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.



Fried Apple Pies

A family favorite for generations…..

Cooking fried apple pies is like winning the lottery.  Mention it and suddenly everyone is your friend!  Lol……..that’s a true story.  In reality, that’s a good thing because if we were to eat all 16 that this recipe makes oh my – talk about a sugar rush!


We peel, slice and dry our own apples.  My grandparents used to have old fashioned “apple-dryings” where neighbors and friends would come over and they’d spend the day peeling, slicing and drying apples in the tobacco barn.  We still have access to those old tobacco barns, but we prefer to dry ours in the greenhouse.


If you don’t have access to dried apples, you can make these pies by using apple pie filling or fresh apples cooked down to make your own apple pie filling.


  • 2 – 8 count rolls of Grands Biscuits
  • Flour
  • 1 Quart of Dried Apples (You can use canned Pie Filling or Fresh Apples cooked down into your own pie filling)
  • 1 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Cinnamon
  • 1 Tablespoon Nutmeg

We cook our apples in water to reverse the dehydration process.  Fill the sauce pan 1/2 way full with water and 1 quart of dried apples.  Cook until tender then add spice and sugar.  Sample the filling to make sure that it’s sweet or spicy to your liking.


At this point we begin rolling out our biscuit dough on a well floured surface such as a cutting board.  Put a heaping spoonful of filling in the center, fold the pie crust over the filling and seal the edges. We use both our fingers and a fork to seal.  It’s important that you get the biscuit dough sealed so the pies don’t open up on you when flipping them in the frying pan.


We fry ours in Crisco but you can use cooking oil. Sometimes we fry these on a griddle, sometimes in a frying pan but my favorite way to fry them is in a Cast Iron Skillet.  As they turn golden brown we flip them and you can’t forget to “fry the edge”, the middle or the bottom as some call it.

Enjoy with caution as these will crash a diet – but they’re SOOOO GOOD!

Canning Beef Stew with Vegetables

My family is all about some easy, ready made meals.  This can be added to and used as a soup base.  You can add thickening to it or it can be eaten by just as is it canned.
  • 10 pounds of stew meat
  • 2 pounds of carrots, chopped, sliced or sticks
    • 1 cup per quart jar – if you like carrots!  For my family this was too much.  My 1st batch had a strong carrot flavor.
  • 5 pounds of potatoes peeled and cubed
    • 1 cup per quart jar
  • 1 pound of chopped celery – OPTIONAL.
    • My boys don’t like celery, but if I were to add it – 1/2 cup per quart jar.
  • 1 pound of chopped onions
    • 1/4 cup per quart jar
  • 1 tsp canning salt per quart
If you’re filling the jars with broth and not boiling water.  Boil 6 quarts of water and make broth based on your beef base or bouillon cube directions.  Chopped all the vegetables and put in bowls of water until you are ready to fill the jars.
Cut the meat up into 1″ cubes.   Once the broth comes to a boil start filling the jars in this order – meat, potatoes, celery, onions, carrots and salt.  We parboil our meat just for preference, it seems to make the jars a little bit cleaner.
Add the hot broth or water leaving 1″ headspace.  Remove all air bubbles.  Wipe rims with a sterile cloth, place lids and rings.  Pressure can quarts for 90 mins at 10 lbs pressure.
Yields 14 quarts.  Enjoy!!!


Disclaimer: Use this recipe at your own discretion, or adapt it to your own method.  I take NO responsibility for these recipes.

Canning Tea Concentrate

When I first mentioned canning Tea Concentrate to my husband he thought I was crazy.  I laughed, I may be crazy, but canning tea concentrate is not the reason….lol.  We do a lot of entertaining and it never fails, I either fix too much tea or not enough.  Having tea on demand – now we’re talking!

I make tea in a one gallon jug, so when I make concentrate it needs to make one gallon when I am done. I used the exact recipe that I always use, except instead of making it in a one gallon jug I would make it in a quart sized canning jar instead. Then all I need to do when I want tea is add the contents of the quart jar to my usual gallon jug and top it off with 3 quart jars of water to make a full gallon.

I made 2 different kinds:  Sweet, as in sweetened with sugar and our version of Unsweet which is actually the Lipton’s Southern Sweet Tea blend.

My Recipe: (Per quart jar)

  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 family-sized tea bag or 4 regular-sized bags
  • Hot water

NOTE:  If you’re using gallon size tea bags, use wide mouth jars to allow room to easily remove the bags at the end (you’ll thank me later).


I measured out the sugar for a full gallon of tea and poured it into each sterile quart jar. My boys like their tea sweet, not as sweet as McD’s, but still sweet enough!  I know it looks like a lot of sugar, but that is 1 1/2 cup in each quart; which is what we use for a full gallon of tea.

