Our morning

This morning we headed out the the garden to see what was going on: apparently a lot more than I realized.  We spent probably an hour picking, and then came back into the house to do something with all of our bounty.

First on the agenda was sweet relish.  The kids diced about a dozen cucumbers.  Into that I added diced onion, sweet pepper, grated zucchini and typical sweet pickle seasonings:  turmeric, cloves, mustard, celery seed, sugar, and vinegar.  Then we heated the mixture to boiling, ladled it in pint jars, and ran them through the canner to seal them up.  We got a dozen pints today.

Next came sweet pickles.  The knife work is less time consuming, and you soak the slices in salted ice water for a few hours before canning, but the recipe after that is very similar to relish.  Today we got 10 pints of pickles.  I didn’t get them into the canner until after VBS this evening, but they’re finally done– hooray!

My 5yo begged and pleaded to be allowed to help slice cucumbers, but I wasn’t quite ready to hand her a sharp knife.  So she got the job of cutting the ends off the green beans with a butter knife, which she handled very skillfully.  Once the beans were ready, I just stuck them on a big cookie sheet in a single layer to freeze.  It might have been more ideal to blanch the beans before freezing, but that was all I had energy for today.  Tomorrow I’ll scoop them into quart ziplocks and return them to the freezer.  Nice to be getting a stash of food stored away for the winter!


  1. Now I am wishing I had weeded that garden I planted this year. Haha! No chance of me canning anything!

    What are those little things lowest in the picture? They look like itty-bitty cantaloupes. Is that a trick of the eye that they seem so tiny and cute or are they something else?

    Have fun at VBS!

  2. I wish I knew how to can. I might have to look into it for next year. Maybe we’ll have a garden & do some canning!

  3. Hey there sounds like you had a excelent rummage in the garden. I have been prepping for the winter here too. been making blackbery jame and I am so proud of my efforts.
    Have used this recipie and so far no failures
    weight you blackberries and then put in just under equall weight of preserving sugar.
    mash the berries down a little then add the sugar set asside fro about an hour or so. then take 2 lemons roll them arounmd on the work surface till they are good and soft and then squeeze the juce of the lemons into the jam mix giving it a gental stir. pop into a pan on the stove heat until a rolling boil skimming off the scum, then all you have to to is pop them in jars. works a treat even the batch i forgot to test the setting point on set.
    all the best

  4. Outstanding day! I’m busy with tomatoes just now, and am waiting to see if my peppers turn red before picking them. They’ll go into the freezer for winter food preparation.

    Have a good day! And it looks as if your 5 year old did a fine job.

    • Susan B-A says:

      Do you freeze your peppers whole or sliced?

      • Susan, FWIW, I slice them. But the texture isn’t really wonderful frozen, however you do it. I think they’re actually better pickled.


        • Susan B-A says:

          Thanks, Mary. I’ve done both freezing and pickling but was hoping to find a way to make salsa fresca in the winter that tastes as lovely as it does in the summer. It’s a dream, I know! 🙂

          • Actually, I do canned salsa that is pretty darned good — I think the recipe is on my blog– and I know that people freeze salsa as well…but of course fresh is always best!

          • Susan B-A says:

            Hmmm…are the frozen recipes different from the canned ones? I’ll hunt down your canned recipe here (or is it in the cookbook?)but I’d love to try a frozen version, too!

  5. Susan B-A says:

    Canning always makes me feel attached to the women in my family that have gone before me. The simple act of “laying by” some of summer’s produce for “when the winter is cold and the snow is deep” connects me to all the mothers and grandmothers who for centuries have cared for their families by making sure there would be good food to eat all year. Your children are so fortunate that you are building that connection for them!

  6. Would you share the recipes for the pickles and relish? I am starting to get into canning and hope to can a bunch this summer fall so any recipes tips you have would be great!

  7. I love the idea of adding the zucchini to the relish. Might need to try that as I have plenty of everything.