Category Archives: Pickles

How to Make Dill Pickles

Pickles
Dill Pickles

Dill pickles are one of the easiest pickles to make. Cold-packed into hot sterilized jars, this recipe transforms tiny 3” – 4” cucumbers into tangy pickles that, for any dill lover, are the quintessential pickles to accompany many sandwiches and burgers.

This recipe is sized with the smaller household in mind. Many don’t have large storage capacity for big batches of pickles such as our ancestors made and stored in their cold rooms or cellars. Yet other households are comprised of only one or two people so they don’t need large batches of pickles but still want to have a taste of homemade goodness that comes from home preserving.

Dill Pickles
Dill Pickles

Freshness Counts with Pickling Cucumbers!

As with any pickle recipe, freshness of ingredients is key. That means the cucumbers should, ideally, be processed the same day they are picked from the vine or, certainly, within 24 hours. Otherwise, the cucumbers start to lose their flavour and get soft and punky and, as we all know, dill pickles are meant to have crunch.

Use Pickling Vinegar

It is very important to use vinegar which is made especially for the pickling process. It will usually have 7% acidity, making it stronger than table vinegar. This helps to preserve the pickles longer. Most large grocery stores will stock this vinegar, especially around “pickling time” in late summer or fall. The container should state that it is “pickling vinegar”.

Pickling Vinegar

Use Pickling Salt, Not Table Salt, in Pickles

One of the biggest tips I have for pickling is to never use table salt in the pickling process. Always use proper pickling salt. This is a coarse salt specifically for pickling and it will be marked as such on the package label. Apart from it being way too salty for pickling, iodized table salt can cause some discoloration of the cucumbers and will likely form a cloudy brine. The brine should be bright and clear. Table salt, because of its fine texture is too easily absorbed into the cucumbers, resulting in overly salty pickles. I can always tell if someone has used table salt in making pickles just by simply looking at the bottles of pickles – the contents of those bottles just do not have an appetizing look to them.

Coarse/Pickling Salt

Preparing the Jars 

The jars should be examined to ensure they are free of cracks, chips, and nicks. They should then be washed, rinsed, and sterilized. I sterilize mine in a pot of boiling hot water on the stove. Use a jar lifter to place the jars, upright in the water, holding each one steady until it fills with water. Bring the water back to a boil, reduce the heat slightly to prevent boil-overs, and boil the jars gently for 10 minutes from this point. Turn the heat to simmer and leave the jars in the water until they are ready to be filled with the cucumbers. The jars must be kept hot because, once filled, they will be going into a hot water bath and cold jars meeting up with boiling water will crack.

Making the Brine

The process I use to make my dill pickles is quite simple. This involves making a simple brine of equal parts of pickling vinegar and water along with some pickling salt, a bit of sugar, and some pickling spices. To keep the brine clear, bundle the pickling spice into a double (or triple) layer of cheesecloth. Gather up this little sachet and tie with string. Once this brine has simmered for about 15 minutes, discard the spice sachet and bayleaf. The brine is then ready to be poured over the cucumbers.

Spice Sachet
Preparing the Spice Sachet
Pickling Spice Sachet
Pickling Spice Sachet

Preparing the Cucumbers and Filling the Jars

The small 3” – 4” dill-sized cucumbers can be left whole or they can be sliced in two (or even quartered) lengthwise or they can be sliced into “coins”. Just note that the pickles are likely to have more crunch if the cucumbers are left whole. Make sure to trim the blossom end of each cucumber by 1/8” – these blossom tips have enzymes that can lead to limp, punky pickles. Pricking each cucumber 3-4 times with the tines of a fork will help the vinegar brine penetrate the cucumbers better resulting in more flavorful pickles.

Dill Pickles
Dill Pickles

The point where you start to place ingredients into the jars is the point where it is necessary to work along quickly because the jars cannot be allowed to get cold before they go into the hot water bath. Ensuring all ingredients and pickling equipment are laid out before starting the process and following a set order will help this process move along quickly.  Further along in this posting, you will find an outline of the step-by-step sequence I follow to quickly get the jars filled while they are still hot and then into the hot water bath.

A slightly smashed garlic clove along with some mustard seed and a whole clove are first placed in the bottom of each jar. Where, in the jars, the small bunch of feathery dill fronds and the umbrella-shaped seed head of the dill plant are placed is a matter of personal preference. I like to place the dill fronds on one side of the jar and the seed head on the opposite side. These can, of course, be placed on the bottom of the jar or the feathery dill fronds on the bottom and the dill head on top of the cucumbers. The taste will be the same. However, if you like your jars to have a nice appearance that immediately signifies they are dill pickles, placing the fronds and dill head so they are visible will do the trick!

Ensure the cucumbers are tightly packed, compactly, into the jars but not so tight that they are squished. Once all the ingredients are placed in the jar, pour the hot brine into each jar, leaving ½” head space at the top of each jar.  A chopstick, or small non-metal spatula, is useful to remove any air bubbles that may appear and more of the brine may need to be added, as necessary, to bring it to about ½“ from the jar rim.

Add a Grape Leaf to Keep the Dills Crunchy

I add a grape leaf on top of the cucumbers in each jar. This is an old trick to keep the cucumbers crisp – the tannin-rich grape leaves have enzymes that help to keep the cucumbers crunchy. Some say, with the removal of the blossom ends of the cucumbers, it is not necessary to add the grape leaves to the jars but I have access to them so I add them and my dill pickles always turn out super crunchy.

Heat the Jar Lids and Metal Ring Bands

Always use brand new metal jar lids; never re-use them for pickling purposes as their seal is only meant for single use. Check the metal ring bands (which can be re-used multiple times) to ensure they have no dents or nicks in them and there is no rust. The jar lids are heated in hot simmering water, just until they are hot and the gaskets softened —  3 – 4 minutes should do it. Heating the lids too long or in rapidly boiling water will weaken the rubber on them causing them not to seal properly. Wipe each jar rim with a clean, damp cloth before applying the lids, rubber side down, to the jar tops. Tighten the metal ring bands, fingertip tight. At this point, the dills are ready, without delay, for their hot water bath.

Heating Jar Lids
Heating Jar Lids

The Hot Water Bath

Processing the jars of dills stabilizes the contents for longer shelf life. Make sure the hot water canner is ready to go with the boiling water in it by the time you fill the jars. Load the filled jars into the metal basket that comes with the canner. The jars should remain upright during the hot water bath process and they should not touch each other. Once the basket is lowered into the boiling water, ensure the water level is at least 1” above the jar tops. Add more boiling water, if necessary, to bring the water to this level.

I recommend following your canner manufacturer’s instructions for the canning process as the length of time the jars need to be processed will depend on the altitude of your locale. Here on PEI, I process my half-pint jars of dills for 10 minutes and I start the timing from the time the hot water returns to a full rolling boil after the basket of jars has been placed in the canner of hot water. Once the 10 minutes is up, remove the jars, one by one, with a jar lifter and place them on a wire rack to finish cooling completely.

Listen for the “pop” or “ping” sound as the bottles seal. Sometimes, this will take place almost immediately and sometimes it can take a few hours. The lids of properly sealed jars will curve downward. Let the jars rest, undisturbed, on the wire cooling rack for 12 hours. Then, let the sealed jars stand in a cool, dark place for 6 weeks before opening. This gives time for the dill flavour to develop fully.

