GARDEN UPDATE & MAKING PICKLES!!!by Robin
Here are a few pics of the gardens. This is garden #2, which is our new garden. It was started with 100% horse manure, drip irrigation and 3 sets of trellis(es). We live & learn. I have 7 rows but probably should have gone with 6 or even 5 if I had know how good this was going to work out.
Here is my first baby, Garden #1. We started from almost scratch in here. Some of the tomatoes were started from seed in pots and a couple were moved from other parts of the garden and put into new areas with like-kind or closer to a drip irrigation line. Mostly, there are various tomatoes here & sunflowers. The zucchini were added later when I lost a lot of Black Krim tom seedlings.
Here is the far side of Garden #2. Left is cucumber vines and right is 2 types of bean vines.
Here is yesterday's harvest. I also harvest, over the weekend, about 2.5 gallon freezer baggies worth of beans, plus a few squash. I have found myself working a part-time job with this awesome harvest!
Ok, so here comes the 2nd part of my blog. Making bread-n-butter pickles. I've made 11 jars of dill pickles and 2 pint jars of sandwich stackers (dill), but now I want to expand my horizons with the 15 cucumbers I picked yesterday. Below is the recipe that I followed.
For 3 hrs, you pull the moisture out of your pickles for crispier pickles. There are layers of onions, cukes and salt underneath that ice. The ice keeps everything fresh. Bell peppers were also recommended but I didn't have any on hand. Those will be coming in a couple of weeks.
Two & a half hours later, I start with making the brine. I followed the recommendations of others and made a double-batch but in truth, I needed a 3rd (minus the seeds) to fill the remainder jar. Be careful of the tumeric, it stains everything!! You will need to clorox your counters after this.
While the brine is beginning to boil, turn your attention back to the veggie mix. I love reading other's reviews of recipes because that can save you a lot of heartache on a mis-step in the recipe writing. I drained off the water that was pulled out of the cukes & onions. Remove the ice. RINSE THE VEGGIES 2x MORE!! You want to get the saltiness off the vegetables. That was not in the recipe itself but in 50% of the reviews!
I varied a little bit from the recipe for this step too, thanks to another reviewer's notes. I stuffed my sterilized jars FIRST, like you do with dill pickles. THEN, I put the brine into them. Remove air bubbles!
(This is still waiting for that last bit of brine.)
I let my kids join in with the process. My eldest is learning how to cook for class credit so he learned a lot today.
Of course, my stuntman got in on the action, while the big guy is dropping the jars into the boiler for 10-15 min. This allows for the jars to be kept on the shelf instead of having to be refrigerated.
We couldn't fit all the jars in, so this was a 2-step process.
With this recipe, the pickles are ready to eat as soon as they cool down. But, I will probably make my family wait a few days. I want the spices to have a chance to soak into the flesh of the veggie mix.