First Canning of 2014!

The first indication that summer is here is the first large basket full of the day’s harvest. But you really know it’s summer when you pull out your canning pot and utensils for the first time! Unfortunately, this happens to be one of the busiest times of the year for me at work (fiscal year end), and I’m working many 12-14 hour days. But the harvest won’t wait, so I’ve had to get creative.

This past Sunday, I made my first batch of sliced dill pickles. I got the recipe from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving. I solicited the help of my Garden Wilson, and it was done in no time. I can’t wait to taste these. If they taste good, I’ll enter a jar in the county fair this October.

Dill Pickles

Dill Pickles

Over the weekend, I harvested quite a few green bell peppers and a variety of chili peppers. I knew I had enough to make a batch of my prize-winning hot pepper relish. Besides the green bell peppers, I used jalapenos, pepperoncini, my mystery hot peppers, cayenne peppers, and Filius blue peppers. The addition of the cayenne and Filius blue peppers definitely kicked it up a notch. I tasted the leftovers in the bottom of the pan, and it has quite a nice heat. And of course, I’ll be entering my relish in the county fair again this year.

Making pepper relish is a little time consuming, and time is something I don’t have a lot of – if I want to get any sleep, that is. However, I decided to chop the onions and peppers yesterday morning, then do the actual canning last night. And again, my Garden Wilson was a good helper.

Hot Pepper Relish

Hot Pepper Relish

No matter how busy I am, I enjoy making time to can my harvests. And I love that ping as the seal is set on my jars. It’s the sound of summer!

Have you started canning this summer yet?

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