Posts Tagged ‘cucumbers’

Pickles, pickles, and more pickles…

Cucumbers.  Lots and lots… and lots of cucumbers.  That’s what we have and most of them are ginormous.  Something had to give with the cukes.  It’s nothing for us to go out, pick 5 and the next evening pick 10 more. 

As they piled up on the counter, I managed to sort out some smaller ones for canning pickles.  Having no clue how to can anything besides strawberry jam, I had to do a little research.  Like most every other subject, there’s plenty of information on the internet about canning pickles.  So many different recipes and methods it’ll make your head spin!  In the end, I went with a mixture of online instructions and the recipe on the back of a pickling mix I got at the store. : P  I’m going for easy on my first pickling adventure, you know. 

Pickling adventure #1

canned pickles Basically, I speared the cukes (because they were way too big for whole pickles) and soaked them in a vinegar/pickling mix solution.  Next, the spears were stuffed into jars by myself and my son.  At this point, all the other kids abandoned the operation out of boredom or some shiny thing caught their eye.  We filled the jars with the hot pickling solution, lidded and ringed the jars and placed them in the water bath.  Voila – we have pickles!  Okay, almost have pickles.  Now they get to sit for a month and a half to cure.

 

Pickling adventure #2

sun pickles So, yay!  We have nine jars of pickles!…  and still more cucumbers that even I can eat.  Now what?  And this is where my good friend Betty saves the day.  Mickey and Betty are vendors at the farmer’s market across the street from my house.  (I know, right?  You’re so jealous that I have a farmer’s market right across the street.  Every week.)  Anyhoo, I share with Mickey and Betty my cucumber dilemma and guess what sweet Betty brings me.  A gallon jar and TWO of her pickle recipes!  Sweet pickles and Sun pickles.  Well right away I’m enchanted.  Sun pickles?  Really?  I can make pickles harvesting energy and heat from the sun?  It’s almost mad scientist territory and I’m holding back my evil mad scientist laugh.  This is gonna be too fun. 

After, looking over the recipe I realize I have no fresh dill. : (  Everything else, I’m good on – garlic, vinegar, CUCUMBERS haha.  I’ll have to improvise. 

Instructions:  Wash cukes – use any size (even ginormous).  Cut 1/4 off each end.  If cukes are large, make deep slashes 1/4 inch from one end to the other.  This allows vinegar to penetrate cucumbers.  Pack into jar vertically.  Don’t overpack.  Add vinegar until the cukes are completely covered.  Add garlic and the fresh dill.  Whoops! No fresh dill.  Hmm, I know!  I’ll just sprinkle a bunch of dried dill in.  As I’m rummaging through the spice cabinets (I have four.  I love herbs and spices.), I notice the peppercorns.  Mmm, that sounds yummy in pickles.  In goes the peppercorns.  Then I think to myself.  Don’t pickles usually have mustard seed in them too?  I should add that.  In goes the mustard seed. 

Now, please don’t ask me how much I put in of my ‘extra’ ingredients.  I really have no idea and just shook the little jars till enough contents fell out that ‘looked right’.  You’ll have to use your mad scientist skills to figure that one out. 

Expose the jar to sunlight for 2 days for a total of 14 hours.  (at least)  Store pickles in refrigerator.  OR if you’re a little daring and you have a full fridge, just park those puppies on the tile floor right in front of the ac vent. 

*Note: if you wish to use salt, add 3 T salt to 2 quarts of water and decrease the vinegar to 1 quart.  Keep in sun for 3 days.

This second batch of pickles came out very tangy.  They have quite the punch of vinegar and dill.  Not unlike a pickle, just very strong.  I think next time I’ll try them with the salt.  I love salty pickles. 

I would LOVE to have a tried and true pickle recipe.  You know, the kind that someone’s grandmother has been making for years and always wins at the state fair kinda thing.  For now, we’re just experimenting with what we can find.  It’s not likely we’ll run out of cukes!

-knittingprose

Pickles, pickles, and more pickles…

Cucumbers.  Lots and lots… and lots of cucumbers.  That’s what we have and most of them are ginormous.  Something had to give with the cukes.  It’s nothing for us to go out, pick 5 and the next evening pick 10 more. 

As they piled up on the counter, I managed to sort out some smaller ones for canning pickles.  Having no clue how to can anything besides strawberry jam, I had to do a little research.  Like most every other subject, there’s plenty of information on the internet about canning pickles.  So many different recipes and methods it’ll make your head spin!  In the end, I went with a mixture of online instructions and the recipe on the back of a pickling mix I got at the store. : P  I’m going for easy on my first pickling adventure, you know. 

Pickling adventure #1

canned pickles Basically, I speared the cukes (because they were way too big for whole pickles) and soaked them in a vinegar/pickling mix solution.  Next, the spears were stuffed into jars by myself and my son.  At this point, all the other kids abandoned the operation out of boredom or some shiny thing caught their eye.  We filled the jars with the hot pickling solution, lidded and ringed the jars and placed them in the water bath.  Voila – we have pickles!  Okay, almost have pickles.  Now they get to sit for a month and a half to cure.

