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Head Chef
Sep 1, 2004
I cannot help but to open a topic near and dear to me! Tell me, folks: What jellies, jams, relishes, salsas and pickles have you stored away this year? What challenges have you faced? Have you found any new and exciting recipes?

With the following offering comes the admission that I LOVE HABANEROS!

Throughout the summer, I make a short ton of “Chernobyl Jelly” that has become an expected gift during the holidays. Sugar does amazing things and especially so with these lethal little creatures. The jelly is delicate and a lovely orange naturally, or may be tinted blood red. It is served on a cracker spread with cream cheese and when you take a bite, there is an approximate 10-second crescendo to an almost paralyzing burn in your mouth, then a similar quick decrescendo and the heat completely disappears. And the stuff is absolutely outstanding when used as a glaze while roasting a pork roast.

Deb’s Chernobyl Jelly

4-5 red, ripe habaneros, seeded and chopped (use gloves!!!)
2 large red bell peppers, seeded and chopped
1 Cup apple cider vinegar
½ Cup good red wine vinegar
6 Cups sugar
1 packet liquid pectin (I use Certo)

Combine the chopped peppers and vinegars into a blender and puree. Pour into a heavy and tall saucepan, add the sugar and blend well. Over High heat, bring the mixture to a full boil for two minutes, then strain the mixture. (Rinse out your saucepan.) Return the strained liquid to the saucepan and return to a full boil over High heat for another five minutes. Remove from heat and add liquid pectin (and food coloring, if you wish). Ladle carefully into half-pint jars. Clean the rims of the jars and securely affix the lids. Process in a hot water bath for fifteen minutes. (Makes about 7 half pints.)

When I burn out of making jelly (ahem), I prefer to dry my extra peppers by removing the stems and arranging the peppers on a rack placed inside a cookie sheet, then leaving the peppers in my oven set on Warm for about 18 hours. Warning: drying these peppers this way will produce a scent throughout your home reminiscent of walking into a marijuana den in 1970.

Aside from this, I make a myriad of jellies and jams, from blackberry to peach, and rose hip to basil.

What about you????

:?: :idea: :?:
Audeo, you have touched on something near and dear to my heart. I think I am a throwback, I LOVE canning! Last year I made a sh--load of salsa that didn't last 2 months! We gobbled it all. I also make dill pickles, dilled baby carrots, tomato sauce and various jams.

This is only my second year doing all this so I still have lots to learn and lots of questions to ask. This years harvest so far has been very poor due to our stupid freak storm. It wiped out most above ground crops so really all I have is root crops to look forward to. Since I am not partial to pickled beets, it is likely I will just freeze most of these things.

I made my dill pickles this year and for the first time ever, some of my jars didn't seal correctly! I was a bit worried about this and unsure whether I could reseal them or not (apparently you would need to start from scratch...ugh). As it turns out, I needn't have worried, they got eaten by the swarm of locusts known as my niece, daughter and their ball teams! Sheesh!

I would love to hear more recipes for canning etc. and think I may try your Chernobyl jelly. My husband is a heat wimp, but I LOVE hot stuff. I would also love to have another salsa recipe.

Can you can yellow wax beans? Dill them? Thoughts? Tips?
Alix -- so nice to find another throwback!!! And it sounds as if your household and mine are a lot alike. I have two sons, 19 and 17, but I'm actually "Mom" to about 10 of their friends, who are always here. And I do mean always! It is staggering to consider how much food they can consume in one visit alone, and they always go for the "pickle cabinet." Wouldn't have it any other way!

I'm convinced that you can can anything, and I think my pantry has proven that. You certainly can can beans! I love wax beans and pickle them with this recipe:

Pickled Beans

2 pounds green beans (or any pole bean), washed and trimmed
4 cloves garlic
2 1/2 cups cider vinegar
1/4 cup salt
4 heads fresh dill
2 1/2 cups water

Pack beans lengthwise into pint jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. To each pint, add 1 clove garlic and 1 head dill. Combine vinegar, water and salt; bring to a boil. Pour boiling liquid to cover beans; wipe jar rims, affix lids and rings and tighten. Process in a water bath for 10 minutes. Store for at least 3 weeks before eating.

