Canning is as much evolution as much as it is about traditions. Every summer I seem to add another food to my repertoire, thereby forming new batches of pickles or chutney I feel compelled to preserve along with the classics. “Why the heck am I even doing this,” I moan as I spend another entire Sunday sweating over a giant steaming kettle.
Well, I know why. It feels so good to have that tidy lineup of finished jams, relishes, salsas, and more filling my pantry. I like giving them away, too—it’s fun to do matchmaking. Some people covet bread and butter pickles, while others would way rather have the salsa. Wherever those finished jars live, popping the seal on one in January is like opening up a time capsule to a lost magical world that will someday return.
I hope you enjoy making canning these recipes as much as I do. Many of them are longtime favorites not only with Simply Recipes contributors, but with our readers, too. They’re just waiting to become annual summer traditions in your home.
Bread and Butter Pickles
These old-fashioned pickles are nearly like candy. Sweet and tart, they get their bright hue from a pinch of ground turmeric. An open jar never lasts long in my house.
Peach, Pear, and Plum Jam
Longtime contributor Sally Vargas created this recipe with the picture book “Each Peach Pear Plum” as inspiration. Her son lived that book as a child, and the jam she made with that fruit combination became a coveted gift. It’s so colorful and luscious, it’s not hard to see why. Make it when stone fruit is plentiful.
Plump sweet corn, ripe red tomatoes, cucumbers, and and bell peppers make up this tangy relish. It’s a standout on hot dogs. To dole your supply out for a whole year, consider canning it in half-pint jars.
Rose Hip Jelly
Collect wild rose hips top make this puckery jelly. It’s a fun communal activity. Ramanas roses and prairie roses are two varieties notable for large hips. They are reputed to taste sweeter after a frost, but there’s enough sugar in this jelly that a summer batch will turn out splendid in any case.
Escabeche (Pickled Jalapenos)
I think of this spicy pickled mix as Mexico’s cousin to giardiniera. You’ll often see it by the hot sauces and napkins at a good taqueria. The heat level all depends on your jalapenos.
Canned Tomato Salsa
Making a batch of this last summer turned me into a convert. What makes this salsa so good? Charring the tomatoes and the mix of peppers. It’s kind of a pain, yes, but the payoff is pure gold that you’ll covet. Unlike fresh salsa, canned salsa needs vinegar to make it safe for storage, but it tends to mellow in the jar over time, eventually letting the flavors of the tomatoes and hot peppers come through.
Picking a flat of strawberries is the first true act of summer where I live. If you go early in the morning you’ll see all the other jammers out there. This recipe has no added pectin and makes a fruit-forward jam with big blobs of strawberry in it.
Chow Chow Relish
A southern staple, chow chow is the relish you can at the end of the summer growing season as your garden peters out and you have an assortment of green tomatoes, bell peppers, and giant cabbages. It’s tasty on sandwiches, but I’ even happy to eat it right from the jar.
Figs either seem to be in short supply or in mind-boggling abundance. If it’s the latter, likely there’s a fig tree or two in your yard. Put a dent in the fig supply with this amazing fruit preserve. It’s equally home on toast as it is a cheese board.
How to Make Sauerkraut
In order to can sauerkraut, first you have to make sauerkraut. This guide tells you everything you need to know. Once it’s time to can it, the lion’s share of the work is done!
Having this Italian-American condiment around is so handy. Throw it into salads or top a deli sandwich with it. This homemade version is great because you can adjust the ratio of different vegetables to your liking.
Homemade Pickling Spice
Mixing your own pickling spice turns out to be quite economical if you already have the spices on hand. Use it in our bread and butter pickles and any other favorite cucumber pickles. It’s also great thrown into the poaching water for shrimp when you make shrimp cocktail.
Marinated Roasted Red Bell Peppers
Imagine having beautiful roasted red peppers at your fingertips for months and months! Add them to appetizer platters, put them on veggie sandwiches, or chop them up and add to sauces.
Jalapeno Pepper Jelly
That amazing color comes not from food coloring. It’s a few cranberries added to the peppers as they cook! Everyone loves the pepper jelly/cream cheese combo at parties, and this jelly is surprisingly easy.
Plum Conserve Jam
A Simply Recipes reader shared this unique family recipe. Conserve is a type of preserve with a mix of fresh and dried fruits, and sometimes nuts. This conserve has raisins and walnuts plus orange slices. It would be an excellent accompaniment on a cheese board.
Beets may be polarizing, but those with a passion for these earthy-sweet gems will adore this chunky chutney, which is really more like pickled neets dressed up with sexier spices.
Jalapeno Bread and Butter Pickles
Jalapenos get the bread and butter treatment in this brilliant take on a classic pickle recipe. They’re both unusual and familiar.
Folks, this jelly has to be experience to be believed. Elise Bauer, the founder of Simply Recipes, sent me a jar of hers and it was divine, so deep and yet so fruity. I can’t think of a better use for elderberries, and I know what I’ll be making next time I come across them growing on the side of a country road.
Instead of making your upmteenth loaf of zucchini bread, why not use up your mess of garden zucchini with this appealing pickle? These pickled zucchini have the same flavor profile as dill pickles, but with a little more body.
Peach and Pineapple Jam
This unlikely combo makes a sunny jam that you can use on top of scones and biscuits, or as a glaze for ham or pork chops.
Pickling okra tames the slime and renders this peak-summer vegetable crunchy. It’ll flip the doubts of okra skeptics and absolutely thrill okra lovers.