Dill Pickles
Dill Pickles

The Sequence

To help organize your work to make these pickles, I offer the following suggested order for the sequence so that the steps happen when they should and the hot jars do not have a chance to cool before they are filled and placed in the hot water bath.

  1. Fill the hot water canner with hot tap water, place it on the stove, and start the heating process to get it to the boiling point. Starting with hot tap water will reduce the amount of time it takes to get the large canner of water to a boil. Make sure the water is at the boiling point before the wire basket of filled bottles is placed in the canner.
  2. Heat a pot of boiling water to sterilize the jars. Wash jars. Boil them gently for at least 10 minutes. Keep them, at simmer level, in the hot water until they are needed for filling.
  3. Wash and cut blossom ends from cucumbers and prick each with tines of a fork, 3-4 times.
  4. Gather spices for the jars and prepare garlic cloves.
  5. Start making the brine.
  6. Make a quick trip to the garden to pick the fresh dill heads and fronds.
  7. As the brine is nearing completion, remove the sterilized jars from the hot water and place the garlic, spices, dill fronds and dill head in each jar. Pack in the cucumbers.
  8. Heat lids in small pan of hot water. Boil extra water in case it is needed to top up hot water canner to 1” above jar tops.
  9. Pour brine over cucumbers, remove air bubbles with a chopstick (or small non-metal spatula), and top up with more brine, as necessary. Add the grape leaf to top of each jar. Wipe the jar rims with clean damp cloth.
  10. Place lids and metal ring bands on jars. Place jars in canner basket and lower into canner of hot water. Add any additional water necessary to bring water level to 1” above jar lids. Cover. Bring canner water back to full rolling boil. Start timing the canning time from this point.
  11. Have wire rack set out for bottles as they come out of the canner.

Note: The garlic clove is likely to turn a blue-green-gray color. Don’t be alarmed by this – it’s just the effect of the acid from the vinegar coming into contact with the garlic.

Dill Pickles
Dill Pickles
[Printable recipe follows at end of posting]

Dill Pickles

Ingredients:

2 lbs – 3” – 4” pickling cucumbers, freshly picked and washed

1 tbsp pickling salt
1¼ cups + 1 tbsp pickling vinegar
1¼ cups + 1 tbsp water
2 tbsp granulated sugar
½ tbsp pickling spice, gathered into double (or triple) layer of cheesecloth and tied into spice sachet
1 bay leaf

3 – 4 whole cloves
1 tsp mustard seed, divided equally among the jars
3 – 4 small garlic cloves, slightly smashed
Fresh dill heads, one per jar along with small bunches of feathery dill fronds
Grape leaves, medium-sized, 1 per jar

3 – 4 half-pint jars, lids, and metal ring bands (the number of jars needed will depend on the size of the cucumbers, whether they are sliced or left whole, and how compactly they are fit into the jars)
1 chopstick

Method:

Wash and trim 1/8“ from blossom end of each cucumber. Prick cucumbers 3-4 times with tines of a fork. Leave cucumbers whole or cut into two or four spears, lengthwise (or slice into “coins”). Fill the canner with hot tap water and heat to boiling point while making the brine. Begin sterilizing the jars in large pot of hot water to have them ready when brine is heated.

To make the brine, combine the pickling salt, vinegar, water, sugar, pickling spice sachet, and bay leaf in small stockpot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Immediately reduce heat to low and cook brine, uncovered, for 15 minutes, stirring periodically. Remove from heat and discard pickling sachet and bay leaf.

Place 1 whole clove, ¼ to 1/3 teaspoon mustard seed (divide the teaspoon of seeds equally between number of jars used), and 1 small slightly smashed garlic clove in each hot, sterilized jar. Place a small bunch of feathery dill fronds along one side of the jar and one umbrella-shaped dill head on the opposite side of the jar. Fill the jars with the cucumbers, packing tightly (but not squashing them), and keeping the dill fronds and dill head in place against the sides of the jars.

Pour the hot brine into each jar, filling to within ½ inch from jar rim (head space). Use a chopstick (or small non-metal spatula) to remove any air bubbles that may have formed in the brine. Add more brine, if necessary, to bring it to ½“ from the jar rim. Add 1 grape leaf to top of each jar, pressing it below the surface of the brine, to keep cucumbers crisp. Wipe each jar rim with a clean, damp cloth. Seal the jars with heated lids. Screw on metal ring bands, fingertip tight.

Place jars in hot water bath basket, ensuring jars do not touch each other or fall over. Lower basket into canner of hot water. Ensure the water level is at least 1″ above the jar tops, adding more water as necessary. Cover with canner lid. Increase the heat to return the water to a rolling boil then decrease the heat to just keep the water at a rolling boil but not boiling over. Process half-pint jars in the hot water bath for 10 minutes, adjusting time for altitude. Start timing the processing from the point where a full rolling boil is reached after basket of jars has been added to the canner. Turn off heat and remove canner lid. Using a jar lifter, carefully remove the jars, one at a time, and transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely. Listen for the “pop” or “ping” sound as the bottles seal over the next few minutes or hours. The lids of properly sealed jars will curve downward. Let jars rest, undisturbed, on wire rack for 12 hours. For maximum dill flavour, let sealed jars stand in cool, dark place for 6 weeks before opening.

Yield:  Approximately 3- 4 half-pint jars

Dill Pickles

These easy-to-make dill pickles combine dill, garlic, and pickling spices to transform tiny cucumbers into crunchy pickles that, with their tangy flavour, are a great accompaniment to many sandwiches and burgers.
My Island Bistro Kitchen My Island Bistro Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs – 3” - 4” pickling cucumbers, freshly picked and washed
  • 1 tbsp pickling salt
  • cups + 1 tbsp pickling vinegar
  • cups + 1 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • ½ tbsp pickling spice, gathered into double (or triple) layer of cheesecloth and tied into spice sachet
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 - 4 whole cloves
  • 1 tsp mustard seed, divided equally among the jars
  • 3 – 4 small garlic cloves, slightly smashed
  • Fresh dill heads, one per jar along with small feathery dill fronds
  • Grape leaves, medium-sized, 1 per jar
  • 3 – 4 half-pint jars lids, and metal ring bands (the number of jars needed will depend on the size of the cucumbers, whether they are sliced or left whole, and how compactly they are fit into the jars)
  • 1 chopstick (or small non-metal spatula)

Instructions

  1. Wash and trim 1/8“ from blossom end of each cucumber. Prick cucumbers 3-4 times with tines of a fork. Leave cucumbers whole or cut into two or four spears, lengthwise (or slice into “coins”). Fill the canner with hot tap water and heat to boiling point while making the brine. Begin sterilizing the jars in large pot of hot water to have them ready when brine is heated.
  2. To make the brine, combine the pickling salt, vinegar, water, sugar, pickling spice sachet, and bay leaf in small stockpot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Immediately reduce heat to low and cook brine, uncovered, for 15 minutes, stirring periodically. Remove from heat and discard pickling sachet and bay leaf.
  3. Place 1 whole clove, ¼ to 1/3 teaspoon mustard seed (divide teaspoon of mustard seed equally between number of jars used), and 1 small slightly smashed garlic clove in each hot, sterilized jar. Place a small bunch of feathery dill fronds along one side of the jar and one umbrella-shaped dill head on the opposite side of the jar. Fill the jars with the cucumbers, packing tightly (but not squashing them), and keeping the dill fronds and dill head in place against the sides of the jars.