This recipe makes only 4 pints, but I double or triple the amounts, depending upon how many beans I can find.

As far as Salsa is concerned, there are a myriad of types. I've seen and even tried recipes that use canned tomato paste, but just can't get my tastebuds around those. Here is my recipe that I have honed after several years of making the stuff. Here in Texas, there are two basic types of this stuff: chunky and not-so-chunky. This recipe makes chunky. If you like your salsa less chunky, merely cook the stuff for about half an hour before ladling into jars. Ironically, I'll be making a new batch today -- I found some gorgeous heirloom tomatoes at the farmers market yesterday...and the kids attacked the last jar of stuff Friday night....

Texas Chunky Salsa

3 quarts tomatoes, blanched, peeled and chopped
2 large onions , chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2-3 green bell peppers, chopped
2-3 red bell peppers, chopped
5 jalapeno peppers, chopped very fine
2 cans chopped green chilies
2 tablespoons canning salt
¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped fine
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 cup red wine vinegar

Add all ingredients to a large pot and mix well. Bring to a slow boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally and gently. Boil for 2 minutes. Adjust seasoning to taste.

Ladle into pint jars, leaving a ¼-inch headspace. Wipe jar rims clean, affix lids and rings and tighten. Process in a water bath for 15 minutes.

Makes about 12 pints.

Happy canning!

PS: I've never (yet) had trouble with jar seals. My grandmother was judicious about cleaning the jar rims and making certain the rings were on tight before placing the jars into the canner. I've always followed her edicts. I am also (as was my grandmother) carefull about using only Ball or Kerr lids -- they have a nice, thick layer of rubber for the seals.
My pickle jars are WAY old! They were my Gram's and then my Mom's and now mine. So I always buy new sealer rings but the correct sizing is becoming difficult to find. I suspect I did not process long enough, something I will rectify with the next batch I make.

Bless you for the bean and salsa recipe! I will be trying the salsa one ASAP. One question for anyone out there before I start though, do quarts roughly translate to liters? 4 cups in a quart? I seem to recall it is 2 cups to a pint, 2 pints to a quart...yes? If so, then I can easily go for this recipe, and once again...THANKS!
Alix, one US pint is 0473 litres. One US quart is 0.946 litres.

One US gallon = 4 US quarts = 8 US pints = 3.785 litres.

On US pint = 16 fluid ounces = 29.573 ml.

(I cringe at potential embarassment in the event my calculations are wrong!!!)
Of all the cooking I do, I have always been intimidated by canning! :oops: The whole "processing" part scares me!
:!: Can anyone tell me exactly what to do here?

(PS: my favorites are always those with habeneros or jalepenos!)
jkath said:
Of all the cooking I do, I have always been intimidated by canning! :oops: The whole "processing" part scares me!
:!: Can anyone tell me exactly what to do here?

(PS: my favorites are always those with habeneros or jalepenos!)

see Chernobyl Jelly above

This site has the best pickling advice I have found. You will need Adobe to read it, but it is worth the download.

Audeo, thanks for the info. I don't REALLY convert specifically to metric. I see that my two cups to a pint is correct and that a quart is just slightly bigger than a liter so I will just eyeball it. I am sort of slapdash about measuring that sort of thing. I am so jazzed about trying the salsa!

jkath, it only seems intimidating until you try it. Really the most important thing to do is to sterilize the jars, lids, rings etc that you are canning with. The actual processing thing is a breeze. All you need is a giant pot, water, and a timer. Good luck with it! Keep us posted on how you do.
I just found your post on canning and I just finished canning for this year. I put up 40 qts of tomatos and 10 qts of dill pickles and only 4 pts of dilly beans . This was my first year to try the beans. I also did 17 pints of pickled beets and 16 pints of carrots. No salsa this year but will next year. Not a very good year for tomatos this year. I also am making saur kraut for the first time. I have also done alot of freezing of veggies. It is great to can and it really is satisfying. I love to look at the jars when finished and see how really pretty they are and how great it all will taste this winter.
That is so good to hear Thumpersphere! I know you are proud of yourself and should be! It takes a lot of effort and care to can foods and I am personally so happy to see that the practice is becoming more common in our modern world. I'm with you...I love to open the cabinet and see jars of jellies and pickles and vegetables that I've put up. Heck, I know I can go buy commercial stuff in the store, but I enjoy the control of what goes into my food, as much as my free time allows.

