What a pickle we’re in!

And by “pickle,” we actually mean pickles! No really…keep reading…

Things were pretty slow here this week, thanks in no small part to the H-E-A-T-W-A-V-E. As crazy as the wet, wet weather of June was, this week was so dry that we were practically begging for rain! Most of our work this week went into making sure the garden had enough water. Last year we set up an irrigation system. This year, the set up remains unset. With the changes and expansions we made to the garden layout, it’s actually just easier to water every evening than to rejigger irrigation hoses that won’t reach to all the plants anyway. Though each evening promised rain, none came. Most of the plants survived the extremely hot, dry days — we did end up losing a portion of a cucumber plant, but that was it. We made fairly short work of our water stores over the week. And just when we thought our rain barrels were gong to run dry, BAM! thunderstorm Saturday evening.  It was…wonderful.

And quite spectacular!
And quite spectacular!

Though one cucumber plant met its demise, the rest of the plants have been very prolific, which meant…pickles! A couple weeks ago, we wrote a little about a refrigerator pickle recipe that we once had but was now missing. Well, it was still missing when we went to look for it other day. So, we went to the internet and our stash of cook books to get some ideas.  After some searching, we devised the following recipe:

2-3 cups thinly sliced cucumbers
1 1/2 cups white vinegar
3/4 cups sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon dill

Combine all ingredients except cucumbers in a small pan, bring to a boil, cook for 1 minute, and cool. Sanitize jars and lids in boiling water. Remove jars and lids from water and let them dry and cool. Pack cucumbers into jars (not quite to the top) and pour in the brine. Let the jars cool to room temperature before screwing on the lids. Place jars in refrigerator. Pickles can be eaten in 24 hours, or are best after at least three days.

Um…that last sentence might be made up…but it’s what we remember from the lost recipe. We let them sit for a week before trying. We’ll probably do the same with this round. Oh, we also used large mason jars — think spaghetti jar-size. The recipe above is enough to fill a 28-30 ounce jar. Presumably, it could easily be split into smaller jars.

They look tasty already!
They look tasty already!

Also, also…since we made up this recipe, we’re not entirely sure how they’re going to turn out….so we can’t really recommend it yet.  Whatever the results are, we’ll let you know next week!

In addition to dealing with excess cucumbers, we also had to make use of our basil, some of which was just wilting away in the heat.

Some of our traditional basil after cutting — large leaves, very fragrant.
This basil (picture taken before cutting) has a small leaf but an intensely delicious flavor.

This evening we put some of the smaller basil in a veggie/chicken coconut curry — it was the perfect addition. The other basil made its way onto pizza. It’ll be great when our tomatoes start coming in and we can start making sauces. Till then, this week promises to be cooler and sunny with some rain, and we know our plants are looking forward to “normal” weather as much as we are!


9 thoughts on “What a pickle we’re in!

  1. gardeningkiwi 07/22/2013 / 4:41 am

    Hi There. You cook like I cook. I peruse about half a dozen or so recipes – mostly online, then shut the computer down and wing it! Sometimes I get some really interesting results. The only problem is I don’t remember what I’ve done, and so if it was really good, all it can ever be is a memory, as I wouldn’t be able to make it again!
    I hope your pickles are fabulous!
    Cheers Sarah : o )

    • Garden State-ments 07/24/2013 / 9:59 am

      Haha! They see to be doing fine in the fridge….so far anyway. We’ll crack them open this weekend and hope for the best! (But really, it’s hard to go completely wrong with cucumbers in salty vinegar. Yum!) Your comment makes us think that we’re glad we typed out our “recipe,” because we know we’d forget it come next year…or shoot, even next week! The cucumbers are still going strong, so we predict more pickling will happen in the near future. 😀

  2. anonymous 07/24/2013 / 10:03 am

    Our weather is mimicking your weather. The plants that are doing best so far are the leaf lettuce and potatoes. We waited too long to pick the radishes so we lost those. The beets got washed away during one of our rainstorms so we have a few plants scattered in the row. The tomatoes are pathetic, finally they got some fertilizer. We are hoping they will not get the blight that is going around. We have been able to pick some green beans which were delicious. So far the beans plants are very small – could be because of the rain. We have one cucumber that will get picked today and shared between seven people. That should be fun. It looks like we will have a bumper crop of cucumbers if you go by all the flowers on the plants. Fresh cucumbers – yummy! I finally got the whole garden weeded though my fingers did not appreciate all the pulling of weeds. We have got a fork but it is a very large one – too big to be much help in the garden. I am going to go and get a small one, about 3-4 prongs, that way I can stay off my knees as much as possible. Continue to enjoy your garden as we are ours.

    • Garden State-ments 07/25/2013 / 8:36 pm

      Thanks! We just picked more cucumbers, and we can tell there’s going to be even more in another week. Pickles only go so far, so we’ve been looking at various salad recipes. And judging by all the flowers on the tomatoes plants, we’ll be in for as bumper crop of those. Very exciting!

      We have to get back out and do some serious weeding, so we hope the nice weather will hold out through to weekend. We’re in a cool snap now, which we love, but some of the plants, like the peppers and zucchini, are not liking at all. And a squirrel got into the corn, so ears that we’re growing are gone. That was particularly maddening to find. But all in all, things seem to be alright.

  3. Chuck 07/28/2013 / 4:26 pm

    The only pickling I can do is getting myself INTO one! LOL nice post…and great site. I have what my friends have dubbed a “Brown Thumb.” They claim I couldn’t grow dandelions if I tried. LOL So, I’m reduced to cut flowers on the dining table and fresh produce from the market. 🙂

    • Garden State-ments 07/28/2013 / 8:43 pm

      Ha! We were hardly confident in our gardening skills when we first started. It’s easier than it seems, although frustrating at points, but it’s not for everyone. We certainly have our moments of doubt when we’d rather just run to the produce section. Never really thought we’d ever become gardeners, but here we are! Thanks for reading and commenting! 🙂

  4. The Belmont Rooster 08/05/2013 / 1:41 am

    Well, at least you have pickles! Wonder how they would taste with squirrel?

    • Garden State-ments 08/05/2013 / 3:30 pm

      Squirrel (and rabbit) stew is certainly a delicacy in some parts… 😉

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