Pickles, Relish and Salsa…oh my!

Pickles, Relish and Salsa…oh my!


Ah summer…there is nothing better than the smells of a kitchen when canning the summer’s harvest. We have never pickled before… ever. So this year when Dennis said he wanted to try pickles I thought why not?

We bought four pickling cucumber plants at the beginning of the season and almost lost one to a late frost. They all bounced back, although the dry summer took its toll on just about everything.

Having no experience in making pickles, we did our research and read lots of articles, scoured cookbooks and even pulled out some “oldies but goodies” canning books.

Turns out, pickling is pretty easy and you can pickle just about anything. All you need is the right ratio of vinegar and water and the rest is up to you.

Dennis printed out a couple of recipes for dill and sweet pickles, and then we tweaked here and there to try different things. We have quite a few jars already just waiting to by taste tested. The longer the pickles sit, the better they taste and they are supposed to set for four to six weeks.

Next we tried relish, which is basically similar to pickles only shredded and once the tomatoes start ripening, we’re going to try making a salsa with some of the jalapeño peppers I grew.

We love canning our fresh tomatoes. We have come up with a combination of plum and cherry tomatoes to make a deliciously fresh and tasty sauce for pasta. The cherry tomatoes make it so sweet we don’t have to add anything else. It’s a lot of work blanching enough cherry tomatoes to make the sauce, but it is worth it. Dennis and I have a really good method going and it doesn’t take that long.

Canning is a great way to save the overabundance of your harvest. You can “can” almost anything. We use the hot bath method, but since we are getting more and more into canning, we may splurge and buy a nice pressure canner.

So far we have two different types of preserves, peaches, pickles, relish and tomatoes. We’ll be adding apples and apples sauce in the coming weeks. Come the long New England winter, we’ll be enjoying our harvest and thinking about summer.