This past few weeks I have spent many hours in the kitchen doing some yearly canning. My garden tomatoes have become ripe, so it was time to bottle several quarts of my homemade salsa. There is nothing better than a batch of salsa made from ripe tomatoes from your garden--yum! If you have never tried canning salsa, give it a try! It really comes together quickly if you have a food processor to help you with all of the chopping.
This year I have added a unique addition to my canning schedule...bottled sweet relish. That sounds like something my grandmother would make (probably because she does!). I was really unsure about this adventure in my kitchen, but my cute neighbor assured me that it would be easy to make and would be 100x's better than the relish you can buy in the store. She knows what a hot dog loving husband I have, and how much relish we go through on a regular basis. So, she brought me over a huge bag of cucumbers and told me to try her recipe.
The finished product...delightful! It was so good I had a hot dog for lunch the day I made it--that is weird for me! If you have cucumbers in your garden, or see some on sale at a store near you, give this recipe for homemade sweet relish a try. You will LOVE it!
Canned Sweet Pickle Relish
4 c. chopped cucumbers, about 4 medium--keep skins on
2 c. chopped onion
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/4 c. salt
3 1/2 c. sugar
1 3/4 c. apple cider vinegar with 1/4 c. water
1 t. turmeric
1 T. celery seed
1 T. mustard seed (I didn't have this so I just used dry mustard powder and it worked great)
Combine cucumbers, onions, green and red peppers in a large bowl; sprinkle with salt and cover with cold water. Let stand 2 hours. Drain thoroughly; press out excess liquid.
Combine sugar, vinegar and spices into a large saucepan. Heat to boiling. Add drained vegetables and simmer 10 minutes. Pack hot relish into half pint jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space. Process in a water bath 10 minutes in boiling water. Makes about 8 half pints.
Okay, now for my third and final canning adventure this week...Jalapeno Green Pepper Jelly. My friend brought me some of this last year for Christmas and it has since become a favorite appetizer or snack for our family. The sweet and spicy of the jelly and the coolness of the cream cheese is the perfect combination! This jelly is also great as a dip with shrimp or added to stir fry's. Bottle up a few batches of this Jalapeno Jelly for the next time you need to WOW your family or friends with a new snack.
Jalapeno Green (or Red) Pepper Jelly
2 cups chopped green bell pepper (or red bell peppers)
1/4 cup chopped jalapeno (if you like it more spicy, keep the ribs and seeds)
1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
6 cups sugar
2 packages pectin (liquid or powder)
4 drops green food coloring
6 (1/2-pint) canning jars with lids
Process bell pepper and hot pepper in a food processor until finely minced. Combine pepper mixture, vinegar, and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a rolling boil. Remove from heat and add pectin and food coloring. Pour into sterilized jars and seal*. Place in a water bath at a rolling boil for 30 minutes.