Not The Target Market

A Never-ending Bounty

Since the beginning of last week, I have added considerably to the pickle supply. We are now approaching 30 jars on the shelf in the cellar. That shelf will probably collapse before the season is over.

I am beginning to peak around the corner before entering the kitchen, especially if The Farmer has been out tending his crops. More often than not there is a pile of freshly harvested cucumbers waiting for my attention. And then last Thursday our CSA distributions began and what was in the first bag? Cucumbers and zucchini, of course.

Besides the ever-increasing mound of cukes in the refrigerator, I also have 2½ monster zucchini and numerous “normal” ones I’m trying to figure out how to use. For all he grows them, The Farmer will only put up with so much zucchini (or cucumber) in his meals, no matter how tastily prepared. And the reason for only half a monster squash is that while it was well on its way to monster-hood, The Farmer found it before it actually turned into a baseball bat like its brothers.

I know this is business as usual for most gardeners this time of year, but it’s is the first year we’ve had a “real” vegetable garden and it is a bit of a shock to the system.

This afternoon on two separate occasions, as I passed through the kitchen, I found a pile of cucumbers waiting for me. When The Farmer came in from the garden yet again, this time blessedly only with tomatoes in hand, he found me making a gin and tonic.

Me: See what you’re driving me to!

The Farmer: I’m not taking responsibility for that – you’ve been talking about a G&T since breakfast…

Which perhaps overstates the case, but with these Sisyphean cucumbers taking over my life, surely a little restorative on a Sunday afternoon is in order.

2 Comments

  1. Sue Klejeski

    I’m getting ready to pickle a bunch of baby dills. Do you have a recipe you’d be willing to share?

    Reply
    1. Elizabeth (Post author)

      I am always happy to share recipes. I’ve left out all the details re: sterilizing and processing, etc., as they are the same for any canning recipe and I know you are way more experienced than I am.

      But before I give you the dill recipe, I want to tell you that I am experimenting with steeping cucumbers in gin and lime, with a little salt and a pinch of sugar. Rather like a fresh German cucumber salad with a kick. I am hoping for a life-saving, low(ish) calorie afternoon snack or an interesting addition to an hors d’oeuvre tray (similar to cherry tomatoes steeped in vodka and Worcestershire sauce…) I’ll let you know how it comes out…

      3 pounds pickling cucumbers
      1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
      1 1/2 cups water
      2 tablespoons pickling salt
      8 garlic cloves, peeled
      4 teaspoons dill seed
      2 teaspoons black peppercorns
      1 teaspoon red chili flakes

      Sterilize jars/lids.
      Slice cucumbers (I’ve been making spears, but I think the next batch will be chips.)
      Bring vinegar, water, salt to boil.
      Divide garlic, dill, peppercorns, pepper flakes equally among jars. (This is supposed to make 4 pint jars; I find it makes more like 6, so I think of the spices as 2 garlic cloves, 1 tsp. dill seed, ½ tsp peppercorns and ¼ tsp. red pepper flakes per jar. I also add a couple of sprigs of dill flowers/leaves because that is another thing the garden is producing lots of.)
      Pack jars with sliced cukes.
      Pour brine into jars leaving ¼” head space.
      De-bubble, wipe rims, put on lids and process for 10 minutes. (I use a water bath as I don’t have pressure canning equipment.)

      Reply

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