 

Pickling adventure #2

sun pickles So, yay!  We have nine jars of pickles!…  and still more cucumbers that even I can eat.  Now what?  And this is where my good friend Betty saves the day.  Mickey and Betty are vendors at the farmer’s market across the street from my house.  (I know, right?  You’re so jealous that I have a farmer’s market right across the street.  Every week.)  Anyhoo, I share with Mickey and Betty my cucumber dilemma and guess what sweet Betty brings me.  A gallon jar and TWO of her pickle recipes!  Sweet pickles and Sun pickles.  Well right away I’m enchanted.  Sun pickles?  Really?  I can make pickles harvesting energy and heat from the sun?  It’s almost mad scientist territory and I’m holding back my evil mad scientist laugh.  This is gonna be too fun. 

After, looking over the recipe I realize I have no fresh dill. : (  Everything else, I’m good on – garlic, vinegar, CUCUMBERS haha.  I’ll have to improvise. 

Instructions:  Wash cukes – use any size (even ginormous).  Cut 1/4 off each end.  If cukes are large, make deep slashes 1/4 inch from one end to the other.  This allows vinegar to penetrate cucumbers.  Pack into jar vertically.  Don’t overpack.  Add vinegar until the cukes are completely covered.  Add garlic and the fresh dill.  Whoops! No fresh dill.  Hmm, I know!  I’ll just sprinkle a bunch of dried dill in.  As I’m rummaging through the spice cabinets (I have four.  I love herbs and spices.), I notice the peppercorns.  Mmm, that sounds yummy in pickles.  In goes the peppercorns.  Then I think to myself.  Don’t pickles usually have mustard seed in them too?  I should add that.  In goes the mustard seed. 

Now, please don’t ask me how much I put in of my ‘extra’ ingredients.  I really have no idea and just shook the little jars till enough contents fell out that ‘looked right’.  You’ll have to use your mad scientist skills to figure that one out. 

Expose the jar to sunlight for 2 days for a total of 14 hours.  (at least)  Store pickles in refrigerator.  OR if you’re a little daring and you have a full fridge, just park those puppies on the tile floor right in front of the ac vent. 

*Note: if you wish to use salt, add 3 T salt to 2 quarts of water and decrease the vinegar to 1 quart.  Keep in sun for 3 days.

This second batch of pickles came out very tangy.  They have quite the punch of vinegar and dill.  Not unlike a pickle, just very strong.  I think next time I’ll try them with the salt.  I love salty pickles. 

I would LOVE to have a tried and true pickle recipe.  You know, the kind that someone’s grandmother has been making for years and always wins at the state fair kinda thing.  For now, we’re just experimenting with what we can find.  It’s not likely we’ll run out of cukes!

-knittingprose

can I can???

white scallop squash Well, it’s official.  We have cucumbers! : )  My favorite two things of summer – fresh homegrown cucumbers and tomatoes.  I really think I could live on them.  The kids and I picked about 4 the other day when we were out watering the garden and there were quite a few that looked like they’d be ready by the weekend.  As I was digging in the green beans I noticed several of our scallop squash that are beginning to take shape.  Have you seen these?  They have beautiful bright orange flowers that produce adorable little disc-shaped squash with a scalloped edge. 

I’m so very looking forward to tomatoes.  We have so many on the vine.  Lots of big green tomatoes that I’m just dying for to turn color!  This spring I planted 4 varieties – black giants, break o’ day, early girl and pink German tree.  I’ve not grown any of these varieties before so I’m eager to see what they all produce. 

Aside from the garden maintenance, I’ve been keeping busy studying up on things like canning and preserving our bounty.  Lord willing, I will have a canner before too long and we’ll have no trouble putting up some delicious tomatoes.  In all this reading, I’ve also gotten the idea to try canning some meat and full meals.  I wish I knew someone who’s had lots of experience at it.  We buy grassfed and local meat which can be expensive.  I’d love to have the ability of stocking up on meat during a good sale and be able to preserve it some other way than freezing.  I hate cooking frozen meat.  Not only is it a pain, but it just doesn’t taste as good.  Besides that, imagine getting home from church on Sunday afternoon about 1:30 and just popping open a couple cans of stewed meat or chili or soup, etc.  This seems like a great solution for so many occasions.

Speaking of all this veggie business, our little town started a farmer’s market that meets on Wednesday evenings just across the street from us.  We’ve learned so much about food and the like over the last year, it seems like this was just another little blessing from the Lord to encourage us.  We’ve enjoyed some great jams and treats from the vendors.  This week we’re expecting local honey which I’ve been wanting to get for a while now.  I’m hoping to talk to the vendor about some beeswax as well.  We’d like to make some candles and I’d love to have wax for salves on hand. 

All this is so new to us but we’re enjoying the process of learning and all the encouragement people seem eager to give. 

On a side note, it’s wonderful being pregnant again.  I’ve missed having a little one quite a bit and I’m savoring every second of this pregnancy.  Hopefully, we’ll find out if we’re expecting a boy or a girl sometime after our next appointment in July.  We’d love to eliminate half the name battle.  That’s our biggest struggle when it comes to having a new baby!

-knittingprose