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Probably one of my favorite parts of being a homesteader is getting to do all that yummy cooking with all of those fresh fruits and vegetables that I get to bring in to my house! Today though I made probably one of my favorite things ever…
There is something about the sour, the crunch, the bit of saltness that they have that makes them THE KING OF CUCUMBERS TO ME!!
I have about 10 cucumber plants all together, including burpless, and pickling varieties, and even when they aren’t pickled they are still one of my favorite vegetables to eat and to grow. I find that they are probably one of the easiest things to grow and sustain, especially if you have a space, or can make a space for them to grow and climb. I also find them to be especially hardy.
Making pickles though… That sounds scary!
BUT IT’S NOT! And I promise you that and most people seem to think that Dill Pickles which is the variety that we will be making today is the hardest but I found them relatively easy to make. If you can make macaroni and cheese then rest assured that you are capable of making your very own pickles at home.
Now only a word of caution here, if you are planning on making these pickles and digging in right after they’re done I am sorry that you will be very sadly disappointed especially if you love the vinegar taste like me!
I apologize you will have to excuse my sideways pickle jar here, we are having a little bit of technical difficulty today! But look at that color you can see how fresh the cucumbers are and you can see everything that is inside of it and let me tell you that you can grow almost all of it!
So this is a recipe that has been handed down to me from my Nana Alice, now as you know Nana Alice was as sassy and sour as these pickles from old posts. So any time that I get to cook something of her’s it just brings back the nostalgia of my childhood.
Let’s get into the ingredients that you will need.
1 1/2 pounds cucumbers (a pickling variety is best)
4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed (You may
2 teaspoons fresh dill
1 cup vinegar
1 cup water
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 wide-mouth pint jars with lids
First you are going to cut off the top and bottom of the cucumber being sure to get off the flower butt of the cucumber. This part of the cucumber contains enzymes that can lead to limp pickles and no one likes a limp pickle. Next you are going to cut your cucumbers no as you can see I prefer to cut mine into spears but you could do halves, slices, or even squares if you wanted, this part really is just a matter of preference, and because I have three little boys who won’t eat the skins I find this is the easiest way to make them. Once you’ve completed this you are going to split your cucumbers between your two jars. I opted to use one large jar instead.
In small sauce pan combined vinegar, water, salt, dill, and garlic over high heat. Bring to a rolling boil. Pour the brine over the pickles, filling each jar to within 1/2-inch of the top. You might not use all the brine.
Now you can choose to give them a bath to help the canning process but this isn’t necessary especially if you are planning to eat them in the near future and you have the room to keep them refrigerated. What I do is let them sit upside down on a flat surface until they’ve cooled to room temperature, this helps to seal the jars and to ensure that there is a good vacuum.
The great thing about pickling is that you can pickle almost all of your summer vegetables, green beans, green tomatoes, I recently traveled down to Virginia and while checking out local farmers markets I even saw that people are making pickled summer squash and zucchini.
But since we are talking about preserving foods today why don’t we add one more to our list just for the day!
Anyone who has ever had a fresh tomato from the garden in the summertime knows that there is just nothing quite like it, everything in it is better, the flesh, the skin, even the seeds just seem to taste a little better! And anyone who has ever watched TV has heard all about how Hunt’s flash freezes there tomatoes right after they have been picked at the peak of perfection so that they can bring us canned varieties of this favorite vegetable in whole, diced, and stewed varieties!
So what exactly do they do well once again it is as simple as making macaroni and cheese so if you can do that you can do this as well! I first learned this process from my Dad, who learned it from his mother. Cape Cod in the 1960’s wasn’t exactly the happening place that it is now a days and so many people opted to grow their own, so preserving these summertime classics was a good way to ensure that you could make sauces, and other things at a later date.
To do this all you have to do is boil a pot of water, drop in your tomatoes, once you see the skin start to split, take the tomato out peel it drop in a gallon size ziplock bag and pop those babies in the freezer! And then you have your own flash frozen whole tomatoes for your next sauce!
As always from all of us here at the Half Acre Homestead!
PEACE LOVE SALVATION!