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Making Pickles

July 14th, 2009

On Sunday evening I went out and picked 4 Boston Pickling Cucumbers that were the perfect size for pickling in spears. I have been reading through the book I got the other day and I settled on a quick pickle recipe.
I reduced the recipe because most of them call for several pounds of cucumbers and I only had about 1 and a quarter pound. So I found a recipe that made 1 quart. I changed it a bit, because I just can’t seem to follow a recipe by the book.
We’ll see how they turn out, I didn’t can them because it was such a small batch. I’m basically brining them in the fridge for a month or so.
Here’s the recipe I used:

Quick Small Batch Dill Pickles
4 pickling cucumbers (around 1 pound)
1 cup water
7/8 cup of white wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon of pickling salt
2 garlic cloves
8 peppercorns
2 teaspoons of pickling spice (or a pinch of flaked red pepper)
fresh dill sprigs
8 sour cherry leaves (they’re supposed to promote crispness) or 3-4 grape leaves

Bring water, vinegar and salt to a boil. Meanwhile scrub and cut pickles into desired sizes. Add pickling spices, peppercorns, fresh dill, cherry leaves to quart canning jar. Add pickles to jar and pour brine over the pickles. Seal with lid and put in refrigerator for at least one month. Alternately you can water bath can pints or quarts for 10 minutes .

I’ll let you know in a month or so how they turned out. My next batch will probably be using a different recipe, perhaps I’ll try soaking the cucumbers in salt before I pickle them. Or perhaps I’ll make some fermented pickles.

Do you like sour or sweet pickles?

June Harvest Tally

July 1st, 2009

I’ve been keeping track of just about everything we’ve been harvesting from the gardens this year with my handy dandy Garden Harvest Spreadsheet that I made up. It’s been great to watch all of my totals add up.
So far strawberries are our winning harvest, totaling over 25 pounds (and we’ve still got some more ripening). When I was at the grocery store I saw organic berries for $4.99/lb, that means we’ve saved over $120 – WOW. We froze some to make jam later, enjoyed a strawberry pie, some strawberry rhubarb crisp and strawberry pancake syrup, as well as a good amount of strawberry shortcake.
I’ve also been harvesting peas from the few plants that the deer didn’t find. Not as much as I had hoped, I have none tucked away in the freezer because we ate the 2 pounds (both shelled & sugar snap) harvested. We also harvested a half pound of herbs including: lemon thyme, thyme, chives, basil, oregano, and mint. A pound of lettuce is also on my tally as well as 2 pounds of sour cherries we picked at my mom’s house.
Wild Black Raspberries
My mom also invited me to pick some wild black raspberries are her house yesterday and I was able to pick 3 pounds. And the final exciting thing that made it in our June tally was 1.5 pounds of honey!
One of the frames in the hive was drawn out weird so we removed it and added a fresh frame, it happened to be about 1/3 filled with honey, so we harvested it. I must say, our bees make some pretty good honey!

What’s been in your harvest basket lately?

Tomato Soup Success

October 1st, 2008

I finally settled on a tomato soup recipe, I chose this one for it’s simplicity. On Sunday evening I made up a batch and canned 13 pints (I did can for longer than the recipe stated, I think the canning times may be a bit outdated, I water bath canned my pints for 35 minutes, I also added 1/2 cup of lemon juice to the soup). So how does it taste – deliciously local!

This will be perfect for a quick meal this winter, accompanied by a grilled cheese of course (but no Kraft or Velveeta here, ours are made with local cheddar from Heini’s or from Colonial Classics Farmstead Cheese (raw milk cheese that’s super local, only a few miles away) on homemade sourdough of course)

I will probably still make Roasted Tomato Garlic Soup, but I plan on making a small batch just for eating and perhaps freezing. I was reluctant to make a huge batch and pressure can it for 70 minutes and risk not liking it. If I have a chance I’ll do that this week and let you know if it’s worth the time.

Reading & Watching

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.