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Posts Tagged ‘cucumbers’

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As my garden has grown over the years, I’ve slowly ventured into preserving the produce. It took several years of walking by the pressure canners in Wal-Mart and Target before I actually bought one. Then the canner sat in my attic for another year until I finally got up the nerve to use it.

I still don’t use the pressure option — something about fear of explosions is stopping me… But I’ve been pretty successful with pickling my vegetables using the hot-water bath canning method.

I’ve pickled squash, carrots, collards, mustard greens, and green beans. I’ve preserved chutney and salsa. And when I don’t have the time or desire to pull out the canner, I make refrigerator pickles.

I’ve used this method to pickle garlic chives, kohlrabi, beans, tomatillos and carrots. I also have made the most delicious cucumber pickles. (Unfortunately I can’t link to the recipe as my print-out doesn’t have the web address on it.)

While I love the ease of refrigerator pickles, I find I can’t eat them fast enough. And they are beginning to take up too much space in my fridge! So the recent glut of pickling cucumbers has made me research other preservation options.

I spent this past Friday evening perusing my cookbooks and the web. There’s numerous recipes out there for pickling cucumbers. But brining the cucumbers seemed too time consuming, not to mention complicated. I needed something simple and quick that I could do on Saturday.

So I pulled out my trusty copy of “The Joy of Pickling,” by Linda Ziedrich, and I was in luck! A recipe for quick dill pickles.

Saturday morning, I began my pickling project. I heated quart jars, and filled them with quartered cucumbers, dill, garlic, dried cayenne pepper, and black peppercorns. Then I added the hot vinegar mixture and processed according to instructions. The jars came out perfectly sealed.

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Quick and easy! So quick, in fact, that I had the time to process some dilly beans as well!

The cucumber pickles are supposed to sit a few weeks before opening, so it will be awhile before I know how they taste.

One small dilemma: I still have more pickling cucumbers coming in. My neighbor B. likes bread and butter pickles, and “The Joy of Pickling” does have a recipe for those. But I didn’t care for the bread and butter pickles my Aunt E. made, so I’m hesitant to make those. I fear that I am, at heart, a dill pickle girl.

So what about you? What are your favorite kind of cucumber pickles? And do you have an easy recipe for pickling cucumbers that you would like to share?

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Last weekend, I finally finished digging my last garden bed! This late addition to the summer garden now houses the extra tomatillo and basil seedlings that didn’t fit elsewhere.

Now that I’m finally finished constructing beds, it’s time to lock my shovel in the shed lest I be tempted to keep digging. It’s also past time to weed some flower beds, dead-head the roses, and basically switch to maintenance mode.

Phew!!!

I have already been enjoying some of the fruits of my labor: mostly squash, zucchini and green beans. And I’m excited to say that in the war against squash bugs, it’s currently MaryNell 1; evil bugs 0. Who knows how long that will last, but I have managed to can 14 pints of hot pickled squash as well as 4 pints of zucchini relish. Oh, and that doesn’t include all the squash I’ve eaten and shared. It’s been a good year!

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Still to come in the garden are corn (pictured above), potatoes and tomatoes:

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I’m looking forward to making some salsa with tomatillos…

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… and jalepenos:

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I can’t wait to try some fresh lima beans …

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… and to figure out how to season purple hull peas without oil or fatback:

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I’ve been harvesting the bush beans for awhile, but just noticed that my yard-long noodles are starting to appear …

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… as are the cucumbers!

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To be honest, I’ve been harvesting pickling cucumbers for the past week. On tomorrow’s agenda: refrigerator pickles!

So while I wait for the rest of the summer goodies to appear, I might as well steam up the last of the chard and snow peas. Writing about all this food has made me hungry!

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