Back in the late-1980's and early-1990's I spent a lot of the late summer and early fall teaching my friends how to can their own fruits and vegetables. See, when we were kids our mothers never canned. Don't ask me why? For my mother it had something to do with being afraid of the pressure cooker.
I had to learn from my mother-in-law who was in her late 70's in the mid-80's when she was teaching me. She'd sit at the kitchen table, cup of tea and a few cookies (she was very tiny by then and I was always feeding her sweets to fatten her up) in front of her giving me gentle instructions about everything from the easiest way to peel tomatoes to packing the jars just right.
I have some pretty fond memories of that time. I always found canning sort of a relaxing event. When I was done canning for the day, I'd sit at that same kitchen table, where I learned to can in the first place, blurry eyed, feet aching, shoulders drooping with my cup of tea (I'd skip the cookies I didn't need to be fattened up), and I'd feel a great deal of satisfaction. All those jars lined up on the counter. What a site! If you have never canned before you really should try it. Small starts have the same big satisfaction feel. Oh, and later when you open that can of pickles in February you get another little rush of pleasure.
So for those of you brave enough to pull out the pressure cooker or water-bath canner here are 2 relish recipes. Relishes are a great way to start canning. They are almost foolproof.
Pauline's Relish (I have no idea who Pauline was)
20 tomatoes (peeled and chopped)
2 onions chopped
3 green peppers chopped
2 cups vinegar
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon salt
1 package pickling spices
Simmer til of the right consistency.
That is all this recipe says. Now, I would have to add: Place in sterile jars, seal and process.
Corn Relish (from the Joy of Cooking Cookbook)
Cut the kernels from:
18 ears of corn
or, if you should want to make this is winter, use canned or frozen kernel corn.
Put through a food grinder: (food processor)
1 head green cabbage
8 white onions
6 green peppers, seeds and membranes removed
6 small hot red peppers
Combined these ingredients with the corn and:
2 teaspoons celery seed
2 teaspoons mustard seed
2 quarts vinegar
1/4 cup salt
2 cups sugar
(1/3 cup minced pimiento)
Bring just to the boiling point and simmer the relish for 35 minutes. Place in sterile jars, seal, and process for 15 minutes in boiling water bath.
Now I do have to put a disclaimer here. Check with your local county extension office for the latest in canning safety. What I feel comfortable with may not be what you would.