Apple Pie Pickles

I’m always looking to try something different.  This recipe got my attention and made my kitchen smell amazing!!!  It reminds me of spiced apples that I had years ago….


This makes 12 pints

  • 24 large apples (peeled, cored and sliced)
  • 12 cinnamon sticks
  • 4 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cup sugar
  • 6 Tablespoons of salt
  • 3 Tablespoons of Whole Cloves
  • 1 Tablespoon of Apple Pie Spice

Core and slice apples then pack them into mason jars with cinnamon sticks.


In a small pot, cook remaining ingredients over medium heat until sugar and salt dissolve.


Remove from heat and carefully ladle pickling liquid over apples, dividing spices evenly among jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.   Gently tap jar against the table to release any air bubbles.  Apply hot lids and rings tightened fingertip tight.  Water bath for 10 minutes.  Let sit for 2 weeks before opening.



Canning Water for Emergencies

We just missed Hurricane Florence but so many family and friends weren’t so lucky.  As it was heading our way I felt the need to prepare myself just a little more than usual.

My husband thought I was crazy – but let’s be real a minute.  It takes just as much space to store an empty jar as it does one full of water.  So why not take a few minutes to fill some jars full of water and water bath them for 20 minutes.  Then in the event of an emergency that’s one less thing that you have to worry about.  When everyone else is running out to buy water…no worries, you’re covered.  And if you need the jar before you need the water, open the jar and use the water to fill the canner.  After all that consideration, it seemed like a no brainer to me.


I re-used canning lids so there was no expense, just a little bit of time invested.  Once I started talking about this several said they’d done the same thing every time they needed to fill a canner they’d add jars of water…

I filled sterile jars with tap “city” water leaving 1/2 in head space.  You can use filtered water if you prefer.  I boiled lids I had saved from previous canned goods, tightened those down with sterile rings.  I then water bathed them for 20 minutes.


Canning Grape Juice

My Grandmother used to can this and Tomato Juice in half gallon jars….oh how I miss her….maybe just a small portion of her lives on in me.


I canned mine in half gallons, the biggest challenge was finding a pot deep enough to submerged the jars for water bathing.  This recipe is for QUART jars.  In each quart jar I put…


One cup of grapes (rinsed well).



One half cup of sugar – if desired.  I have canned grapes with water and no sugar so I can add stevia when I open and serve.



I filled each jar to  with boiling water leaving 1/2 inch head space.

I tightened my hot lids and rings onto the jars (I gave them a little shake to make sure the sugar dissolved).

Then I processed the jars in a boiling water bath for 20 minutes.

The juice does need to sit for at least two months so the juices and sugar can blend.  It starts out a pale barely pink color, but within a few weeks begins to darken to a deep purple.

When it comes time to drink the juice, we strain out the grapes as we pour and enjoy!

We have always made this from our home grown Concord grapes, but the same method can be used with any type of grape… and even cranberries!20180819_194133_Burst01-1

Peach Butter

Apple Butter with a twist – PEACH BUTTER!  YUM!  As we wrapped up this peach season I couldn’t let any peaches go to waste – so peach butter it is.  Give me a hot homemade biscuit and this girl will be happy!!!  YUM!


  • 20-24 peaches (depending on the size) – enough to give you 8 cups of peach puree
  • 4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ginger
  • ½ teaspoon allspice

Peel and pit the peaches, then puree in a food processor. You’ll want a total of 8 cups of peach puree.


Pour puree into a large, heavy bottomed pot and add sugar. Over medium heat, bring peach mixture to a boil, stirring frequently to prevent sticking and scorching.  Boil until the mixture is thickened and reduced by about one third, again, stirring to prevent sticking and scorching.  For us this took about 20-25 minutes.

Remove the thickened puree from the heat and stir in the spices.  Stir, stir, stir to mix evenly.  Notice how much the peaches cooked down.


If canning, pour into clean, sterilized canning jars and process for 10 minutes using the water bath canning method.

Any left over peach butter should be stored covered in the refrigerator for up to a week.