We have our sugar poured into each jar. We have our tea bags ready and waiting.   We use 4 bags per gallon, so I have 4 bags tied together to place in each jar.  Next, bring a large pot of water to a boil.  The water needs to be hot in order to steep the tea properly. Once the water is nice and hot, it’s time to fill the jars 2/3 of the way full.  This will leave room to add the tea bags.


Stir the water to dissolve the sugar and then add the tea bags to each jar. Once the bags are down inside the jars, I top off each jar with a little more hot water and give the bags a push with the spoon to sink them down a little farther inside the jar.  I would walk by and stir the jars every 5 minutes or so.  You can place a lid on top of each jar to allow the brew to steep.  I let mine sit for 20 minutes, we like a brisk tea.

After about 20 minutes I begin removing the bags from the jars. I give each bag a gentle squeeze to extract as much liquid as I can.  Be care to not tear any tea bags.


Once all of the bags are removed, fill the jars up with hot water leaving 1″ head space.

Once filled, wiped the rim of each jar with a clean sterile cloth and adjust the hot lids and bands, getting it ready for processing.

Waterbath for 10 minutes.  Once the jars are placed in the pot, cover the jars with 2 inches of water.  Tea has a great deal of acid so there is no need to pressure can it.  Bring the water to a full boil with the lid on the pot and boil for 10 minutes.  Once it’s turned off and cooled, remove the jars and place on a towel on the counter.  Listen for the sweet “ping”!  We allow our jars to sit for 24 hours before moving.

Entertaining will never be the same…..


Canning Year 2017 – WOW!

They say whatever you do on New Year’s Day you do all year long; well, we must have canned New Year’s Day 2017.  John and I canned something almost every week; oftentimes, two to three times a week .  There was never a “season” for canning with us, we canned ALL year long and ended up with 1,319 jars canned in 2017.

We’ve canned for years, but this is the first time that we’ve actually kept a list of what we’ve canned.  This is a year’s supply for our family of four plus we often feed our in-laws, family and friends.  Some things will carry over another year or two, some things will run out.  We don’t waste anything and the neighbors know it.  There’s several times throughout the year that things get left on my front porch because people know that we don’t waste, we’ll put it in a jar.  We’ve canned a lot of “old faithfuls” and we’ve experimented.  We enjoy canning.  Some folks enjoy reading, crafting and outdoor sports, we enjoy all of that too, but we LOVE canning.

Here’s what we canned in 2017:

  • 43 ~ Greens – Pints
  • 18 ~ Greens – Quarts
  • 10 ~ Strawberry Pie Filling
  • 11 ~ Strawberry Rhubarb Jam
  • 6  ~ Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Filling
  • 10 ~ French Onion Soup
  • 22 ~ Pintos
  • 17 ~ Navy Beans
  • 12 ~ Red Beans
  • 20 ~ Black Beans
  • 12 ~ Baked Beans
  • 4 ~ Chickpeas
  • 7 ~ Watermelon Rind Pickles
  • 51 ~ Pickled Beets
  • 32 ~ Squash
  • 14 ~ Zucchini
  • 21 ~ Blackberry Jam
  • 28 ~ Blackberry Pie Filling
  • 134 ~ Green Beans – 98 of those in 36 hrs!!
  • 10 ~ Garlic Dill Pickles
  • 13 ~ Garlic Dill Zucchini Pickles
  • 9 ~ Mrs. Patty’s Bread and Butter Pickles
  • 21 ~ Mrs. Wages Bread n Butter
  • 5 ~ Slaw
  • 42 ~ Cabbage
  • 19 ~ Pickled Okra
  • 15 ~ Peach Jam
  • 14 ~ Peaches – Pickled
  • 14 ~ Peaches – Cold Packed
  • 7 ~ Peaches – Hot Packed
  • 7 ~ Peach Cobbler Mix
  • 4 ~ Peach Syrup
  • 14 ~ Pepper Jelly
  • 38 ~ Cranberry Sauce
  • 8 ~ Cranberry Juice
  • 62 ~ Potatoes
  • 24 ~ Sweet Potatoes
  • 27 ~ Apple Sauce
  • 8 ~ Pear Sauce
  • 16 ~ Stew Meat – Deer
  • 6 ~ Stew Meat – Beef
  • 25 ~ Pork Loin
  • 7 ~ Chicken
  • 23 ~ Hotdog Style Chili
  • 36 ~ Creamer
  • 6 ~ Ground Beef
  • 10 ~ Swedish Meatballs
  • 17 ~ Meatloaf
  • 87 ~ Sausage
  • 36 ~ Vegetable Beef Soup
  • 24 ~ Spaghetti Sauce
  • 53 ~ Tomatoes
  • 21 ~ Tomato Jam
  • 15 ~ Tomato Basil Soup
  • 12 ~ Tomato Soup
  • 34 ~ Salsa
  • 16 ~ Oatmeal
  • 20 ~ Dried Apples
  • 8 ~ Spice Cake
  • 14 ~ Tea Concentrate

Plus we froze over 250 ears of corn!  Needless to say, it was a good harvest year on the family farm.  Approximately 90% of our produce comes from Marshall Farms.  We joke that I will work for food, but I literally do.  I work in exchange for produce, one of the benefits of being a Daddy’s girl who lives close to home.