  4. Pour the hot brine into each jar, filling to within ½ inch from jar rim (head space). Use a chopstick (or small non-metal spatula) to remove any air bubbles that may have formed in the brine. Add more brine, if necessary, to bring it to ½“ from the jar rim. Add 1 grape leaf to top of each jar, pressing it below the surface of the brine, to keep cucumbers crisp. Wipe each jar rim with a clean, damp cloth. Seal the jars with heated lids. Screw on metal ring bands, fingertip tight.

  5. Place jars in hot water bath basket, ensuring jars do not touch each other or fall over. Lower basket into canner of hot water. Ensure the water level is at least 1" above the jar tops, adding more water as necessary. Cover with canner lid. Increase the heat to return the water to a rolling boil then decrease the heat to just keep the water at a rolling boil but not boiling over. Process half-pint jars in the hot water bath for 10 minutes, adjusting time for altitude. Start timing the processing from the point where a full rolling boil is reached after basket of jars has been added to the canner. At the end of the processing time, turn off heat and remove canner lid. Using a jar lifter, carefully remove the jars, one at a time, and transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely. Listen for the “pop” or “ping” sound as the bottles seal over the next few minutes or hours. The lids of properly sealed jars will curve downward. Let jars rest, undisturbed, on wire rack for 12 hours. For maximum dill flavour, let sealed jars stand in cool, dark place for 6 weeks before opening.

Recipe Notes

Yield: Approximately 3- 4 half-pint jars

Be sure to read blog posting that accompanies this recipe for more information on the procedure to make dill pickles.

For other great pickle, relish, and chow recipes from My Island Bistro Kitchen, click on the links below:

Mustard Pickles
Bread and Butter Pickles
Pickled Beets
Mustard Beans
Green Tomato Chow
Rhubarb Relish

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Dill Pickles
Dill Pickles

Best Pickled Beets Recipe

Pickled Beets
Pickled Beets

I so love pickled beets.  They are something I grew up with and I make them every year.  It’s a bit of a messy job but, oh, are the results so worth it!  I look upon these as vegetable candy!

Pickled beets are really nothing more than cooked beets bottled with a vinegar-sugar-spice syrup. That’s it.

For pickling, I recommend cylinder beets if you can get them. They are long and slender and slice nicely for fitting in to the jars and also for presentation.  Regular ball beets can, of course, be used for pickling and, in fact, that’s all my grandmothers would have used – just the regular garden variety.  However, some of the round beets grow quite large and the slices have to be cut into two or three pieces to get them to fit in the jars and they don’t look quite as nice for presentation….same great taste, though.

Beets take awhile to cook so patience is required for this exercise.  Try to select uniformly-sized ones so they all cook at the same rate. However, if you have a mixture of sizes, place the larger ones in the bottom of the pot and the smaller ones on top.

Don’t peel the beets before they are cooked. Simply remove the leaves, leaving about 1″ stem and the root end intact.  Removing the stem or root end will cause bleeding and the vegetable will lose its vibrant color during the cooking process. The stem ends get removed after cooking and the beets get peeled after they are cooked. In fact, the skins will usually just slip off the cooked beets.

Because these vegetables are a bit messy to deal with, I use a portable burner and cook them outside so there is less chance of beet-spattered walls and counter in my kitchen. They do stain surfaces. I add a couple of teaspoons of cooking oil to the water in which the beets are cooked as I find it helps to prevent them from boiling over.

When the beets are starting to get along with their cooking, start the syrup to cook in a separate smaller stockpot.  The syrup should cook for about 18-20 minutes at a slow boil.  Don’t boil it too rapidly or for too long as it will evaporate and there won’t be enough syrup to fill the jars. This means more syrup has to be made and the syrup needs to go over the hot beets so timing is everything. For instructions on how to make the spice sachet used in the syrup, visit my posting on making mustard pickles. I also recommend that pickling vinegar be used. It will usually have 7% acidity, making it stronger than table vinegar and will help to preserve the beets longer.

You can give the cooked beets a quick rinse under cold running water. It does make them a bit easier to handle. However, they have to be bottled hot so don’t over-do the rinsing. I recommend slicing the hot beets about 1/4″ thick. Pack them well into the hot sterilized jars, leaving about 1″ headroom. Ladle the hot syrup into the filled jars, filling each jar with the syrup to within 1/4″ from the top. Use a non-metal object to remove any air bubbles that may have formed in the jars and add more syrup, if necessary, to fill up the jars to about 1/4″ from the tops. Seal with heated lids and screw on the jar bands just until resistance is met.  For greatest food safety, it is recommended that the filled jars be processed in a hot water bath following your canner manufacturer’s directions for your local altitude.

Traditional PEI Christmas Dinner
Pickled Beets with Roast Turkey Dinner

We enjoy these tasty morsels with cooked dinners such as the traditional Thanksgiving and Christmas turkey dinners as well as with roast beef or pork dinners. They are also good served with cold meats.

Beets
Pickled Beets

[Printable Recipe follows at end of posting]

Best Pickled Beets

 Ingredients:

5 lbs cylinder beets, stem and root ends intact
Boiling water
2 tsp cooking oil

2¾ cups brown sugar
2¾ cups pickling vinegar
1 cup + 3 tbsp water
2¾ tsp pickling spice, tied into a small cheesecloth sachet
2 – 6” cinnamon sticks
¼ tsp salt

Method:
Remove the leaves from the beets, leaving about 1” stem in place.  Rinse under cold water to remove any clay.  In very large stock pot, place the larger beets on the bottom, then the smaller ones. Cover the beets with boiling water and add 2 tsp cooking oil.  Cover and cook over medium-high heat until beets are fork tender.

As beets are nearing the cooked stage, begin making the syrup by combining the sugar, vinegar, water, pickling spice sachet, cinnamon sticks, and salt into a small stockpot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Reduce heat to medium low and boil, uncovered, slowly for approximately 15-18 minutes.

Remove cooked beets from water, rinse quickly under cold water, peel, and remove and discard stem and root ends. Slice hot beets into ¼” thick slices and pack into sterilized jars, leaving 1” headroom.

Remove and discard the pickling spice sachet and cinnamon sticks from the syrup.  Ladle hot syrup over beets leaving ¼“ headroom.  Using a non-metal object, remove any air bubbles from the jars and add more syrup as necessary to fill jars to about ¼“ from the top. Wipe each jar rim clean with a damp cloth. Seal immediately with heated lids. Screw on jar bands just until resistance is met.

Process filled jars in hot water bath according to canner manufacturer’s directions for the proper time for your local altitude.

Yield:  Apx. 6 pints

For more of my pickle and chow recipes, follow these links:
Mustard Pickles
Bread and Butter Pickles
Green Tomato Chow
Mustard Beans
Dill Pickles

Best Pickled Beets Recipe

Yield: Apx 6 pints

These tasty sweet pickled beets are easy to make, showy in presentation, and are a fine accompaniment to many meals. A Prince Edward Island favorite.

