Strawberry Pie Filling

***Be sure to allow extra head space when using Clear Jel***

Preserving the Good Life

This comes in so handy when you need a quick dessert for a get together or last minute guests.  Open a jar of Strawberry Pie Filling, pour it into a pie crust, bake and you’ve got Strawberry Pie in no time!
This recipe, as listed below, yields 4 quarts.  As always, I canned big.  I more than doubled the recipe and it yielded 10 qts.
Ingredients for 4 qts:
  • 16 cups (4 lbs.) strawberries, sliced
  • 3 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup Clear Jel, can be purchased from most local Amish Stores.
  • 4 cups water
  • 4 1/2 Tablespoons lemon juice
Slice strawberries and set aside.  I got really lucky this time!  I had a friend to call me and ask if I could use some strawberries.  She’d worked herself sick of strawberries that week!  She had some that she was ready to throw out; not because they were…

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Canning Greens

Preserving the Good Life

‘Tis the season for greens, collards, kale, turnips.

This is a whole lot of work for a little yield…BUT it’s hard to beat home grown greens in the off season!  And these turned out SOOOOO good that I decided I needed to go back and pick more!   They seem to wilt down to nothing so don’t be surprised when it takes 4 grocery bags to yield 12 pints.

Here’s how we worked these up for canning:

Cook the greens down.  We put ours in a stock pot, filled 1/4 full with chicken broth and water, 1/2 broth, 1/2 water.  Let them simmer down until all the liquid was gone and the greens were tender.

Put jars in the oven for 200 degrees to get them hot while the greens are cooking.  And put on a pot of water to boil for topping off the jars.

Once the greens are…

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Canning Chow Chow

This is a staple at my house, my boys think it’s a required condiment with beans.  We normally support one of the local churches and buy Chow Chow Relish at their Fall Bazaar but this year we decided that we would try making some of our own.


This is a 2 day process, or a minimum 4-6 hours as you have to let the chopped vegetables sit so you can drain the excess juice.

  • 10 green tomatoes
  • 4 c. chopped onions
  • 1 large cabbage
  • 12 green sweet peppers
  • 6 red sweet peppers
  • 4 hot peppers
  • 1/2 cup salt

Chop all of the ingredients,  top with salt and refrigerate overnight  (or a minimum of 4-6 hours).

I LOVE my commercial chopper.  Not only does it make chopping super easy but all of the peppers, onions, green tomatoes, etc come out uniform.


After the 4-6 hour wait, drain or press out the excess juice, be careful if you added the hot peppers, this will burn your hands!  Some people add the hot peppers after this step for that very reason.

Bring the following ingredients to a boil. (Be sure to put the pickling spices in a cheese cloth bag. And then remove the bag of spices before canning).

  • 4 cups vinegar
  • 6 cups sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 teaspoon pickling spice
  • 1 Tablespoon celery seed

Once boiling, add the pepper/onion mixture and simmer for 3 minutes.

Fill hot jars, leaving 1/2-in head space, remove air bubbles.  Wipe rims really good with a sterile cloth.  Place lid and ring, seal. Waterbath 10 mins in a water bath canner.

Blackberry Jalapeno Pepper Jelly

My family loves pepper jelly of any kind. So I’m always looking for varieties to add to our pantry. When a neighbor brought me a ton of peppers, I started searching for a new recipe. My boys fell in love with this one….I witnessed one son add it to a sausage biscuit and another son ate it with peanut butter crackers!!!! This one may be their favorite yet!!

7- 8 fresh jalapeno peppers
1 – large or two medium size green bell pepper, seeded
2 – cups frozen blackberries, thawed
2 – tablespoons lemon juice
1 – cup apple cider vinegar
3 – cups sugar
4 – 5- half pint canning jars with lids and bands


Cut off the stems and remove the seeds from the peppers (I recommend wearing latex gloves while handling hot peppers). If you want a bit of a kick leave in half of the jalapeno pepper seeds.

Puree peppers using a food processor or high speed blender with cider vinegar until smooth.

In a large pot combine pepper puree with sugar.

Add the frozen blackberries to the blender or food processor and blend the blackberries with the lemon juice.

Add the blackberry pulp to the pepper purée and sugar. Bring the mixture to a full boil, reduce heat to a light boil and simmer, stirring frequently.

Remove from heat and skim off any foam (if any). Ladle into hot, sterile jar leaving 1/4 inch head space. Wipe rims with a clean cloth. Apply lids and bands and finger tighten.

Add jars to hot water bath and process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

My family loves to serve on crackers with softened cream or goat cheese as a snack or appetizer. And this is so easy to grab and go! When you are going to a family get together grab a jar of pepper jelly, a package of cream cheese and box of crackers and you are ready to go!!!

Canning Sweet Pickle Relish

Sweet Pickle Relish is a necessity in our kitchen. My family loves it on hotdogs, in potato salad, egg salad, tuna and chicken salad. And some are guilty of even eating it by itself!! It is one of those things that is simply nice to have on hand.

The original recipe that I used said that this would make 7 half pints. I think that all depends on how much you cook your relish down and how much water is in your cucumbers. I got more than double that amount when I made it.


