Dirty Business: So Much Canning!

A record breaking year for the garden.

We are smack dab in the middle of the period where the garden yields are starting to slow down, but the amount of stuff that needs to get canned is off the charts.  We’re not even close to being done canning for the year and we’ve already far exceeded what we’ve done in previous years.  We are literally just putting jars wherever there is space for them.  Today, we have three different canning recipes:  Dill Pickle Relish, Red Sauce, and Roasted Red Peppers.

As always, check out the initial post on canning to get the procedures for sterilization.

The dill pickle relish is a new recipe for us this year.  I’m not sure why I hadn’t tried this before, considering the complete dearth of dill relishes available for sale out in the world.  Sweet relish is an abomination unto God and nature, yet it is the only thing out there.  Anyway, when I missed a couple of cucumbers and they got way too big, it occurred to me that I could just make relish instead of tossing them. 

8 Cups Pickling Cucumbers (I also cheated here and added a bunch of slicing cucs that I couldn’t eat fast enough and would have just spoiled), seeded and finely chopped.

1 ½ Cups Water

1 ½ Cups Apple Cider Vinegar

3 Tbsp. Dill Seeds

In a large pot, bring the water and vinegar to boiling and then add the chopped cucumbers and dill seeds.  Return to boiling and cook, uncovered, for five minutes. 

Ladle into hot, sterilized canning jars, leaving a ½-inch headspace.  Process in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes.

As with anything canned, leave them alone for at least a week for the flavors to develop.

This was also the first year that I made red sauce, rather than just canning the tomatoes, or tomato puree.  The thing about preserving tomatoes is that they aren’t as acidic as they used to be, once upon a time, so unless you have a pressure canner, it is important to ramp up the acidity with the use of lemon juice which has a transparent flavor profile when used in a recipe like this.  Here’s the recipe:

25 Lbs. Tomatoes

4 Lg. Sweet Peppers, chopped

4 Lg. Onions, chopped

4 Cans Tomato Paste (I don’t make paste and didn’t want to buy any so I just cooked my puree down more)

¼ Cup Salt

8 Garlic Cloves, minced

Olive Oil

4 tsp. Oregano, dried, or 8 tsp. fresh

2 tsp. Parsley, dried, or 4 tsp. fresh

2 tsp. Basil, dried (I used one of our pesto cubes)

2 tsp. Crushed Red Pepper (I used crushed green chiles)

2 Bay Leaves

1 Cup Lemon Juice

First, heat a large pot of water to boiling.  While the water is heating, wash the tomatoes, cut the cores out, and score an “X” on the bottom of each.  Fill your sink with cold water (add some ice cubes if you like to make the water colder).  Once the hot water is boiling, place the tomatoes in the pot for about a minute to blanch them, then remove the tomatoes and place them in the cold water bath.  This will loosen the skins to make them much easier to remove.  Once all your tomatoes have been blanched and shocked, peel the skins, and squeeze out the seeds.  Coarsely chop the tomatoes and place them in a colander to drain for about a half hour.

In a large pot over medium heat, sauté the peppers, garlic and onion in the olive oil until they brown a bit.  Add all of the remaining ingredients, except the lemon juice.  Bring to a boil, then simmer, uncovered, for about 5 hours, stirring occasionally.  Discard the bay leaves.

Follow the standard sterilization process for canning.  Before adding the red sauce to the jars, add two tablespoons of lemon juice to each jar, then fill the jars leaving a ½ inch headspace.  Process for 40 minutes in boiling water.

The roasted red peppers are something that we’ve made for several years, although once we burn through the last of the bell pepper seeds (probably by next year), I’ll stop growing them.  Mrs. Butcher has stopped eating peppers so I’ll just make up for it by growing more green chiles.  This isn’t a standard canning recipe—it is more of a refrigerator recipe because the peppers will deteriorate if cooked in a boiling water canner.  This recipe is simple and straightforward, and makes a single quart so multiply as needed:

8 Red Bell Peppers, roasted

Olive Oil

1 Cup Red Wine Vinegar

Kosher Salt

Once the peppers are roasted, place them in a paper bag and seal it to let the peppers steam themselves and further loosen the skins.  Let the bag sit for about 40 minutes to let everything cool down enough to handle.

Remove the skins, stems and seeds from the peppers.  This is a fairly tedious process, but it is necessary.  Do not rinse the peppers to make things easier because this will wash away much of the flavor.

This next process requires the use of two bowls.  In the first bowl, pour in the red wine vinegar and dredge each pepper through the vinegar a few times then place each pepper in the 2nd bowl. 

Sprinkle kosher salt over the peppers, then mix them around well.  Add more kosher salt and mix around again.  Then add a little more kosher salt into the 1st bowl with the vinegar in it.

Pour enough salted vinegar to cover the bottom of the jar, then pack the peppers inside, leaving 1-2 inches of space at the top.  Using the bubble popper, run it down the inside of the jar to release the bubbles, then fill the jar with the remaining salted vinegar.

Pour enough olive oil over the top until it is roughly ¼ inch deep.  This will aid in preventing any air from getting to the peppers.  Wipe the rim of the jar, screw on a lid, and place in the refrigerator.

These peppers should be used within six months.  They will last a year, but by the six month mark they will have softened to the point where they become…less appetizing.

About butcherbakertoiletrymaker 575 Articles
When you can walk its length, and leave no trace, you will have learned.


  1. Where do you keep all your canned goods? The roasted red peppers look wonderful, and would make a great pasta sauce. Beautiful pics again, thanks to Mrs Butcher I assume.

  2. Do you freeze much? I realize not everything like relish freezes well, but I’ve found dumping into the freezer portioned out batches of partially cooked tomato sauce works well, and then you can just finish the simmer at a later date, correct for seasoning, stretch it out with another can of tomatoes, etc.
    Of course, there’s a tighter limit to how much you can freeze compared to the volume of canned food you can stick in a pantry.

    • Not too much. We freeze the pesto cubes and the chopped fresh parsley but that’s about it. Sometimes we’ll freeze certain dishes we make from the garden like portions of eggplant parm. But most of the freezer is occupied with Butcher Box deliveries and fresh fish from our trips to the Harbor Fish Market. 

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