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12 Savory, Sour Canning Recipes to Try this Season

There was a time when I first started canning that if it grew in abundance in my garden (green bell peppers), I tried to can it. To this day, I still have seven jars of uneaten, nasty green bell pepper relish in my “larder” — an old freestanding cupboard I picked up for $2 at a yard sale — that I can’t bear to throw out because of all the time invested in making it.

Make no mistake: Canning is time consuming and requires crazy prep. As coauthor of the canning cookbook, Tart & Sweet: 101 Canning and Pickling Recipes for the Modern Kitchen, I speak from experience. (My sofa still harbors a faint pickle smell.) So I’ve whittled my seasonal hits down to the stuff I know I will actually eat and, more importantly, enjoy throughout the year since there are few things more dismal than eating canned food out of duty. Following is my hit list of the savory, spicy and sour canning essentials I’ll be making this hot season. Enjoy!

 

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  • Dilly Beans 1 of 14
    Dilly Beans
    Dilly Beans are a canning staple because they go great with everything, from cheese to charcuterie. And unlike some veg (I'm talking to you, cucumbers), they retain their crispness even after a year in the jar. I'm partial to Spicy Dilly Beans by adding an exotic hot pepper to each quart jar, but a plain jalapeno will do.
  • The Beanie Martini 2 of 14
    The Beanie Martini
    Dilly Beans make great garnishes for cocktails, too. Next time you make a dirty martini, swap out the olives for a Spicy Dilly Bean and a couple teaspoons of the canning brine. Yum.
  • Zucchini Relish 3 of 14
    Zucchini Relish
    For the longest time, I thought relish was dowdy and cloyingly sweet until I tested this Zucchini Relish from our cookbook, Tart & Sweet. It's spicy, not cloying in the slightest and makes even the humblest of hot dogs unforgettable.
  • Pickled Fiddlehead Ferns 4 of 14
    Pickled Fiddlehead Ferns
    While I prefer to stick to canning classics (tomato sauce, dilly beans, zucchini relish, the stuff I know I'll eat throughout the year), I like to bust out a few exotic recipes as well if only to serve at parties where they are guaranteed to spark conversation ("What the heck is that curly green thing?"). Pickled ramps, pickled endive, curry tomatillo pickles fall into this category. Recipe for pickled fiddleheads here.
  • Tomato Sauce 5 of 14
    Tomato Sauce
    If you only can one thing this season, make it tomatoes: tomato sauce, tomato salsa, tomato puree, whole tomatoes, pizza sauce. You will be so glad you did come January. Find a repository of recipes here.
  • Freaky Mutant Tomato 6 of 14
    Freaky Mutant Tomato
    I couldn't resist including this picture. I guess this tomato was just really happy to see me?
  • Bloody Mary with Dilly Beans! 7 of 14
    Bloody Mary with Dilly Beans!
    This recipe is adapted from my cookbook, Tart & Sweet, and includes vodka (it'd better!), fresh horseradish, Sriracha, tomato puree, celery salt and a couple spears Dilly Beans. It's just one of a few "canning cocktails" we came up with because every canner knows canning and booze is a match made in heaven.
  • Pickled Beets 8 of 14
    Pickled Beets
    A bit messy to make (bloody hands, anyone?) but heavenly to eat. A bunch of recipes here.
  • Habanero Hot Sauce 9 of 14
    Habanero Hot Sauce
    Like fresh canned tomato products, I never get sick of hot sauce....especially the really spicy stuff hot enough to singe the red off your tongue. Find several habanero recipes here.
  • Chile and Pineapple Infused Booze 10 of 14
    Chile and Pineapple Infused Booze
    I made this for my birthday one year and it was a huge hit (read, gone well before the night was over). Add to a gallon size canning jar 1 cut up fresh pineapple and 1 seeded and sliced hot chile. Top with vodka and let it sit for a week. Serve chilled over ice. Sweet fire!
  • Horseradish Beer Mustard 11 of 14
    Horseradish Beer Mustard
    I make this one late August when brats and kraut season are right around the corner. So spicy and great! Click here for the recipe.
  • Raisin-Hater’s Apple Chile Chutney 12 of 14
    Raisin-Hater's Apple Chile Chutney
    So named because people who don't like raisins won't even know they're eating them, this chutney is that good. Try it in a Ploughman's Sandwich -- thick slices of cheese and chutney between slices of crunchy bread. Recipe here.
  • Quick Pickles 13 of 14
    Quick Pickles
    Crave pickles but don't feel like canning? Break out the Claussens OR click here for the quickest refrigerator dill pickle recipe ever.
  • The Canner’s Refrigerator 14 of 14
    The Canner's Refrigerator
    If there's one downside to summer canning, it's that sooner or later your refrigerator starts to look like this...a random assortment of mysterious substances in glass jars. And because this stuff contains so much vinegar, it basically never goes bad so you're stuck with it forever or until you get around to eating it or throwing it out. The D.I.Y.er's hazard, I guess.

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