Now, let’s get canning, 2,018 is going to be an AMAZING YEAR!  Seriously, I’m going to make some coffee creamer today – inventory is low.

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Canning Vegetable Beef Soup

My crowd LOVES a good pot of vegetable beef soup, so much so that we’ve started canning it in 1/2 gallon jars!  You can add stew meat or ground beef to it but a good soupy vegetable base is important.

Here’s what canning soup day looks like in our kitchen.  This day we canned nearly 10 gallons.  I like to mark things off my list.  By canning 16 half gallon jars and 12 pints (for our parents) it makes for a lot of work but we’ve got our stash of soup for the year!


Remember when we can, we can big.  This recipe will easily fill 2-3 pressure canners.  The quantities below will give you eight 1/2 gallon jars and a Crockpot full for lunch.

We go to all efforts to keep from using store bought canned vegetables when making our soup.  We use lots of frozen vegetables, dried beans soaked overnight and vegetables that we canned.   Spices in this recipe are an estimate – due to the fact my husband cooks like most Grandma’s – shake and sample.  We grab our largest stock pot and we start by literally dumping our favorite veggies into a the pot, bringing it to a low boil.  The goal is to get this huge pot hot. If you don’t have these canned goods on hand, use roughly the same quantity of store bought fresh, canned or frozen.

At this point I add my jars to the oven and turn it on 200 degrees to get the jars to the desired temperature before filling them.

This will fill a 20 qt pot:

  • 3 quarts of canned tomatoes
  • 1 lg bag of frozen corn kernels
  • 2 small bags of frozen sliced carrots
  • 4 – 15 oz cans of diced potatoes, drained and rinsed (I’ve yet to find a frozen diced potato that I like)
  • 2 quarts of canned pintos
  • 2 quarts of canned green beans (or 1 bag frozen)
  • 2 lbs of green dried peas, soaked over night (or frozen)
  • 2 lbs of northern beans, soaked over night
  • 1 cabbage head diced
  • 2 onions diced
  • 32 oz Beef Broth


Then start adding the spices listed below to taste….if I had to guess, we start out with 1 Tablespoon of each the salt and pepper, 2 Tablespoons of the Worcestershire and 2 Tablespoons of Texas Pete.  This is where you will have to trust your taste buds.


  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • Texas Pete

Once it is seasoned to your liking, lightly brown the meat in a cast iron pan before adding to the soup.  Or you can add the raw meat to jars; whichever you prefer.  We have found that it’s easier to distribute the meat equally if we add the meat to the jars rather than to the soup pot.

  • 10 lbs of stew meat lightly browned

Then begin filling hot sterile jars.


Use a knife to get the air bubbles out of each jar.  Once that is done, wipe rims with a sterile cloth and place on the hot lids and rings. Pressure for 90 minutes on 10 lbs of pressure.  The pints we pressure for 75 minutes.


Canning Cranberry Juice

Cranberry juice is one of those things that I never seem to have on hand when I need it and one of those things that I always forget to add to the grocery list.

If you start looking for recipes to make cranberry juice, you’ll find 15 different amount for cranberries and 15 different amounts for sugar….

Here’s what I used:

  • 1 3/4 cup fresh cranberries
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • Boiling Water

I start a stock pot of boiling water and place my sterile jars in the oven on 200 degrees to get them hot.

Fill hot jars with 1 & 3/4 cup of cranberries, then 1/2 cup of white sugar.

Add boiling hot water to fill up to 1/2″ headspace and stir well.


Clean rims of jar with sterile cloth and add hot lids and ring.  Place in water bath and process for 25 minutes at full rolling boil.


Remove jars and leave untouched for 12-24 hours until they are completely cooled. Check the lids to make sure they are sealed.  At this point, I turn my jars upside down and gently shake them to get the color to change throughout the entire jar.



Remove rings and clean jars with warm soapy water to remove any stickiness and store in a cool, dark place.  Wait 4-6 weeks for the cranberries to really infuse the water before opening.

***Grapes can be processed the same way.

***I have learned this is essential to have you n the shelf for those with kidney and bladder issues. Better than anything you can buy at the drug store.

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