Crunchiest Homemade Pickles

I love many things in life; one of those things is vinegar.

Anything from hot sauces, vinaigrette and obviously anything pickled.

This summer I took my try again at making pickles. I made them about three years ago but they were too mushy ( and what is worse than a soft pickle??). America's test kitchen is always a reliable source for tried and tested recipe,s and this recipe is a variation of their "dill pickle chip" recipe with my own twist.


The main thing that made the biggest difference in these pickles was letting them sit in salt for an hour. This helps draw out moisture and keeps them crispy as heck.

Crunchiest Homemade Pickles


2 1/2 pounds of pickling cucumbers

2 tablespoons canning and pickling salt

2 cups of chopped dill plus for large sprigs

3 cups of  vinegar

3 cups of water

1/4 cup of sugar

4 garlic cloves peeled and quartered


1.  Put cucumbers in a bowl with salt and put into the refrigerator. Drain is colander don't rinse and pat try with a towel.

2. Bundle chopped dill in cheesecloth and secure with twine. Bring the dill sachet, vinegar, water, sugar to boil in a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Cover and remove from heat, and let steep for 15 minutes, discard sachet.

3. Meanwhile set in canning rack ( once again if you are bootleg like me just put a dish towel at the bottom to avoid jars having direct contact with the bottom of the pot). Bring to a simmer over medium high heat , then turn off heat and cover to keep hot.

4. Place dish towel flat onto counter. Using canning tongs remove jars from pot, draining water back into pot. Place jars upside down on the towel and let dry for a few minutes. Pack jar tightly with dill sprigs, garlic, and drained cucumbers.

5.Return brine to brief boil. Using a funnel and ladle, pour hot brine over cucumbers to cover, distributing spices evenly and leaving 1/2 inch head space. Slid wooden bamboo skewer alongside the jar, pressing slightly on the vegetables to remove air bubbles, and add a bit more brine if needed.

6. You can can these but honestly I ate them in a month.

7. To can them: When jars are warm, wipe rims clean and add lids to jar, screw on rings; however do not over tighten. Before processing jars. Lower jars into water, bring water to a slight simmer and cook for 30 minutes. Remove jars from pot and let cool for 24 hrs. Check seal, they can stored for up to 1 year ( good luck with that though).

Thanks for reading,





Nonna's Unofficial Canned Tomato Sauce

Oh hi there!! Bored of me yet? Honestly it doesn't matter because you've got 22 more days of these posts.

Okay so chances are I am going to post two different tomato sauce recipes this month. Is this because i'm secretly a 26 year old nonna? ( probably). Okay not really the real reason being my Opa gave me some tomatoes (some is an understatement but lets continue) so I thought I would make some sauce. So some tomatoes ended up being a half a bushel of tomatoes.


*nervously laughs at all the tomatoes*



Okay so I foolishly decided I wanted to make this sauce during the week. Obviously my suggestion would be to take a Saturday and do the whole process in one day you have off. This one is a biggie but I really enjoyed doing it.

Let's get into it.

Nonna's Unofficial Canned Tomato Sauce


  • 30 pounds ripe plum tomatoes
  • 6 or 7 onions chopped
  •  1 tablespoon of lemon juice for every mason jar
  • 2 teaspoons salt (optional)


  1. Boil a pot of water and prep the ice bath. Bring a large  stockpot of water to a boil over high heat. Fill a large mixing bowl with ice and water and set this next to the stove.

  2. Prepare the tomatoes for blanching: Core out the stems from the tomatoes and slice a shallow "X" in the bottom of each fruit. ( see picture above)

  3. Blanch the tomatoes to peel them: Working in batches, drop several tomatoes into the boiling water. Cook until you see the skin starting to wrinkle and split, 45 to 60 seconds, then lift the tomatoes out with the slotted spoon and plunge them into the ice water. Continue with the rest of the tomatoes, transferring the cooled tomatoes from the ice water to another mixing bowl as they cool.

  4. Strip the peels from the tomatoes: When finished blanching, use your hands or a paring knife to strip the skins from the tomatoes.

  5. Add a few tablespoons of olive oil and the chopped onions to your large stock pot and cook for 10 minutes until soft. While the onions cook, working in batches, pulse the tomatoes in the food processor. Transfer each batch into the Dutch oven or stockpot.

  6. Simmer the tomatoes: Bring the tomato sauce to a simmer over medium heat. Continue simmering for 90 minutes or until the flavor has developed to your liking, stirring occasionally, until the sauce reaches the taste and consistency you like

Canning The Sauce

  1. Transfer the hot sauce into sterilized canning jars. Top with new, sterilized lids, and screw on the rings until finger tight.
  2. Add to tablespoons of bottled lemon juice. Use a ladle to pour the sauce into the jars through a canning funnel, leaving 1/2-inch headspace at the top
  3. Run a clean chopstick around the inside of the jar to dislodge any trapped air. Wipe the rims of the jars with a damp paper towel. Place the lids on, and screw on the rings until just finger-tight.
  4. Seal the jars: Using canning tongs, gently transfer the jars to the canner- if you don't have a canner like me because the one I bought immediately (super fun). You can put tea towels at the,  bottom of the large stock pot this allows the glass to have a barrier from the bottom of the stock pot.

  5. When all the jars are in the pot, there should be at least 1 inch water covering them; if you need more, add water from the kettle until the jars are sufficiently covered. Bring the water to a full rolling boil, and process for 40 minutes. I found every 10 minutes or so I was adding water.

  6. Remove and cool: Using  tongs, gently remove the jars from the canner and transfer them to a kitchen towel or cooling rack, again keeping them vertical. Do not set hot jars directly on to cool counter surfaces. Leave to cool, undisturbed, for at least 12 hours.

  7. If any of the jars do not seal when cool, reprocess using the method above, or refrigerate and use immediately. Label and store: Add a label to the lid or side of your jar, noting the date it was canned. Remove the rings and store jars in a cool, dark place for up to one year. Refrigerate after opening.

Recipe inspiration:

Thanks for reading,