Canning Tomato Juice

Hard work but worth every ounce of effort.  One of my favorites ~ tomato juice!  This is one thing that I craved when I was pregnant and I could drink it straight from the jar.

Wash, quarter and core the tomatoes.


Then we run them thru the juicer – peelings, seeds and all.  This is a family effort at our house.


Once all of the juice is extracted we do run the pulp back through the juicer, grinder or food mill once more for good measure.  After the second run, we heat the juice in a big stainless steel stock pot continuously stirring and skimming off the foam.


Once all of the foam has been removed we being filling sterile jars with juice.  We add 1 teaspoon of canning salt to each jar and give them a stir.


Wipe the rims with a sterile cloth, place the hot lids and rings, tighten the rings and water bath for 40 minutes.


Once you’re ready to open – give it a good shake and ENJOY!   This also makes a great soup base.


Peach – Pepper Jam


A delicious sweet and spicy jam, perfect with crackers and cream cheese, as a condiment or as a glaze for chicken, shrimp or pork.

It never fails, I come home on a Friday evening only to realize that we have to take something to a get-together and I have nothing prepared!  No worries, I grab a jar of peach-pepper jam, a box of Ritz Crackers and a block of cream cheese and I’m ready!  And the best part is the crowd LOVES it!  I never have left overs!

  • 4 cups peaches peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper seeded and finely chopped
  • 3 medium jalapenos seeded and finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice
  • 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 5 cups white sugar


Place peaches in a large stainless steel pot.  Combine peppers, lemon juice,  apple cider vinegar with fruit in pan.  Stir well to combine.


Place on the stove-top over high heat and stir until the mixture comes to a full boil.  Stir in sugar and bring to a full rolling boil.


Boil hard for several minutes, stirring constantly until all of the foam is either removed with a spoon or quits rising to the top.  Remove from the heat.


Pour into clean, warm, sterilized jars leaving 1/2 inch head space.  Seal while hot with hot sterile lids.  Water bath for 10


Canning Diced Tomatoes with Peppers also known as “Rotel”.

I use a ton of Rotel in dishes such as Mexican Spinach Dip, Squash Pie, Taco Soup and an amazing cheese dip.  Every year I find that I have all of these canned goods stored up and it dawned on me – I need to can diced tomatoes with peppers!  That’s one of the last of the tomato products that I buy from the grocery store and I was determined this year to add it to my stash.  Tomatoes and tomato based recipes is the #1 thing to can – if you don’t can anything else!  The acid in tomatoes will eat thru a normal can over time so in order to keep the product in the cans they coat the cans with a acid fighting product.  That acid fighting product is also a cancer causing agent – let that sink in a minute.

Here’s what I threw together for my version of a mild Rotel.

  • 1 gallon tomatoes cored, peeled and chopped
  • 2 large bell peppers, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely chopped

If you desire a hotter mixture, leave the seeds and ribs in the jalapenos, or you can use a hotter pepper.  If you want it milder, add fewer, or leave them out entirely.

I blanched my tomatoes and filled a gallon pitcher.  I then took my tomatoes and diced them up in a bowl using a hand held cabbage chopper.


Mixed all the of the chopped veggies in a large stainless steel saucepan and add:

  • 3/4 cup vinegar (I prefer apple cider vinegar)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons canning salt

Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat and simmer for 45 minutes.


Add 1 teaspoon of lemon juice to each pint jar.

Fill the jars, leaving half-inch of headspace.

Wipe the jar rims with a damp, sterile cloth.  Place the hot lids and rings and tighten to fingertip tightness.

Water bath for 15 minutes.  Ensure that the jars are completely covered with water and bringing the water to a boil.


This recipe makes 8-10 pints of Rotel.  What’s pictured below is nearly a double batch.  I had 1 and 3/4 of a gallon of tomatoes.


Canning Lemonade Concentrate

We’re right in the middle of entertaining season – cookouts, cookouts and more cookouts….We do a lot of entertaining in the summer and lemonade is a must!



