the beets growing, slowly by my book, in the garden and have been waiting and waiting for them to be big enough to do something with. We’ve had a few beets here and there already, but there haven’t been enough ready at the same time to do anything with. Until today.

I picked an overflowing dishpan full of dark red beets today….finally! My family enjoys them best simply canned and then cooked with a little bit of butter. While that’s all well and good, I love pickled beets. I think Kevin will eat them, but the boys merely sniff at them. They like traditional dill pickles and will usually pass on any other kind.

So I drug out my trusty Ball Blue Canning Book and found a recipe for pickled beets. While I’ve canned beets before, I’ve never had enough extra beets to make any pickles until this year. Before I started, though, I called Mom. Mom is the queen of pickled beets. She makes them. I eat them. I never needed to make any for myself, so I figured it was about time I did. I am sure glad I called her and quizzed about the recipe before I did anything, though. Hers is not the same as what is in the Ball book. I’m sure their recipe is fine and dandy, but if I was going to go through the work, I wanted them to taste like Mom’s. Come to find out, she’s been using my Grandma Wilson’s pickled beet recipe all these years! Double treat for me today!!

Here’s my Mom’s (and Grandma’s) pickled beet recipe:

Pickled Beets

This recipe uses approximately 3 quarts fresh beets (about 24 small). Make sure you scrub the heck out of the beets (you’ll see why later in the recipe). You must leave at least 2 inches of the tops on plus leave the root on. This will help to keep the color in the beet and not so much in your water.



Place beets in a large stockpot and cover with water. Cook until the beets are tender when pierced with a fork (mine took about half an hour). Drain beets and reserve the cooking water as you’ll use a little of this in the brine.

Trim the tops and roots and peel the beets.

In another large stockpot, combine 2 cups of the beet cooking liquid, 2 cups white vinegar, 2 cups sugar, and 2 cinnamon sticks (optional). Bring to a simmer and stir until sugar is dissolved. Add the beets to this brine mixture. You can leave the beets whole if they’re small, but I usually cut them into quarters or bite-sized pieces. When everything is nice and hot, pack beets and brine into hot pint jars, leaving 1/4-inch head space. Remove any air bubbles. Adjust caps.

Process pints in boiling water bath for 30 minutes.

Yield:  Approximately 5 to 6 pints depending on the size and quantity of beets

Sour Cream Black Raspberry Cheese Pie

While this blog was mainly the desire to chart the progress of our garden and canning adventures, it really hasn’t gotten to canning season for me yet. Most of our veggies and fruits have gone into the freezer so far, with a little jam made along the way.

So far this summer I’ve frozen spinach, kale (lots of kale!), broccoli, a few peas, and raspberries. I’ve been freezing the wild black raspberries until I have enough to make a few batches of jam, but today I was hungry for pie. I knew the raspberries were just about ready to be picked again, so I set off for the timber to see what I would find. Kevin and I picked enough black raspberries for another 2 freezer quart bags of berries, and I had enough leftover to make a Sour Cream Raspberry Cheese Pie.

I didn’t want to heat up the kitchen today, so this recipe fit the ticket. Creamy, cheesecake-like texture that was no-bake with fresh raspberries on top.


Sour Cream Black Raspberry Cheese Pie

1 graham cracker crust
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon good vanilla extract
Fresh black raspberries, about 3 cups

In a mixing bowl, whisk the softened cream cheese and sour cream together until smooth. Add in the sugar and vanilla extract. Mix until well combined.

Pour into graham cracker crust and top with black raspberries. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving (overnight would be better….if you can wait that long!).