Ingredients

  • 5 lbs cylinder beets, stem and root ends intact
  • Boiling water
  • 2 tsp cooking oil
  • 2¾ cups brown sugar
  • 2¾ cups pickling vinegar
  • 1 cup + 3 tbsp water
  • 2¾ tsp pickling spice, tied into a small cheesecloth sachet
  • 2 – 6” cinnamon sticks
  • ¼ tsp salt

Instructions

  1. Remove the leaves from the beets, leaving about 1” stem in place. Rinse under cold water to remove any clay. In very large stock pot, place the larger beets on the bottom, then the smaller ones. Cover the beets with boiling water and add 2 tsp cooking oil. Cover and cook over medium-high heat until beets are fork tender.
  2. As beets are nearing the cooked stage, begin making the syrup by combining the sugar, vinegar, water, pickling spice sachet, cinnamon sticks, and salt into a small stockpot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium low and boil, uncovered, slowly for approximately 15-18 minutes.
  3. Remove cooked beets from water, rinse quickly under cold water, peel, and remove and discard stem and root ends. Slice hot beets into ¼” thick slices and pack into sterilized jars, leaving 1” headroom.
  4. Remove and discard the pickling spice sachet and cinnamon sticks from the syrup. Ladle hot syrup over beets leaving ¼“ headroom. Using a non-metal object, remove any air bubbles from the jars and add more syrup as necessary to fill jars to about ¼“ from the top. Wipe each jar rim with a damp cloth. Seal immediately with heated lids. Screw on jar bands just until resistance is met.
  5. Process filled jars in hot water bath according to canner manufacturer’s directions for the proper time for your local altitude.
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Beets
Pickled Beets
Pickled Beets
Pickled Beets

Bread and Butter Pickles

One of my very favorite kinds of pickles are the traditional sweet Bread and Butter Pickles.  If I didn’t limit myself, I could sit down and eat an entire bottle of these pickles! They are especially good with sandwiches and burgers.

Bread and Butter Pickles
Bread and Butter Pickles

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These pickles are not hard to make but, like most pickled products, they are a bit time-consuming and, sometimes, finding the right ingredients can be a bit of a challenge.  The first challenge is to get the  cucumbers that are suitably-sized for bread and butter pickles.

Small Pickling Cucumbers
Small Pickling Cucumbers

These are small cucumbers (but bigger than those used to make dill pickles), about 6-7 inches long and only about 1 1/2″ to 2″ wide.  You don’t want to use large field cucumbers because they have too many seeds, meaning they will fall apart as opposed to holding their shape when sliced. As well, large slices of pickled cucumbers are not attractive to serve alongside a sandwich or burger.

To make quality pickles, fresh produce is needed.  I recommend using cucumbers that have not been picked any longer than 24 hours.  Cucumbers that have been picked for days start to get soft and “punky” and are not good for pickling because they have already started to deteriorate and lose their freshness. As well, the skin on the cucumbers will be very tough.

Ask for “bread and butter pickling cucumbers” at your local farm stand or market and the sellers should know what you mean. Be sure to ask when they were picked and check to make sure the cucumbers are firm to the touch. I bought mine at Balderston’s Farm Market in Stratford, PEI, and the big bin of the cucumbers had just been brought in from the field and were being bagged up while I was at the stand.

Give the cucumbers a good wash and then dry them off.

Trim and discard the cucumber ends but leave the peeling on for these pickles. Not only does the peeling give color and texture but it helps to hold the cucumber slices intact.

DSC00389 (1)

If you have a mandolin, it will make slicing the cucumbers easier and you will have uniformly-sized slices of cucumbers. I suggest cutting the cucumbers into either 3/16″ or 1/4″ thick slices, depending on how thin or thick you like pickle slices.  The 1/4″ thickness will help the pickles retain their shape the best.

I recommend using the small silver-skinned onions (often referred to as “pickling onions”) for these pickles because, when sliced, they will be about the same size in diameter as the cucumbers. I find these onions are somewhat stronger in flavour than the standard garden variety of onions.

Silver-skinned Onions
Silver-skinned Onions

Even if you don’t like onions, they really are needed to give these pickles flavour.

Use firm, blemish-free peppers – 1 red and 1 green – for this recipe and dice them up.

The green pepper contributes to the flavour and the red pepper adds a splash of color to the pickles (as well as taste).

Be sure to use pickling (coarse) salt, never table salt, for the soaking of these pickles. You should be able to find this salt in the same grocery aisle as regular table salt or at your bulk food store where it may be labeled as either “pickling” or “coarse” salt.

Coarse/Pickling Salt
Coarse/Pickling Salt

Once all the vegetables are cut up, place them in a large bowl or pot.

Sprinkle the vegetables with the pickling salt.

Give the vegetables a good stir to mix in the salt.

For the brine, you will need a total of about 5-6 dozen large ice cubes.  Completely cover the vegetables with a layer of ice cubes.  As these melt, they combine with the salt to make the brine in which the vegetables will soak for three hours at room temperature.  Make sure you have additional ice cubes to add to the vegetables as cubes melt. The key is to keep the vegetables ice cold as this will help the cucumbers retain their crispness.

Once the ice cubes melt, the vegetables will start to float in the water if they are not weighted down so I suggest placing another lightweight plastic bowl directly on top of the vegetables and ice cubes and weighting it down with a couple of frozen freezer packs which will also help to keep the vegetables cold. Be sure to cover this top bowl to keep the cold trapped inside.

DSC00523 (1)

After the vegetables have soaked for three hours at room temperature, drain them in one to two large colanders and discard any ice cubes that may still remain.

Give the vegetables a quick short rinse of fresh cold water. This will remove any salt residue that may remain. Don’t over-do the rinsing – just a quick rinse-off is all that is needed.

Drain the vegetables really well, letting them sit for at least 20 minutes or so.  If too much water is left in the vegetables, it will dilute the syrup and make for watery pickles. As they are draining, I often will scoop up a handful or two of the vegetables and move them around in the colander and then gently shake the colander to release any trapped water.

For any pickling, I recommend using vinegar that is specially labelled for pickling – it will usually have 7% acidity, making it stronger than table vinegar which will help to preserve the pickles longer.

Pickling Vinegar
Pickling Vinegar

The syrup is easy to make. There is no need to bundle up all the spices into a cheesecloth sachet for the syrup as it is perfectly fine to have the spices loose in the pickle jars. Just remove and discard the cinnamon stick before bottling the pickles. To make the syrup, simply combine all the syrup ingredients in a large stock pot and bring it to a boil over medium-high heat.

Once the syrup has reached the boiling point, add the drained vegetables.

Bring the mixture back to the boiling point, occasionally stirring the vegetables. Once it reaches the boiling point, remove the pot from the heat.  All this process aims to do is to heat the vegetables and they should not be cooked until they are soft – these pickles are meant to be crispy. Overcooking will make them soft and punky.

Some use the sanitizing cycle on their dishwashers to sterilize the jars. I’m still using the old traditional method of sterilizing the jars in hot water. The jars must be hot when they are filled with the vegetables.

