June 2009 Archives

Tomatillo Salsa: A Canning Recipe

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husk 2

I find the husks on tomatillos charming.  I can't resist taking photos of them.

studyingreen 2

It takes a lot of chopping and dicing to make this salsa, but it's worth it!

tomatillo salsa jarred 2

5 1/2 cups husked, cored, and chopped tomatillos
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped jalapenos
1/2 cup white vinegar
4 tbsp lime juice
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt

  • Prepare canner, jars, and lids.
  • In a large stainless steel saucepan, combine all of the ingredients. Bring to a boil over a medium high heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes.
  • Ladle hot salsa into jars, leaving 1/2" head-space. Remove air bubbles and adjust head-space if necessary by adding more hot salsa. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip tight.
  • Place jars in canner, ensuring they are completely covered by at least 1" of water. Bring to a boil and process both 8 ounce and pint jars for 15 minutes.
You should know that the amounts I've given are for one batch, which is ridiculously small. I made 5 batches all at once. If you're like me and would like to make a lot at once multiply all of the ingredients by five. It's nice to know you can do smaller batches, though, because if you have a lot of these ingredients in your garden you may only be able to make a little at a time as things ripen.

You can use other types of hot chili peppers, according to your tastes. I only have eyes for jalapenos because they don't repeat on me as much as other peppers. I like serranos too but they tend to be too hot for me. If you used a cup of serranos per recipe I think you'd be breathing fire and then you might die (mostly just kidding).  So if you like things hotter, try a blend. Just be sure that the total amount of peppers you use remains the same.

You can also use a little more garlic if you like.

This salsa is quite soupy. Mr. W  wanted to know if it can be made thicker. I'm not sure about that yet. I have to do a little canning research before I know how much I can safely adjust the liquid content. (If I was just making it for fresh eating, instead of for canning, I would just cook it down til it was as thick as I liked). Until I find out, or some other experienced canner gives us the answer, don't mess with it. It's amazing just as it is.

Garlic Dill Pickles

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Fresh from the canner, these pickle slices are still turning from bright green to dark green.

raw cucumbers

You can use small, medium, or large cucumbers, but the larger they are (of course) the fewer you can fit in one jar.

 filling jars

You can also do some sliced.  I have found that they are a little softer in texture than the ones I can whole but I like these for sandwiches and it doesn't bother me.


My friend Lisa E. (pictured above) and I learned to pickle dills together.  The first recipe we tried called for pickling spices,  so we cooked up a batch of the vinegar with spices and Lisa, smelling the odor coming from the pot, mentioned that she wasn't enjoying the smell of the spices and was reluctant to use them, wasting a bunch of cucumbers.  Although I hadn't thought about it, I didn't like the idea of my pickles tasting of allspice and Cinnamon either.  We looked furiously for a dill pickle recipe that would have a clean garlicky dill flavor.   We found only one that came close to our idea of how a pickle should be and it came from the Sonoma County Extension office.  We tweaked it just a little bit until it was perfect.  My sister, who is a dill pickle connoisseur called it one of the best pickles she's ever had!  So here's the recipe for you to try!


4lbs (2 quarts) freshly picked small to medium sized cucumbers

2 tbsp canning salt

4 cups vinegar

4 cups water

1 fresh head of dill weed per jar

1/2 tsp mustard seeds per jar

1 clove garlic per jar

6 peppercorns per jar


1.  Wash cucumbers thoroughly.

2.  For whole cucumbers, small sizes up to 4 inches are preferred.  Larger cucumbers should be sliced, quartered, or halved lengthwise.

3.  Combine salt, vinegar, and water in a pot.   Heat to boiling.

4.  Pack cucumbers into hot clean jars.  For each quart jar add: 1 head of dill, 1 clove of garlic, 1/2 tsp mustard seeds, and six peppercorns.  Fill with hot pickling liquid to 1/2 inch of  the top for quart jars, and 1/4 inch for pints.

5.  Process pint or quart jars of whole cucumbers in hot water bath for 10 minutes, jars of slices or halves for five minutes. 6.  Let the pickles cure for 4-6 weeks before opening to taste.

Recipe notes:
I have updated this recipe to start off with a larger batch of brine.  Because of the irregularity of cucumber size and shape it is an inexact science to figure out how many jars of pickles you'll get out of 4 lbs of cucumbers.  Sometimes you can only fit three in a jar, sometimes you can fit six.  So be prepared to whip up another batch of brine.  It's truly fast and easy to do.  And remember that if you have leftover brine you can save it in the fridge for more pickling projects.

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