Putting up the last of the garden

Last year I think our first hard freeze didn’t occur until the first of November.  This year it happened mid-October.   Hubby covered the garden but to no avail. We had to go into salvage mode. I picked a few tiny eggplants, a few green tomatoes, and a bunch of peppers.

The very last from the garden.

After salvage mode, I went into preservation mode and started canning. I love pickled green tomatoes and this is my grandmother’s recipe.   I adapted it a bit because I didn’t have any dill seed so I added celery seed and mustard seed.   I also decreased the recipe so I could just make one quart.  (For the original recipe, click here.)

Dilled Green Tomatoes
Adapted from Grandmother

Green tomatoes (enough for one quart jar)
1 clove garlic
1 jalapeno
1/2 t. dill weed
1/4 t. celery seed
1/4 t. mustard seed
8 peppercorns
1 1/2 c. water
1/8 c. salt
1/2 c. cider vinegar

Pack  green tomatoes into one quart jar. Add garlic, pepper pod (in the past I have used dried chili peppers—today I used a red jalapeno), dill weed , celery seed, and mustard seed, and peppercorns to each jar. Heat  water, salt, and cider vinegar to boiling. Pour over tomatoes in jar and seal.  Refrigerate for one week before eating.

Grandma's pickled green tomatoes.


I picked peppers before my Wichita trip and put them in the refrigerator.  After the freeze,  I picked a  bunch more.   I hate that I often let peppers go in the crisper until they are moldy and hairy.  I  vowed not to do that with the last of this precious crop.   I made a salad out of some and then made these wonderful peppers.   I adapted the recipe from The Gourmet Cookbook (the yellow one).   For the original recipe, click here.

Colorful Roasted Pickled Peppers
Adapted from The Gourmet Cookbook

4-4 1/2 lbs. mixed peppers

I used some green, purple, and yellow bells as well as some pimentos and jalapenos.

1-3/4 c. cider vinegar
3/4 c. + 2 T. water
1/8 c. sugar
1 T. sea salt
6 cloves garlic
1/2 t. whole tri-color peppercorns
3 sprigs rosemary (about 3-4 inches long)

3 pint canning jars, rings and lids

Preheat broiler.  Line baking sheets with foil and coat each foil-lined tray with about 1 T. olive oil.  (This will keep the peppers from sticking.)   Arrange peppers on tray.

The fist batch in.

You will have to do this in batches.  Broil peppers skin sides up,  about 4 inches from heat until skins are blistered and lightly charred, 4 to 6 minutes.   Rotate tray about halfway through.

Roasted peppers

Transfer peppers to a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap.    Let peppers steam until cool, then peel and separate by color. Sterilize jars and lids. Bring vinegar, water, sugar, salt, garlic, and peppercorns to a boil in a small saucepan.    Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes. Drain jars upside down on a clean kitchen towel one minute, then invert.  Fill jars with pepper quarters, alternating colors.  Tuck 2 garlic cloves (from pickling liquid) and one rosemary sprig into side of each jar.  Fill jars with pickling liquid, leaving 1/4 inch of space at top,  then run a thin knife between vegetables and jar to eliminate air bubbles.   Place lids on jars and tighten rings.   You may also invert the jars a couple of times to remove air bubbles. Process jars in a water bath for 20 minutes.  Let peppers stand in jars at least 1 week for flavors to develop.

It takes a while to peel all the roasted peppers, but it is well worth it.  Ruth Reichl writes in The Gourmet Cookbook:

Roasted bell peppers are terrific, but pickling them in vinegar adds piquancy and tartness, taking them to a whole new level.  This is just the sort of thing you want to do with peppers in midsummer, when they are cheap and abundant at the farmers market.  We love these on an antipasto platter or piled into a hero sandwich.  Because they are so beautiful, they also make a stunning gift.

Or, it is just the sort of thing you want to do after the first freeze!  🙂   I also may use one jar for a gift this Christmas.

Three pints of pickled roasted peppers and one quart of pickled green tomatoes.

I am aware that I should be thankful, thankful for the sweet potatoes, basil, green tomatoes, and peppers this year.  I am also thankful for the upcoming cool weather and the time that the garden needs to revitalize itself in time for next spring’s plantings.

(Stay tuned for Sweet Potato-palooza as I experiment with new recipes to use my recent harvest!)

9 comments to Putting up the last of the garden

  • I don’t do much of pickling, if I did,usually just some fridge pickles…quick and appetizing.
    I love those baked stuffed peppers.

  • Liz

    What a treasure you have in your grandmother’s recipe…both pickles sound fabulous!

  • You did make the most of what you had! Produce is so expensive these days and it rarely keeps very long. I envy anyone that has access to a garden of goodies! Now that fall is here and you have sweet potatoes-I am sure you know exactly what to do with those. I look forward to your sweet potato

  • We finally had a freeze, and some snow in the higher elevations…argh winter is starting to show it’s ugly head!

  • Ann

    That is so cool! I love what you’re doing and honey bunny and I are planning on doing a large garden next year – so I read this post to him….

  • Since it’s warm here most of the time I rarely put anything up…but I love a great garden harvest.

  • LOVE anything pickled, though I’ve never pickled anything myself. You have motivated me to give it a whirl. Great post as always. 🙂

  • Ohhhh, I have been CRAVING marinated artichokes and mushrooms for the last hour, so the idea of pickled peppers and tomatoes SINGS to me! I think I’m going to have to go attack my pickled okra to satisfy my craving. You are so industrious with growing your own veg and canning! Go Debra!