Sterilizing Jars
Sterilizing Jars

Use a slotted spoon to gather up the vegetables and place them in the hot sterilized jars. A wide-mouthed funnel is useful for this process. Fill the jars, leaving about 1″ headroom in each.

Pour the hot syrup into the jars and over the vegetables, leaving about 1/2″ headroom in each bottle. Remove any air bubbles that may appear in the jars by inserting knife into each bottle and gently moving vegetables to allow liquid to fill any pockets of air that may have formed.

Wipe the tops of the jars with a clean, damp cloth to remove any syrup.  Seal immediately with heated lids. Screw on jar bands just until resistance is met.

Process filled jars in hot water bath according to canner manufacturer’s directions for the proper time for your local altitude.

Cool jars completely and listen for the “ping/pop” sound that will tell you that the jar is sealed.  This may happen quickly or it can take several hours. The lids should also have an inward dent in the center of their tops if they have sealed to the jars properly. If a lid has not made the “popping/pinging” sound and is not dented inward, store the jar in the refrigerator and use it first.

Store the jars in a cool, dark area.

How many jars of pickles you get from this batch will be determined by how tightly or loosely you pack the cucumbers into the jars. This will also dictate how much syrup is used, too.

Bread and Butter Pickles
Bread and Butter Pickles
Bread and Butter Pickles
Bread and Butter Pickles
Bread and Butter Pickles

Ingredients:

6 – 6½ lbs small pickling cucumbers, peeling on, sliced either 3/16”  or 1/4″ thick
4 cups silver-skinned onions, peeled and thinly sliced
1 red pepper, diced
1 green pepper, diced
½ cup pickling salt
5-6 dozen ice cubes

Syrup:
5 cups white sugar
1 tsp tumeric
1 tbsp mustard seed
1 tsp celery seed
3 cups pickling white vinegar
½ cinnamon stick

Method:

Wash the cucumbers and trim and discard their ends. Slice the cucumbers either 3/16″ or 1/4″ thick, depending on the desired thickness of the pickle slices. Slice onions and dice the peppers. Combine the sliced cucumbers, onions, and peppers in a large bowl. Sprinkle pickling salt over vegetables. Stir mixture with a large wooden spoon to distribute the pickling salt. Completely cover mixture with a layer of ice cubes. Place a large bowl over the vegetables and weigh it down with a weight (a couple of freezer ice packs work well) to keep the vegetables soaking in the brine. Let sit at room temperature for 3 hours, adding more ice cubes as they melt to ensure vegetables are kept cold.

Drain vegetables into 1-2 large colanders and rinse with cold water to remove any salt residue. Drain again for several minutes.

In large stock pot, combine all of the syrup ingredients. Bring the syrup to the boiling point over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Add the vegetables. Bring the mixture just to the boiling point, stirring occasionally. Remove pot from heat.

Using a slotted spoon, fill hot sterilized jars with the vegetables leaving 1” headroom in each bottle. Pour hot syrup into the bottles, leaving ½” headroom in each bottle. Remove any air bubbles that may appear in the jars by inserting knife into each bottle and gently moving vegetables to allow liquid to fill any pockets of air that may have formed.

With clean, damp cloth, wipe clean each jar rim. Seal immediately with heated lids. Screw on jar bands just until resistance is met.

Process filled jars in hot water bath according to canner manufacturer’s directions for the proper time for your local altitude.

Store jars in cool dark area.

Yield: Apx. 7-9 pint bottles


For other great pickle, chow, and relish recipes from My Island Bistro Kitchen, click on the links below:

Mustard Pickles
Pickled Beets
Mustard Beans
Green Tomato Chow
Rhubarb Relish
Dill Pickles

Thank you for visiting “the Bistro” today.  If you enjoyed this posting and recipe, please share it on your social media websites.

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Bread and Butter Pickles

Yield: 7-9 pint bottles

Ingredients

  • 6 – 6½ lbs small pickling cucumbers, peeling on, sliced either 3/16” or 1/4" thick
  • 4 cups silver-skinned onions, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • ½ cup pickling salt
  • 5-6 dozen ice cubes
  • Syrup:
  • 5 cups white sugar
  • 1 tsp tumeric
  • 1 tbsp mustard seed
  • 1 tsp celery seed
  • 3 cups pickling white vinegar
  • ½ cinnamon stick

Instructions

  1. Wash the cucumbers and trim and discard their ends. Slice the cucumbers either 3/16" or 1/4" thick, depending on the desired thickness of the pickle slices. Slice onions and dice the peppers. Combine the sliced cucumbers, onions, and peppers in a large bowl. Sprinkle pickling salt over vegetables. Stir mixture with a large wooden spoon to distribute the pickling salt. Completely cover mixture with a layer of ice cubes. Place a large bowl over the vegetables and weigh it down with a weight (a couple of freezer ice packs work well) to keep the vegetables soaking in the brine. Let sit at room temperature for 3 hours, adding more ice cubes as they melt to ensure vegetables are kept cold.
  2. Drain vegetables into 1-2 large colanders and rinse with cold water to remove any salt residue. Drain again for several minutes.
  3. In large stock pot, combine all of the syrup ingredients. Bring the syrup to the boiling point over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Add the vegetables. Bring the mixture just to the boiling point, stirring occasionally. Remove pot from heat.
  4. Using a slotted spoon, fill hot sterilized jars with the vegetables leaving 1” headroom in each bottle. Pour hot syrup into the bottles, leaving ½” headroom in each bottle. Remove any air bubbles that may appear in the jars by inserting knife into each bottle and gently moving vegetables to allow liquid to fill any pockets of air that may have formed. Seal jars with sterilized lids and metal screw bands. Store in refrigerator or in cold storage room. For longer storage, or if storing outside a cold/refrigerated environment, process the pickle jars in a hot water bath following the canner manufacturer's directions.
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Bread and Butter Pickles
Bread and Butter Pickles

Mustard Beans

We have had an abundance of yellow wax string beans this year.  They were late producing but they sure made up for their tardiness.

DSCN1015-001

We can only eat so many fresh beans so one way of preserving them is to make mustard beans.  This is similar to mustard pickles which are made with cucumbers.

Mustard beans are actually quite easy and quick to make.  The beans are par-cooked in boiling water, drained, then added to a mustard sauce . The trick is to cook the beans just until they are barely fork tender as, otherwise, they will become soggy and tough. The beans should still hold their shape but not be extremely hard when you bite into them.

Mustard beans are a great addition to many meals; we use them just like we would mustard pickles.  They are simply a different texture and I make the mustard sauce a wee bit differently.

Mustard Beans

Ingredients:

1 lb yellow wax beans, cut into 1½” lengths (apx. 4 cups)
1½ – 2 cups boiling water
½ tsp table salt

1½ cups white vinegar
1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1½ tbsp dry mustard
½ tsp celery seed
1½ tsp tumeric
½ tsp. ground ginger
½ tsp table salt

Method:

In medium-sized pot and over medium-high heat, bring beans to a boil in salted boiling water. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook beans just until they are barely fork tender. Drain.

In large pot, heat 1 cup of the vinegar to the boiling point.

Combine sugars, flour, mustard, spices, and salt in bowl. Mix well. Add remaining 1/2 cup of vinegar to make a paste. Add and stir in 2-3 tablespoons of the hot vinegar to the mixture to temper it and then pour all the sauce ingredients into the hot vinegar in the large pot.

