Preserving Pickles, Peppers and Potatoes

Hello and Welcome! Good News – We got rain 🙂 I’m guessing somewhere around 2 1/2 inches between Wednesday and Thursday. The gardens, the lawns, the trees – everything needed that rain. So while we get at least a few days off from watering let me tell you about some of the preserving we’ve been doing.


Dill Pickles

Dill pickles – It’s been many years since I’ve made dill pickles using the water bath (canning) method. In more recent years I have fermented pickles and made refrigerator pickles, but both take up space in the refrigerator, so I decided to try canning dill pickles again. One of the reasons I had not canned pickles recently is because they tended to get mushy. I did some reading about making crisp dill pickles and one of the suggestions was to use distilled water since the chemicals (chlorine) added to water can cause the pickles to become mushy. I canned three quarts of dill pickles so far using distilled water. I also used our home-grown dill and garlic. We will try them in a couple weeks to see how they turned out.

Bread and Butter pickles – Yesterday I made bread and butter pickles – a tried and true recipe from the Ball Blue Book. The yield was 5 pints and my husband, who loves these pickles, is thrilled.

Bread and Butter Pickles and Red Hot Sauce


Cayenne – Another recipe that I found in the Ball Blue Book was for red hot sauce. Hot sauce is not something we use a lot of, but my husband likes to add a few drops to certain foods. The recipe that called for two quarts of tomatoes and about 24 cayenne peppers made two pints of sauce. That will likely be enough to last us through the year.

Cayenne Peppers

Cayenne plants tend to be heavy producers and somehow we ended up with a bunch of cayenne plants this year. Rather than use the dehydrator to dry then We decided to string them and hang them to dry. I think I have some daughters that will appreciate a string of hot peppers. Once they are dry they can be used by adding a whole pepper to a pot of chili or similar dish or they can be ground in a spice grinder or food processor to make red pepper flakes or crushed red pepper.

Notice they are turning red (continuing to ripen) as they hang.

Jalapeno and Banana peppers – Thus far I used banana and jalapeno peppers to make poppers. I have several packages of these in the freezer. They freeze well and can easily be cooked up in the oven or microwave. If we continue to harvest a lot of these, I might make up a batch of pickled peppers as well.

Bell peppers – Tuesday night I made stuffed bell peppers for dinner. I also made an additional five packages of stuffed peppers to freeze for future meals.


In past years storing potatoes has been a challenge for us as we don’t have a root cellar so we must try to eat them before they go bad. This year we decided to experiment with dehydrating them. My husband peeled and par boiled the potatoes than sliced them in the food processor to get and even thickness. The took about 4 hours on 140 degrees to dry to a crispy texture (much like the potatoes you would find in a box mix of au gratin potatoes). We then vacuum sealed them.

I have found directions for rehydrating them, but we have yet to try it. I will let you know when we do.

Of course not everything we harvest is being preserved. We are enjoying fresh vegetables daily. I do plan on writing about some of our garden meals but soon, but I don’t want to drag this post out too long so I’m just going to share a recipe I came across that we are REALLY ENJOYING.

I still have several jars of applesauce that I canned last year and wanted to use some up, so I decided to look for an applesauce cake recipe. I found this recipe for Land o Lakes Applesauce Spice Cake. I omitted the pecans in the recipe as I didn’t have any on hand. I also cheated and used a can of store bought frosting. Even with these changes this cake turned out sooo good.

Thanks for reading

19 thoughts on “Preserving Pickles, Peppers and Potatoes

  1. So many memories of canning. Growing up having delicious things that Grandma, Mom or Aunt Ruth had canned. As a newlywed learning how to can from Randy’s mom and grandma. And years of preserving our harvest, trying new things, and swapping recipes. Nowadays I mostly do quarts of tomatoes and pints of salsa because its really all we use anymore. It is alot of work , but oh so good! Nothing store bought will ever compare.

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  2. All that rain was good for us – it is already greening up the grass. I didn’t think that was possible – my grass was getting crispy. You were industrious, that’s for sure. I was just telling Diane who also posted about making pickles (hers were dills), my mom loved a sweet pickle mix by Red Rose Pickles which we got in Canada, so every time we went back to visit my grandmother we’d get a case to bring home. The sweet pickle mix included pickled onions and pickled cauliflower along with the thick slices of sweet pickles. Mom liked pickles more than sweets. My grandparents used to make “chow chow” when Mom was growing up – they made it with red tomatoes and green tomatoes, chopped up with onions and they’d put it up and put it in the cellar. They put it on eggs, or meat or just spread it on toast. I found some at Honey Baked Ham and used to buy it for her but they stopped carrying it.

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    1. The rain was wonderful. I hope this broke our dry spell. I know there is some in the forecast this week and that would be a good thing.
      The bread and butter pickles are sweet and tangy. I remember as a little girl going to my Great Grandma’s and having them. I still like them, but I think it’s as much about that memory as it is the actual taste. I think I saw a recipe for chow chow in the Ball Blue Book.

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      1. We are getting more tonight and a lot of rain tomorrow plus storms. Then beautiful weather for a while. Yes, sweet and tangy is good, that’s how those Red Rose pickles were and I didn’t fight my mom for the pickled onions or the pickled cauliflower. I guess my grandfather would sit in the basement peeling all the onions with a matchstick (sulfur side in his mouth to keep from crying from the onions) … he was down there so the rest of the house did not have teary eyes.

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      2. I’m kinda thinking my grandmother sent him down to the basement. 🙂 It was spooky down there – I hated going there, rickety stairs from where the door opened and I avoided it like the plague. There was a fruit cellar and it was dark and I’m scared of bugs and an ironing room which the iron and ironing board was set up – a single light, no fixture. Funny, I have not thought of that in years, maybe decades.

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