Enjoy a delicious Winter ahead!!!
Does bottling beer count?? ;)

Actually, we do can salsa, beans, stewed tomatoes, and peppers, but mostly the pressure cooker and the jars get used for canning starter wort (unfermented beer w/o hops) for yeast starters for my brewing. I'll whip up about 2 gallons of it once or twice a year, and that way I always have a ready supply at a moments notice.

Audeo, what kind of jars and lids do you use? I need to buy some new ones and I am not sure that the ones with the metal lids would be good for salsa. Do you buy new lids everytime you make something?
I made blackberry freezer jam this summer. I was suprised at how east it was. This was my first attempt at anything like this & it came out great! Now if only I could find the recipe I used! :oops:
crewsk...I relate...I had to ask my MIL for her raspberry jam recipe about 4 times. Thank God she is a patient woman.
Sorry for the delay, Alix! The only things I re-use are the jars and rings. Always, always use new lids! I use Ball or Mason jars predominantly and have enough extras to choke a horse! And I much prefer wide-mouth jars to standard. Much easier to fill, moreover dispense from.

I've never had any reactions with the metal lids and salsa, but the stuff doesn't last very long anyway.
Audeo, I use Bernardin lids. They are metal with a rubber ring built into them. These are things you toss...yes? I notice you said you use rings too. Do you use them with the lids that already have a rubber thingy built in? Sorry if that is a stupid question. After my one debacle with non sealing jars I am ultra paranoid.
There is NO such thing as a stupid question here, Alix! Especially when no answer may be the cause for such fun things as botulism...

With a Canadian neighbor, I am familiar with Bernardin lids. (She brought a box back from Montreal recently, along with several packages of St. Hubert's Bar-B-Q sauce mix -- yummy stuff!). These lids are just like the ones I use, that have the rubber seal on the edge of the "inside" of the lid (that is affixed to the jar).

When canning, by water bath or by pressure, what I do is fill my jars, wipe off the rims, put the lids on top, then add the rings tightening only slightly. The vacuum inside the jars can only be created by having enough room between the jar's rim and the lid to allow the air inside the jar to escape. Once out of the canner and cooled, I confirm a vacuum seal (the lid is sucked down against the jar and won't "snap" when pressed), then and only then tighten the rings the rest of the way.
Thanks Audeo. I knew I could count on you for help.

Incidentally that St Huberts stuff ROCKS! They also have a spice that you sprinkle on chicken wings. To die for.
jelly failure??

Hello all...
I have just completed my first ever attempt at making jelly. My first attempt at anything "canning" related. Okay, so now I have to find out just what the heck happened! Because I think I may have ended up with habanero syrup!! :oops:

I found a few recipes at, and primarily followed this one: . I had to guess at the number of habaneros and bell peppers, and ended up using about 15 and 4 respectively.

NOW, most of the recipes I found, this one included, had comments that indicated the users had "final jelly results" the next day. So even though the Ball (makers of my pectin) website indicated that some jellies can take up to two weeks to gel, I don't think this must be my problem.

Do I pour it all back in the pan and add more pectin etc etc.. or should I wait? (AND if I need to re-cook a bit, and re sterilize, re-process, of course) can I wait until next week when I get back in town? Any spoilage risk?

Well - this is my third attempt to get this question posted since registering yesterday.. so I have to go burn a candle while i hit submit...!

THANKS for any ideas of what could have gone wrong!!


help? Do I have to post a juicy intro before feedback is permitted... OR did y'all just go on vacation now that the kids are back in school!? (hmmm... nice idea!!) ;)

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