Add drained beans. Stir gently to coat beans with sauce. Bring to a boil over medium heat, continuing to stir mixture so it does not scorch. Once it reaches the boiling point, remove pot from heat and fill hot sterilized jars with the beans, leaving ¼“ headroom in each bottle. Seal. Store in refrigerator.

Yield: Apx. 4 half pints

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Mustard Beans

Yield: Apx. 4 half pints

Ingredients

  • 1 lb yellow wax beans, cut into 1½” lengths (apx. 4 cups)
  • 1½ - 2 cups boiling water
  • ½ tsp table salt
  • 1½ cups white vinegar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1½ tbsp dry mustard
  • ½ tsp celery seed
  • 1½ tsp tumeric
  • ½ tsp. ground ginger
  • ½ tsp table salt

Instructions

  1. In medium-sized pot and over medium-high heat, bring beans to a boil in salted boiling water. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook beans just until they are barely fork tender. Drain.
  2. In large pot, heat 1 cup of the vinegar to the boiling point.
  3. Combine sugars, flour, mustard, spices, and salt in bowl. Mix well. Add remaining ½ cup of vinegar to make a paste. Add and stir in 2-3 tablespoons of the hot vinegar to the mixture to temper it and then pour all the sauce ingredients into the hot vinegar in the large pot.
  4. Add drained beans. Stir gently to coat beans with sauce. Bring to a boil over medium heat, continuing to stir mixture so it does not scorch. Once it reaches the boiling point, remove pot from heat and fill hot sterilized jars with the beans, leaving ¼“ headroom in each bottle. Seal. Store in refrigerator or cold storage room.
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For other great pickle and relish recipes from My Island Bistro Kitchen, click on the links below:

Mustard Pickles
Dill Pickles
Bread and Butter Pickles
Rhubarb Relish
Green Tomato Chow
Pickled Beets

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Green Tomato Chow

By now, most gardeners probably have tomatoes spilling out of their gardens.

Do you have an abundance of green tomatoes you’re wondering what to do with?  Today, I am sharing my recipe for Green Tomato Chow (recipe follows at end of posting), a tasty condiment that makes good use of green tomatoes.

Bottles of Green Tomato Chow Surrounded by Green Tomatoes
Green Tomato Chow
Green Tomato Chow

 

I grew up with chow being made every fall. It’s a great condiment to serve with cold meats, baked beans, stews, casseroles, chicken and meat pies, hot chicken/beef/turkey dinners, and, of course, if you are a Maritimer, with fish cakes.

Green Tomato Chow with Fish Cakes, Baked Beans, and a Homemade Biscuit
Green Tomato Chow with Fish Cakes, Baked Beans, and a Homemade Biscuit

Chow is not difficult to make but, like any pickling and preserving, it can be a bit time-consuming since the vegetables have to be cut up and soaked for several hours (either all day or all night), then slowly simmered until cooked.  Making chow is not something that can be rushed.

Green Tomato Chow
Green Tomato Chow

The first thing you need to do is gather up all the ingredients and equipment you will need. Chow is basically nothing more than green tomatoes, onions, celery, red pepper, vinegar, sugar, and spices along with some pickling salt.  No out of the ordinary ingredients. A list of equipment and utensils needed to make the chow can be found further down in this post.

You can use regular white vinegar for this recipe but I recommend using the pickling vinegar which is stronger.

Any kind of green tomatoes will make good chow. The ones I’ve used are just the basic garden variety of tomatoes.  It’s usually a case of whatever green tomatoes are available in the garden!

Some cooks cut the tomatoes crosswise into slices.  I cut mine into chunks. Either works.  You don’t, however, want to chop the vegetables up too finely as it will start to resemble more of a relish than a chow.

Cut up the onions, celery, and red pepper.

Place all the vegetables into a large bowl.

The vegetables need to be soaked for 7-8 hours in a salt brine.  Be sure to use pickling salt, not regular table salt (see my posting on mustard pickles for explanation).  It’s important to ensure that the salt is completely dissolved in water before pouring it over the vegetables.  You will need enough salted cold water to completely cover the vegetables to soak.  I use a ratio of 1/2 cup pickling salt to 4 cups of water.

Pour the salt brine over the vegetables and set the mixture aside to soak for 7 – 8 hours.

Drain the vegetables into a large colander.

Under cold running water, quickly rinse the vegetables to remove any salt residue.  Swish the vegetables around to ensure that all are rinsed off.

You’ll want to get as much water drained out of the vegetables as possible so let them sit in the colander for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. You may want to carefully stir the vegetables around in the colander periodically during this period to ensure better drainage.

Meanwhile, prepare the spice sachet.  I make a small cheesecloth sachet by doubling, or even folding the open weave cheesecloth over 3-4 times, and then placing the pickling spice mixture in the centre.  The sides of the cheesecloth are then gathered up and tied with kitchen string or very strong thread. The whole spices need to be corralled in a sachet as, well, it’s not a very pleasant experience to unexpectedly bite into a whole clove in the chow, for example!  I buy a pickling spice mix at my local bulk foods store.  If you can’t find a product labelled “pickling spice” in your area, you can always make your own.  In my mustard pickle posting I give an explanation of spices typically included in a pickling spice mix. This sachet will get dropped into the stockpot and infuse flavor into the chow base as the chow cooks.

Into a large stockpot, place the sugars, spices, and vinegar.  Stir well.

Drop in the spice sachet and bring mixture to a boil.

Add the drained vegetables and return mixture to a boil, then immediately reduce heat to medium-low.

Cook until vegetables are cooked, somewhat translucent, and the mixture is slightly thickened. Stir mixture occasionally to make sure it is not sticking to the bottom of the pot.

While the chow is cooking, start the bottle sterilization process.  Again, refer to my mustard pickle posting for details on this and the proper canning jars to use.

Once the chow is cooked and thickened, remove it from the heat and remove and discard the pickling spice sachet.  Bottle the chow while it is hot into the hot, sterilized bottles.  With clean, damp cloth, wipe  each jar rim to remove any sticky chow residue. Seal immediately with heated lids. Screw on jar bands just until resistance is met.

Process filled jars immediately in a hot water bath. I process my half-pint jars for 10 minutes (at a rolling boil) but you should refer to the canner manufacturer’s directions for the proper time for your local altitude. Cool the jars, undisturbed, on the counter for 24 hours and then store them in cool, dark place. Let chow age for at least 2 weeks before serving.

Green Tomato Chow
Green Tomato Chow

 

Chow making, like pickling, is a process and takes time. Make sure you read through the recipe several times before making the recipe to ensure understanding of the process and sequencing involved.

