Plenty of pickling recipes for summer harvests

Published 10:00 am Sunday, August 21, 2016

Guest Column by Verlys Huntley

Verlys Huntley is a master gardener and a vendor at the Albert Lea Farmers Market.

Verlys Huntley

Verlys Huntley

At no other time of the summer will you find as wide a variety of produce as is now available at your local Albert Lea Farmers Market.

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One of the easier ways to preserve some of this produce (whether from your own garden or from the farmers market) is through the pickling process. And how delicious these pickles and relishes are when the gardens have been “put to bed” for the winter!

For the best results in pickling, start by using nice fresh produce.

Follow the recipe directions carefully. Please note that pickling or canning salt is indicated in most pickle recipes. Do not use regular table salt, as it has additives that will adversely affect your pickles, frequently making them mushy.

Although our mother’s or grandmother’s recipes may not have called for processing in a hot water bath, we now realize that it is necessary to achieve the safest and best tasting end product.

Here are some recipes for some of the more popular pickles and relishes.


Dilly Beans

4 quarts whole green beans

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper per jar

1 medium-size head dill, or 1 1/2 teaspoons dill seed per jar

1 clove garlic per jar

1/2 teaspoon whole mustard seed per jar

5 cups distilled vinegar

5 cups water

1/2 cup canning salt


Wash beans thoroughly, drain and cut into lengths to fit pint jars, if necessary. Place pepper, mustard seed, dill and garlic in each jar. Pack beans vertically in jars. Combine vinegar, water and salt and heat to boiling. Pour boiling hot solution over beans, filling to 1/2 inch of top of jar. Process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes.


Crab Apple Pickles

12 pounds Whitney crab apples

9 cups white sugar

1 1/2 quarts white vinegar

1 quart water

4 to 6 sticks cinnamon

1 tablespoon whole cloves.


Wash apples and remove blossom ends of apples. Do not remove stems. Prick each apple in several places. Bring water, vinegar and sugar to a boil. Add spices tied in a bag. Add apples and simmer until tender, about 3 to 4 minutes. Let stand in syrup overnight. Remove the spice bag, drain the syrup into a cooking kettle, and bring it to a boil. Pack the apples into hot jars. Pour boiling syrup over apples and seal. Process 10 minutes in hot water bath. Makes about 12 pints.


Pickled Beets

1 gallon beets

2 quarts vinegar

2 cups water

6 cups sugar

l tablespoon whole cloves

3 sticks cinnamon

2 teaspoon salt


Wash beets, leaving 1 inch of stem and roots intact. Cook, unpeeled, until skins can be easily slipped off and beets are tender. Mix other ingredients and simmer for 15 minutes. Pack hot peeled beets into jars, cutting larger beets as desired. Pour hot pickling solution over beets and seal with lids. Process in boiling water for 10 minutes. Yields 7 to 8 pints.


Dill Pickles

Pickling solution:

l quart cider vinegar

3 quarts water

l cup canning salt

pickling cucumbers, 4 to 6 inches long

dill heads, 1 large head for each jar

1 slice of onion for each jar

1 or 2 peeled garlic cloves for each jar


Wash cucumbers carefully, and cut off a thin slice on both the stem and blossom ends to facilitate absorption of pickling solution. Place 1 or 2 cloves of garlic, a slice of onion and a head of dill into the bottom of each jar. Pack the cucumbers into the jar, making sure they are below the threaded neck of the jar. Cover cucumbers with boiling pickling solution to within 1/2 inch of the top of the jar. Put lids on and place jars in actively boiling water and process for 10 minutes, starting to count the time as soon as you place the jars in the boiling water. Note: the amount of the syrup can be increased, but be sure to keep the proportions as shown above.


Pickled Peppers

4 quarts red, green or yellow hot or sweet peppers

1 1/2 cups salt

1 gallon cold water


2 1/2 quarts vinegar

2 cups water

1/2 cup sugar

2 to 3 cloves garlic, crushed


Wash peppers; cut 2 small slits in each pepper. If using hot peppers, wear rubber gloves. Dissolve salt in water, pour over peppers and let stand 12 to 18 hours in a cool place. Drain, rinse and drain again thoroughly. Pack peppers into hot jars. Combine remaining ingredients and simmer 15 minutes. Remove garlic and pour boiling hot solution over peppers, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace. Cover and process in boiling water for 10 minutes. Makes 7 or 8 pints.


Zucchini Relish

10 cups chopped, unpeeled zucchini

4 cups chopped onion

3 green peppers, chopped

3 red peppers, chopped

1/4 cup salt

2 1/2 cups vinegar

3 cups sugar

1 teaspoon tumeric

1 teaspoon celery seed


Mix chopped vegetables with salt and let set overnight, or 12 hours. Drain well. Combine remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Add vegetables. Bring to a boil and cook 3 minutes. Put into prepared pint jars, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace. Put lids on, and process in boiling water canner for 10 minutes.


Sweet Pickle Relish

12 large, unpeeled cucumbers

8 large onions

4 red sweet peppers

4 green sweet peppers

1/2 cup salt

1 quart vinegar

4 cups sugar

2 tablespoons mixed pickling spices


Chop finely or grind the vegetables, mix with salt and let stand 12 hours, or overnight. Drain well. Combine vinegar, sugar and then add spices tied in a bag. Bring to a boil and add vegetables. Simmer 30 minutes. Remove spice bag. Quickly pack into prepared pint jars, leaving headspace. Put on lids and tighten. Process in boiling water for 10 minutes. Note: this can be served on hotdogs or hamburgers, or mixed with mayonnaise to make tartar sauce.