  • 5 pounds Lemons
  • 4 cups Water (or enough to match the amount of lemon juice your lemons yield)
  • 4 cups Sugar (or enough to match the amount of lemon juice your lemons yield)
  • 6-8 pint-sized canning jars, lids and rings

This involves some thinking and in most cases you won’t have the exact measurements as listed above.

Microwave your lemons for 1 and a half minutes.


Roll them on a cutting board, cut them in half and juice them!


Measure your juice.  If you end up with 4 cups of juice, use 4 cups of sugar and 4 cups of water.  This is a strict 1-1-1 relationship. If you end up with 4 3/4 cups of juice, use 4 3/4 cups of water and 4 3/4 cups of sugar and so on.


Combine all of the ingredients in a stock pot and bring to a boil.   I prefer to use a stock pot to have lots of room in the pot because this will bubble.

As soon as it boils, it’s ready to can!  Ladle this into pint sized canning jars.  Wipe rims and place sterile lids and rings.  Tighten finger tight.  Place in a hot water bath canner and water bath for 15 minutes.  Makes 6-8 pints, depending on how much juice you get.

Each pint will equal a half a gallon of lemonade.  Add the concentrate to your pitcher and then add in 3-4 pints of water.  Remember that this is a concentrate, please don’t try to drink it without water.



Canning Pickled Dill Green Beans aka “Dilly Beans”

My family loves anything dill, especially my Daddy – Ha!  Ha!  (That’s a joke!!)  I was so excited to get these beans to make dilly beans and my Daddy in his girly voice said – “I’m so excited too!”….. He was being totally sarcastic; he hates vinegar, so I definitely did not get the love of dill pickles from him!  But that’s ok – that just means that’s one less thing that he will sneak off my dinner plate.


  • 1 pound Fresh Green Beans
  • Garlic Clove per each jar
  • Sprig of Fresh Dill per each jar
  • Sprinkle of dill seed per each jar
  • Sprinkle of crushed red pepper flakes, if desired
  • 10  ~ 16 oz pint jars.

Syrup Mixture

  • cups of water
  • 5 cups of vinegar
  • 1/2 cup of non-iodized salt
  1. Remove ends of green beans and wash very well.  If you have any really long beans break them so they will easily fit in a pint jar.
  2. Carefully place the beans in the jars.  Add 1 clove of garlic and 1 spring of dill in each jar.20180703_062938
  3. In another pot place water, vinegar and salt.  Bring to a boil let boil for 5 minutes until the salt is dissolved.
  4. Sprinkle a little bit of dill seed in each jar.20180703_065956
  5. Fill each jar with vinegar syrup mixture leaving 1/2 inch head space. Remove any air bubbles.  Wipe rims with a sterile cloth.  Place boiled, hot lids on each jar and tighten.  Water bath for 10 minutes.20180703_173519-1
  6. Let sit for 2 weeks before opening.  I can not wait to open these!!!  Enjoy!

Squash Pie

When squash is plentiful and we’re tired of fried or stewed squash, we like to try something new, something different, something good!   I ran across a recipe that looked interesting, after some adjustments we decided it was worthy of sharing.  My boys called it a “keeper” ~ they all went back for seconds!  Coming from picky eaters, I will take that as a compliment!  I made two of these as a test; one with meat and one without meat.  The one with meat was devoured, so it won!  We did discover that the Rotel taste was stronger in the vegetarian version. Why?  We’re not sure, but it was definitely different.



  • 2 lbs of sliced summer squash
  • 1 cup of diced onions
  • 1 lb ground burger; browned and drained
  • 1 can of mild Rotel; drained
  • 1 1/2 cup shredded cheese, reserve 1/2 cup for topping
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt + 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a pot add squash, onion and 3/4 teaspoon of salt, cover with water and simmer 8-10 minutes until tender.


Strain squash and onions and set aside.


Brown burger, drain and set aside.  In a large bowl, mix together squash, burger  and remaining ingredients, except the cheese for topping.  Pour the mixture in a greased casserole dish or pie plate, cover with cheese.

Bake until cheese is melted and the pie bubbles, about 25 minutes.  Wait 5-10 minutes before serving.  Serves 8 as a side dish.



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