You will need the following equipment to make this chow:

Digital Scales for weighing tomatoes
7 pint-sized glass canning jars
7 – two-piece lid and screw band sets (lids must be brand new and not previously used)
Cheesecloth for making spice sachet and kitchen string for tying sachet

Large measuring cup or bowl for mixing salt water brine
Large bowl for soaking vegetables in salt water brine
Large colander for draining vegetables
Large heavy-bottomed stock pot for cooking chow
Large pot for sterilizing jars
Small saucepan for heating jar lids
Water bath canner with basket
Jar lifter tongs
Wide-mouthed canning funnel
Ladle or heat-proof glass measuring cup
Chopstick or small heat-proof spatula
Magnetic lid lifter
A timer

Green Tomato Chow

Ingredients:

3 lbs green tomatoes, chopped into chunks
3¼ cups onions, chopped
1 cup celery, sliced
½ cup sweet red pepper, diced
Apx. 1 cup pickling salt

Combine all ingredients into a large bowl. Using the ratio of ½ cup pickling salt to 4 cups cold water, cover ingredients completely with salted water. Add as much salted water as necessary to cover the vegetables. For this amount of vegetables, you will likely need at least 1 cup pickling salt dissolved in 8 cups water. Make sure the pickling salt is thoroughly dissolved in the water before pouring over vegetables. Let vegetables soak at room temperature for 7-8 hours. Drain vegetables in large colander. Quickly rinse vegetables with cold water to remove any traces of salted water residue on vegetables. Let vegetables drain in colander for 1 to 1½ hours, gently stirring the vegetables periodically for better drainage.

4 cups pickling vinegar
3 cups brown sugar, lightly packed
1 cup granulated sugar
1½ – 2 tbsp pickling spice tied into a small pickling spice sachet made with cheesecloth
¼ tsp tumeric
¼ tsp dry mustard

Method:

Combine vinegar, sugars, and spices into a large stockpot. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Add the drained vegetables and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook mixture slowly for1 to 1½ hours until vegetables are cooked, somewhat translucent, and mixture is slightly thickened. Stir periodically.

While chow mixture is cooking, start the bottle sterilization process. Wash jars and lids in hot soapy water. Quickly wash the lids and do not let them stay in the hot dish water as, once heated enough to soften the rubber sealing compound and then cooled, they are no longer effective. Rinse jars and lid. (The lids will be heated to soften the rubber sealing compound at the time of bottling.)

Fill a large-sized pot about two-thirds full of hot tap water. Place the jars, upright, into the water. Ensure the jars are fully submerged, each jar filled with water, and that the water is at least an inch over the tops of the jars, adding more if necessary. Cover, bring to a boil, and boil gently for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to simmer and leave the jars in the hot water to have ready to fill once the chow is ready for bottling.

Fill the canner a good half full of hot tap water. Cover and bring to a boil to have it ready for processing of the filled jars. Once it comes to a full boil, reduce heat to keep the water gently boiling.

When the chow is ready to be bottled, use jar lifter tongs to carefully remove the hot sterilized jars from the water, one at a time, emptying the water from the jars back into the pot. Drain jars well.

Remove a small amount of the hot water from the stockpot in which the jars were sterilized and place in small saucepan over simmering heat. Place the lids in the hot water for just a few minutes to soften the rubber sealing compound. Do not boil the lids.

Boil a kettle of water to have ready to top up water in the canner, if needed, once the filled jars are added.

Remove and discard spice sachet from chow. Using a ladle, or a heat-proof glass measuring cup, and a wide-mouthed canning funnel, fill the hot sterilized jars with the chow, leaving about 1/2” headroom in each jar to allow for expansion during the hot water processing. Remove any trapped air bubbles in the jars with a chopstick or small heatproof spatula. Wipe the jar rims with a clean damp cloth to remove any stickiness that could prevent the lids from sealing properly to the jars.

Using a magnetic lid lifter, remove lids from the hot water and center the heated lids on jars so the sealing compound on the lid edges aligns with the jar rims. Fingertip tighten the ring/screw bands until resistance is encountered. Do not over-tighten.

Using jar lifter tongs, carefully place filled jars upright in the canner’s wire basket positioned in the canner, ensuring jars do not touch each other or fall over. Ensure the water level is at least 1” above the tops of jars, adding more boiling water as necessary. Cover with canner lid. Increase the heat to return the water to a full rolling boil then decrease the heat to just keep the water at a moderately rolling boil but not boiling over. Process jars in the hot water bath for 10 minutes, adjusting time as and if necessary, for higher altitudes. Start timing the processing from the point at which a full rolling boil is reached after filled jars have been added to the canner. At the end of the processing time, turn off heat and remove canner lid.

Let jars sit in the hot water for 5 minutes then, using jar lifter tongs, carefully remove the jars filled with chow, upright and one at a time, and transfer them to a heat-proof cutting board, that has been covered with a towel, to cool completely. Listen for the “pop” or “ping” sound as the bottles seal over the next few minutes or hours. The lids of properly sealed jars will curve downward.

Let jars rest, undisturbed, on counter for 24 hours. Cover jars with towel to keep light out. Then, after 24 hours, test each jar for proper sealing by pressing down on the center of each jar lid. If the lid is already pressed downward, and does not pop back up, it is properly sealed. Any jars that do not pass this test should be refrigerated and the chow used within a week or so. Store properly sealed chow bottles in cool, dark place. Refrigerate chow once jar has been opened.

For best flavor, let chow age for at least 2 weeks before serving.

Yield:  Apx. 6 – 7 half-pint jars.

If you have made this recipe and enjoyed it and/or wish to share it with your friends and family, please do so on social media but be sure to share the direct link to this posting from my website.

Green Tomato Chow

This Green Tomato Chow is a sweet yet slightly tangy condiment. Lovely served with many meals, it is superb served with fish cakes.

Course Condiment
Cuisine Canadian
Keyword chow, Green Tomato Chow
My Island Bistro Kitchen Barbara99

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs green tomatoes, chopped into chunks
  • cups onions, chopped
  • 1 cup celery, sliced
  • ½ cup sweet red pepper, diced
  • Apx. 1 cup pickling salt
  • Combine all ingredients into a large bowl. Using the ratio of ½ cup pickling salt to 4 cups cold water, cover ingredients completely with salted water. Add as much salted water as necessary to cover the vegetables. For this amount of vegetables, you will likely need at least 1 cup pickling salt dissolved in 8 cups water. Make sure the pickling salt is thoroughly dissolved in the water before pouring over vegetables. Let vegetables soak at room temperature for 7-8 hours. Drain vegetables in large colander. Quickly rinse vegetables with cold water to remove any traces of salted water residue on vegetables. Let vegetables drain in colander for 1 to 1½ hours. Gently stir the vegetables periodically for better drainage.
  • 4 cups pickling vinegar
  • 3 cups brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1½ - 2 tbsp pickling spice tied into a small pickling spice sachet made with cheesecloth
  • ¼ tsp tumeric
  • ¼ tsp dry mustard

Instructions

  1. Combine vinegar, sugars, and spices into a large stockpot. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Add the drained vegetables and bring just to the boiling point. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook mixture, uncovered, slowly for 1 to 1½ hours, until vegetables are cooked, somewhat translucent, and mixture is slightly thickened. Stir periodically.

  2. While chow mixture is cooking, start the bottle sterilization process. Wash jars and lids in hot soapy water. Quickly wash the lids and do not let them stay in the hot dish water as, once heated enough to soften the rubber sealing compound and then cooled, they are no longer effective. Rinse jars and lids. (The lids will later be heated to soften the rubber sealing compound at the time of bottling.)

