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Can-Can

I like canning.

Well, actually, I like canning when it only takes an hour. Wash some jars, boil them, lovingly prepare the fruit/vegetable, tra la la. When canning takes all day? Not so much. Last August, 7 am to 2 pm – the sweet pickled beet canning festival. So sorry all of you missed it, maybe this year you can drop by and lend a hand?

A few weeks ago I made cherry preserves.

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The entire process took about an hour. That’s my kind of canning.

I like to use no-sugar-needed pectin. I like my jams and preserves a little tart, instead of I-had-better-call-my-dentist-tomorrow sweet. I use this brand, and followed the instructions that came with the pectin to make the cherry preserves. Or jam. Or whatever it is.

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So pretty. And tasty! This winter I will be so glad I took the time to make this. Oh, and in case you’re wondering? Yes, it does sort of taste like cherry pie. Have it on toast and it’s a poor man’s vacation, I tell ya.

I mentioned in my last post that I mangled some cucumbers.

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Houston, we have relish. I live in Wisconsin. I should say Madison, we have relish. Or maybe, La Crosse, we have relish. I’ll stop now.

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And dill pickles. Gotsta have the dill pickles.

In case you’re thinking that making relish is exactly how you’d like to spend an afternoon (you weirdo, you) here’s my recipe.

Sweet Pickle Relish

10-12 large pickling cucumbers (the largest ones you can find – I used about 15 smaller cukes in the photos above)

1 large onion, peeled

1 green bell pepper, seeded

¼ cup pickling salt

2 cups regular or apple cider vinegar

2 cups sugar

2 teaspoons sriracha or other hot sauce

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Cut the cucumbers, onion, and bell pepper into chunks, place in bowl of food processor. Pulse until finely chopped. You could also chop this by hand, if you’re like me and broke your food processor. Transfer to a large bowl, stir in the salt. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 2 hours, stirring every 30 minutes. Then place mixture in a sieve and let drain.

Prepare a cannerful of half-pint jars.

Place vinegar and sugar in a large soup pot, bring to a boil. Then add the sriracha, Dijon mustard, turmeric, and black pepper. Add the cucumber mixture. Boil 15 minutes, skimming off any foam that appears.

Pack relish into sterilized jars, cover with the syrup, leaving 1/2 inch of head space. Process in a water bath canner for 15 minutes.

Have fun!