The Busy Kitchen


It’s high canning season and I am wishing for my new workshop kitchen downstairs! My countertops are filled up with jars from the canning palooza of the past few weeks. After taking this photo, I broke down and schlepped all the jars downstairs to the new pantry area I’m setting up down there. There’s absolutely no room in my upstairs pantry off the kitchen to store as much home canning as I do now. It will be nice to can downstairs, and store downstairs, only bringing to my upstairs pantry what is needed for ready mealtime usage. And it will be even nicer to not have this big canning mess going on in my kitchen. I can leave my canning day behind, go upstairs, and make dinner in a tidy kitchen!

Georgia always canned over at the old farmhouse, and many women in days gone by (and some lucky ones today) had/have summer kitchens for canning. My workshop kitchen downstairs will be my summer kitchen of a sort. Party kitchen to my kids, workshop kitchen for my guests, canning–and cheesemaking–kitchen for me. It will be a busy kitchen, too!

It’s heavy-duty cucumber time here and I’ve been doing a lot of pickling. Just this morning, I canned both a round of Bread and Butter Pickles and a round of Dede’s Sweet Relish by 10 am! (I start early–I’ve got other stuff to do today!) Pickling recipes I’ve used in the past week include:

Bread and Butter Pickles (15 pints)
Sweet Gherkin Pickles (8 pints)
Dede’s Sweet Relish (8 pints)
Dill Pickles (8 pints)

I’ll be making another round of Sweet Gherkins and another round of Dede’s Sweet Relish coming up. I want to share a tip for draining relish that I came up with today after reading Dede’s suggestion of using a pillowcase to drain the relish (to keep from losing any of the tiny veggie bits). I used a large colander lined with disposable cheesecloth! Using a pillowcase makes me think lint. I’m always afraid of lint, which is why I prefer disposable cheesecloth when draining cheese. (I buy my disposable cheesecloth at New England Cheesemaking. See here. I buy 12 packages at a time for the price break. Aside from draining relish and making cheese, it’s good for all sorts of things including making jelly. It’s made of a poly material and stuff doesn’t stick to it like it does to cloth and YOU DON’T HAVE TO WASH IT. Love it.) Anyway, after rinsing and draining the relish a few times, for the final drain, another plus of using cheesecloth was that I just tied it to the sink faucet for about 20 minutes before dumping it back into the pot to get ready to can.

So easy! This is how I’ll be doing my relish from now on! (That is a GREAT relish recipe, by the way. I made it last year, too, and love it. The only thing I do differently is that I don’t add the food coloring. The Bread and Butter Pickles and the Sweet Gherkin Pickles are also delicious. That is my favorite Bread and Butter Pickles recipe. I’d say the Dill Pickles recipe is great, too, but I’m not such a fan of any kind of dill pickles. I just made those for the dill pickle people in my life.)

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Posted by Suzanne McMinn on July 15, 2011  

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9 Responses | RSS feed for comments on this post

  1. 7-15

    Things are alittle slow up here in upstate NY….have some things that are musts – zucchini “pickle” relish, zucchini bread and butter pickles, zucchini “pineapple” (can you tell we have alot of zucchini?) Can hardly wait for peaches and I live right in the heart of apple country!

  2. 7-15

    Can you rinse and reuse the disposable cheesecloth if you want, or is it a strictly one-use-only item? I hate to throw plastic away…

  3. 7-15

    daria, yes, you can rinse out and re-use the disposable cheesecloth several times, actually!

  4. 7-15

    The house we just bought and will be moving into next week has a summer kitchen on it! I can’t wait to be able to do all my messy cooking and canning marathons in there and save my main kitchen for meals. It will certainly keep everything a lot more tidy in there! Your downstairs kitchen area will be such a god send! I can’t wait to see the finished product :D

  5. 7-15

    I know the feeling of clutter from canning. i don’t have a summer kitchen, basement,or even a large pantry. I use a back bedroom for storing jars.It may be a mess but I feel so …content when I have lots of homecanned food!I like the idea of using cheese cloth to drain the relish! I’ll bet just cheap white netting from the fabric dept.would work too.

  6. 7-15

    I have another little tip to add~ When I make sweet pickles I put them in one of those jars for drinks that have the spout at the bottom. I just drain off the pickling liquid using the spout, add my sugar, boil and then return the liquid to the jar. You can tip it up and get every last drop out! My granny shared this tip with me, so I thought I’d pass it along. Also, using a zip top bag full of pickling liquid to weigh down your pickles works really, really well. It keeps the pickles down in there and conforms right to any jar shape. Plus, if it leaks it won’t hurt a thing since it’s filled with the same stuff that’s in the jar. Whew, this started out as a tip and ended up being a book! :wave:

  7. 7-15

    I know your kitchen is FULL of lovely canned items. Still, the sight of all those canned items looks really beuatiful :) :) It’ll be nice when you have your workshop kitchen completely finished :) :) Love and hugs from Oregon, Heather :) :fairy:

  8. 7-15

    I use oxford cloth. No lint, washable, it lasts forever.

  9. 7-15

    (I’m not sure why a pillowcase would have lint…)

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