  3. Fill a large-sized pot about two-thirds full of hot tap water. Place the jars, upright, into the water. Ensure the jars are fully submerged, each jar filled with water, and that the water is at least an inch over the tops of the jars, adding more if necessary. Cover, bring to a boil, and boil gently for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to simmer and leave the jars in the hot water to have ready to fill once the chow is ready for bottling.

  4. Fill the canner a good half full of hot tap water. Cover and bring to a boil to have it ready for processing of the filled jars. Once it comes to a full boil, reduce heat to keep the water gently boiling.
  5. When the chow is ready to be bottled, use jar lifter tongs to carefully remove the hot sterilized jars from the water, one at a time, emptying the water from the jars back into the pot. Drain jars well.
  6. Remove a small amount of the hot water from the stockpot in which the jars were sterilized and place in small saucepan over simmering heat. Place the lids in the hot water for a few minutes to soften the rubber sealing compound. Do not boil the lids.

  7. Boil a kettle of water to have ready to top up water in the canner, if needed, once the filled jars are added.
  8. Remove and discard spice sachet from chow. Using a ladle, or a heat-proof glass measuring cup, and a wide-mouthed canning funnel, fill the hot sterilized jars with the chow, leaving about 1/2” headroom in each jar to allow for expansion during the hot water processing. Remove any trapped air bubbles in the jars with a chopstick or small heatproof spatula. Wipe the jar rims with a clean damp cloth to remove any stickiness that could prevent the lids from sealing properly to the jars.

  9. Using a magnetic lid lifter, remove lids from the hot water and center the heated lids on jars so the sealing compound on the lid edges aligns with the jar rims. Fingertip tighten the ring/screw bands until resistance is encountered. Do not over-tighten.
  10. Using jar lifter tongs, carefully place filled jars upright in the canner's wire basket positioned in the canner, ensuring jars do not touch each other or fall over. Ensure the water level is at least 1” above the tops of jars, adding more boiling water as necessary. Cover with canner lid. Increase the heat to return the water to a full rolling boil then decrease the heat to just keep the water at a moderately rolling boil but not boiling over. Process jars in the hot water bath for 10 minutes, adjusting time as and if necessary, for higher altitudes. Start timing the processing from the point at which a full rolling boil is reached after jars have been added to the canner. At the end of the processing time, turn off heat and remove canner lid.

  11. Let jars sit in the hot water for 5 minutes then, using jar lifter tongs, carefully remove the jars filled with chow, upright and one at a time, and transfer them to a heat-proof cutting board, that has been covered with a towel, to cool completely. Listen for the “pop” or “ping” sound as the bottles seal over the next few minutes or hours. The lids of properly sealed jars will curve downward. Let jars rest, undisturbed, on counter for 24 hours. Cover jars with towel to keep light out. Then, after 24 hours, test each jar for proper sealing by pressing down on the center of each jar lid. If the lid is already pressed downward, and does not pop back up, it is properly sealed. Any jars that do not pass this test should be refrigerated and the chow used within a week or so. Store properly sealed chow bottles in cool, dark place. Refrigerate chow once jar has been opened.
  12. For best flavor, let chow age for at least 2 weeks before serving.

Recipe Notes

Yield:  Apx. 6 – 7 half-pint jars. Exact yield will depend on how much the chow is cooked down.

Green Tomato Chow
Green Tomato Chow

 

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For other great pickle and relish recipes from My Island Bistro Kitchen, click on the links below:

Mustard Pickles
Dill Pickles
Bread and Butter Pickles
Rhubarb Relish
Mustard Beans 
Pickled Beets
Rhubarb and Mango Chutney

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Chow

Homemade Green Tomato Chow

 

 

Thank you for visiting “the Bistro” today.

This post was last updated on September 16, 2022

 

 

Rhubarb Relish

Rhubarb Relish
Rhubarb Relish

There is nothing like homemade relish, all natural and no preservatives.  Today, I am sharing my recipe for Rhubarb Relish which makes good use of the fresh rhubarb when it is in season.

This is a very versatile relish as it can be used as a spread on meat sandwiches as it complements many meats well.  It can also be served over chicken breasts, grilled pork chops, or even fish.  Having this relish on hand makes meal preparation easy as you don’t have to prepare a sauce from scratch and you don’t need to open a store-bought version that will not have the same taste and is probably full of some kind of preservatives.

This recipe does not take any unusual ingredients. However, some knowledge and experience with pickling and preserving methods as well as the canning procedure is required.

May 2022 Update: If you are unfamiliar with the bottle sterilization and canning process at all, you may find such information contained in my recipe for Rosy Rhubarb Jelly useful. In that recipe, I give a substantially detailed description of those processes. Click here to access that recipe. For the Rhubarb Relish, I process the half-pint (1-cup) jars in the hot water bath for 10 minutes.

My Island Bistro Kitchen’s Rhubarb Relish

Ingredients:

2 cups rhubarb, cut in about 1/2″ pieces
2 cups onion, chopped
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice
dash cayenne
1/8 tsp pepper
1/2 tbsp grated orange rind
1/2 cup cider vinegar

Method:

Wash and chop rhubarb into 1/2″ pieces.

Assemble ingredients.

In a medium-sized saucepan, combine all ingredients.

Stir.

Bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat.  Immediately reduce heat to medium-low and simmer gently, uncovered, until mixture reduces and thickens.  Stir occasionally.  Be patient.  This will take at least 1 1/2 – 2 hours.

Remove from heat.

Bottle into sterilized jars while relish is still hot.  Seal.  Finger-tip tighten jar lids. Process in hot water bath according to manufacturer’s directions.

Yield:  Apx. 3 cups

Rhubarb Relish
Rhubarb Relish

Serving Suggestion:

Grill pork chops.  Plate.  Top pork chop with 1 to 1 1/2 tbsp rhubarb relish.

Serve with baked potato and favorite vegetable.

Grilled Pork Chop topped with Rhubarb Relish and Served with Baked PEI Potato and Buttered Carrots
Grilled Pork Chop topped with Rhubarb Relish and Served with Baked PEI Potato and Buttered Carrots

 

My Island Bistro Kitchen’s Rhubarb Relish

A versatile relish that makes good use of rhubarb while in season. Great condiment to serve with meats.
Course Condiment
Cuisine Canadian
Keyword relish, rhubarb, rhubarb relish
My Island Bistro Kitchen Barbara99

Ingredients

  • 2 cups rhubarb, cut in about 1/2″ pieces
  • 2 cups onion, chopped
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • dash cayenne
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp grated orange rind
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar

Instructions

  1. Wash and chop rhubarb into 1/2″ pieces.
  2. Assemble ingredients.
  3. In a medium-sized saucepan, combine all ingredients.
  4. Stir.
  5. Bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Immediately reduce heat to medium-low and simmer gently, uncovered, until mixture reduces and thickens. Stir occasionally. Be patient. This will take at least 1 1/2 – 2 hours.
  6. Remove from heat.
  7. Bottle into sterilized jars while relish is still hot. Seal. Finger-tip tighten jar lids. Process in hot water bath according to manufacturer’s directions.

Recipe Notes

Yield: Apx. 3 cups

 

NOTE: For additional detail, be sure to read the blog post that accompanies this recipe.

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Rhubarb Relish
Rhubarb Relish

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