  • 8 lbs of pickling cucumbers
  • 1/2 cup pickling salt
  • 4 cups of white vinegar
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon celery seed 
  • 1 tablespoon mustard seed
  • 2 1/2 cups (2-3 medium) onions finely chopped.
  1. Wash the cucumbers well under cold running water, trim off both ends, but leave the skin on. Chop into chunks, then finely chop in a food processor. Put in a large pot or bowl. Sprinkle with the salt, mix the cucumbers and salt by hand. Top with enough cold water to cover completely. Let stand for 2 hours.
  2. Finely chop the onion and set aside.
  3. Drain the cucumbers, rinse well and drain.
  4. In large stock pot, mix together the vinegar, sugar and spices. Stir in the onions and then the cucumbers.
  5. Bring to a boil, lower to a simmer and simmer for 10 minutes.
  6. Pack hot relish into pint or half pint jars.
  7. Leave 1/2 inch headspace.
  8. Debubble, adjust headspace.
  9. Wipe jar rims.
  10. Put lids on and tighten.
  11. Process in a water bath for 15 minutes.
  12. Let it sit for at least a month before opening.

As always ~ Enjoy and Happy Canning!

“Canned” Pound Cake

It’s the time of year for gift giving – give a gift of Homemade Love…

Preserving the Good Life

Grandma’s have done this for years yet you won’t find this in any canning books.  Based on friends who have done this for years and the canning grannies out there, this can be stored for up to one year. (But let’s be real – how long do you really think these will stick around?)  Besides, they make great gifts!

Preheat the oven on 350°.  Grease 12 wide mouth pint jars (or 6 quarts) and set them aside.  I used Crisco to grease mine and if that’s not handy, you can use Baker’s Joy Spray.


I whipped up my mother’s “top secret” pound cake recipe and then spooned each jar 1/2 full, be careful not to get any on the edges of the jar.  This takes a little time and a steady hand.


For a more even bake, put the jars directly on the rack and bake until golden brown, in…

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Canning Red Pepper Jelly (No Pectin)

Preserving the Good Life

Sweet, spicy, hot pepper jelly + cream cheese + Ritz crackers = YUM!  This quick and easy, addictive appetizer is ready in minutes!

I had an abundance of peppers on hand so I doubled the following recipe and ended up with 11 jelly jars of jelly.

  • 1 1/2 lb red bell peppers, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 2 teaspoons dried hot red-pepper flakes
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 cup white-wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt

Cut peppers into 1 inch pieces.


Add peppers and pepper flakes in a food processor or blender.


Pulse until finely chopped.  Depending on if you prefer a chunky jam or a not so chunky jelly will determine how much you chop your peppers.


Stir together pepper mixture, sugar, vinegar, butter and salt in a heavy pot.  Bring to a vigorous boil and boil for 20+ minutes, stirring frequently, until it begins to thicken. …

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Chicken ‘n Dumplings

As the weather begins to cool down…it becomes Chicken ‘n Dumpling Season….ENJOY!

Preserving the Good Life

As the weather cools, my crowd loves soups, stews and old fashioned Chicken ‘n Dumplings.  This recipe is an all time family favorite at our house.   I can remember standing over the stove as a little girl, waiting for the milk to boil so the dumplings could be dropped.  Making Dumplings of any sort is an art.  Once mastered, you can make all sorts of dumplings:  Pea Dumplings, Blackberry Dumplings, not just Chicken ‘n Dumplings.  Here’s how we done it on our family farm.

Boil 4 large chicken breasts until done.  Separate chicken and broth, set broth aside. Take a mixer and shred the chicken – you’ll never hand shred chicken again….

In a pot combine shredded chicken, 1 pint chicken broth, 1 quart of milk and 1/2 stick of butter.  Bring to a boil.


This is where you can do it one of two ways:  Biscuits from a can…

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Strawberry Rhubarb Jam

One of my all time favorites….

Preserving the Good Life

Some of my fondest memories of Grandma’s kitchen involve a strawberry, rhubarb combination.  She used to make some of the best cobblers!  She never measured anything and I’d get tickled when she cooked with rhubarb.  She would add what she thought was enough sugar, then she’d add a little more just for good measure!  I had to figure out a way to get that combination of tart sweetness into something that I could eat in much smaller portions. There’s something about combining the sweet strawberries with the tart rhubarb that makes a blissful combination and leaves you wanting more.   When I tasted this jam, I could close my eyes and envision standing back in Grandma’s kitchen.
Rhubarb can be hard to find in my area until late May.  Sometimes, you can find it at the Farmer’s Market or the grocery store.   I got super excited when I found…

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Strawberry Jam – No Pectin, No Sure Jell

Strawberry Season has begun!

Preserving the Good Life


This recipe yields 12 jelly jars (8 oz)

  • 1 Gallon fresh berries – caped, washed and chopped
  • 8 cups of sugar – divided
  • 2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
  • 2 Tablespoons Real Butter
  • 12 sterile jars, rings and lids


Place the jars in the oven, heat to 200°.  Cap, wash and chop berries.  Measure berries.  An average gallon yields 8 cups of chopped berries; this is important.  For every cup of berries, you will need one cup of sugar.  Add berries and 1/2 of the sugar to a stock pot and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly.  Increase temperature to high.  Once it’s at a rolling boil, boil for 5 minutes, occasionally stirring.  Add remaining sugar, lemon juice and butter.   Bring to a rolling boil and boil for 10 minutes, stir occasionally.  Be sure to stir it enough that it doesn’t stick.  Skim off any excess pink foam.  Boil…

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