Can Jam – July Edition: Cucurbits!

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Can Jam is challenge to can something monthly, chosen by a fellow blogger, and blog about it. Trying new things, seeing what is in season locally & getting to know a lot of  cool people. We’ve done Citrus, Carrots, Alliums, Herbs, Rhubarb (or Asparagus) and Berries… and now introducing:

Cucurbits!

Gloria over at Laundry,Etc chose July’s key canning ingredient! Not the whole family of cucurbits… but definitely cucumbers, melons & zucchini. Read all about the family Cucurbitaceae on her blog and check out her beautiful writing and photos while you are there!

None of July’s options were producing in the garden yet. Again. It seems Seattle is in a perpetual spot of being (at least) 1 month behind in all that is cannable for the Can Jam! A problem? No! This allows me to check out what people all over have done, sift out the recipes I like the best and save them for when something is in season! I’m starting to see this as a bonus! The Can Jam is doing the work for me! Kind of like having a whole bunch of recipe testers! Nice!

I did find some nice looking pickling cucumbers at a local fruit/veggie stand and chose a standard dill relish. Nothing fancy. Nothing unique. Just a nice, basic relish for my lovely Ladyfriend to add to tuna salad. Or for the occasional delicious hotdog that finds their way into our house and onto the grill.

july can jam dill relishStarting with great looking cucumbers…

july can jam dill relishand then you have this summery yumminess!

You see… rhubarb-rosemary-randomness (as I’ve made before) isn’t really her thing. (Who am I kidding? It is the least favorite thing I’ve canned so far. That, my friends, was no jam.  It is a misnamed grilled meat glaze. To be fair, it is a mighty fine glaze. But it is horrid jam.) This same Ladyfriend just finished writing a long-ass dissertation and is now Dr. Social Work Ladyfriend. Clearly she deserves something… even if it is just for me to can something she would like!

I did just a half recipe from Ball Blue Book of Preserving… because, even if it turns out fantastic (which it did!), how much dill relish can 2 people eat?

july can jam dill relish

Dill Relish

Ingredients:

  • 4 pounds of pickling cucumbers
  • ¼ cup pickling salt
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 2 cups of water
  • ½ pound onion
  • ~2 & ½ TBSP sugar
  • 1 (heaping) TBSP dill seed
  • 1 (heaping) TBSP dill weed
  • 2 cups white wine vinegar

Instructions:

  • Wash & drain cucumbers.
  • Cut off blossom & stem ends.
  • Finely chop cucumbers (see below helpful hints).
  • Place in non-reactive bowl, sprinkle with salt & turmeric.
  • Cover with water & let soak for 2 hours (I did about 6 hours)
  • Drain under cold water and rinse well.
  • Peel & finely chop onions.
  • Place cucumbers, onions & remaining ingredients in large sauce pot and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat & simmer 10 minutes.
  • Ladle hot relish into hot, prepared jars, leaving ¼inch headspace.
  • Wipe rims and adjust lids.
  • Process 15 minutes in boiling water bath canner.

Yield: 7 or 8 half pints

(**As always, follow good canning guidelines.)

Cucumber dicing made easy:

july can jam dill relish1) cut the blossom/stem ends off

july can jam dill relish2) slice off a thin layer of 1 side to give you a solid edge & keep the bugger from rolling about

july can jam dill relish3) place on cut edge and slice into slices in desired thickness

july can jam dill relish4) stack a few slices in a stack and cut into strips

july can jam dill relishthen you have nicely diced cucumbers!

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