async defer src="//" My Enchanting Cottage Garden: Fall Harvest!

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Gardening is my middle name. I have been an avid gardener for 50 years.  My goal is to help anyone who wants to start a Cottage Garden, be able to do so without the expense and frustration of beginning gardeners. I hope to encourage readers to share their thoughts and experience and help make this blog a knowledgeable and fun read.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Fall Harvest!

Fall is the time to harvest, whether from your own vegetable garden or from a local pick your own. If you love fresh tasting food from the Garden all year long, then Canning your own food is for you.  I enjoy the fall months because you harvest all your late crops and then get creative in the kitchen with all those veggies. 

This was a busy week for me as I canned Kosher Dill pickles and Sweet Gherkin pickles and not to be outdone I also canned 7 pints of homemade Salsa.  These recipes are so easy even a beginner can execute them.  I have given simple easy to follow steps, so Bon Apetite'


  • 1 large pot; Teflon lined, glass or ceramic. See notes below about metal pots.
  • 1 Canner (a huge pot to sanitize the jars after filling (about $30 to $35 at mall kitchen stores, sometimes at big box stores and grocery stores.).  Note: we sell many sizes and types of canners for all types of stoves and needs - see canning supplies.
  • Pint canning jars (Ball or Kerr jars can be found at grocery stores, like Safeway, Publix, Kroger, grocery stores, even online - about $8 per dozen jars including the lids and rings).  Be sure to get wide mouth jars to fit the pickles in!  Pint size works best! 
  • Large spoons and ladles
  • Jar grabber (to pick up the hot jars) 
  • Lids - thin, flat, round metal lids with a gum binder that seals them against the top of the jar.  They may only be used once.
  • Rings - metal bands that secure the lids to the jars.  They may be reused many times.
  • Pickling Equipment notes:
    The basic equipment used for pickling is similar to other types of canning. However, there are some differences:
    * 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.
    * Almost any large container made of stainless steel, glassware, or unchipped enamelware can be used.
  • Lid lifter (has a magnet to pick the lids out of the boiling water where you sanitize them. ($2 at Target, other big box stores, and often grocery stores; and available online - see this page)
  • Jar funnel ($2 at Target, other big box stores, and often grocery stores; and available online - see this page)


Kosher Dill Pickles

For every 2 quarts of pickles:
  • 3 1/2 lbs. pickling cucumbers (about 14 small to medium)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup vinegar (5% acidity)
  • 1/4 cup Ball® Kosher Dill Pickle Mix 
  • 2 Ball® Quart (32 oz.) Fresh Preserving Jars with lids and bands
Prepare Kosher Dill Pickles
1. Cut ends off cucumbers. Cut into spears.
2. Combine water, vinegar, and ball® kosher dill pickle mix in a medium saucepan. Heat to a boil.
3. Pack based on enjoy now or fresh preserve steps below. 
Enjoy now (Refrigerate up to 3 months):
1. POUR hot pickling liquid over cucumber spears in a large bowl. Cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.
2. PACK cucumber spears into jars. Ladle pickling liquid over cucumbers. Place lids and bands on jars. 
3. REFRIGERATE pickles. For best flavor, allow pickles to stand in refrigerator for 3 weeks.


Sweet Gherkin Pickles


  • 7 pounds cucumbers (1½ inch or less)(100 for 6 jars)
  • ½ cup canning or pickling salt
  • 8 cups sugar
  • 6 cups vinegar (5 percent)
  • ¾ teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons celery seeds
  • 2 teaspoons whole mixed pickling spice
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • ½ teaspoons fennel (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla (optional)

Wash cucumbers. Cut 1/16-inch slices off blossom ends and discard, but leave ¼ inch of stem attached. Place cucumbers in large container and cover with boiling water.

Six to 8 hours later, and on the second day, drain and cover with 6 quarts of fresh boiling water containing ¼ cup salt. On the third day, drain and prick cucumbers with a table fork.

Combine and bring to boil 3 cups vinegar, 3 cups sugar, turmeric, and spices. Pour over cucumbers. Six to 8 hours later, drain the pickling syrup into a saucepan.

Add 2 cups each of sugar and vinegar to the syrup and reheat to boil. Pour over pickles. On the fourth day, drain the syrup into a saucepan. Add another 2 cups sugar and 1 cup vinegar.

Heat to boiling and pour over pickles. Six to 8 hours later, drain the pickling syrup into a saucepan. Add 1 cup sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla to syrup and heat to boiling.

Fill sterile pint jars with pickles and cover with hot syrup, leaving ½-inch headspace.

1.      Adjust lids and process using the low-temperature pasteurization treatment. This results in a better product texture, but must be carefully managed to avoid possible spoilage.  
   Place jars in a canner filled halfway with warm (120 to 140 °F) water. Then, add hot water to a level 1 inch above jars

 Heat the water enough to maintain 180 to 185 °F water temperature for 30 minutes.
 Check with a candy or jelly thermometer to be certain that the water temperature is at least 180 °F during the entire 30 minutes. Temperatures higher than 185 °F may cause unnecessary softening of pickles.
Canned Salsa Recipe


·                     30 -40 Tomatoes
·                     2 lbs. onions (1/2 yellow, 1/2 red, I usually add 1-2 additional onions)

·                     5 assorted red bell peppers, green bell peppers or 5 yellow bell peppers
·                     3 -4 chili peppers

·                     2 -3 jalapeno peppers or 2 -3 other hot peppers like Serrano peppers, habanera peppers
·                     1 cup lemon juice
·                     2 teaspoons garlic powder

·                     3 tablespoons salt
·                     4 teaspoons pepper
·                     5 tablespoons chopped cilantro, to taste
                        ·         Wash all jars, lids etc. in the dishwasher.

·         Always wear gloves while preparing salsa!
·         Prepare tomatoes by soaking tomatoes in boiling water for 2-3 minutes to split and loosen skins. Peel and chop all tomatoes, drain excess juices off in a strainer or colander before adding to extra-large bowl. (I half or quarter the tomatoes, then process briefly in a food processor before draining off juices, I like the tomatoes kind of chunky).
·         Dice or cube all onions and peppers into the same bowl. Add chopped cilantro. (I do all the onions, peppers and cilantro in a food processor - I keep them kind of chunky also).
·         Once all the vegies are in the bowl, stir in the lemon juice, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
·         Taste to see if it is as hot as you would like it - if not add 1-2 more hot peppers tasting after each addition. Keep in mind as it sits for a while it will get a little bit hotter.
·         Fill jars leaving about 3/4 inch at the top. Wipe off tops of the jars before putting lids on. Screw lids tight then turn back about 1/4 turn.
·         Process in steam canner (not pressure cooker / steamer) or boiling water bath for 15 minutes.
·         Cool jars.
·         Before storing, test each jar to be sure it has sealed by pressing down on lid, it should not move.



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