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If Mother Nature is kind and you are lucky enough to grow some nice veggies this summer, especially cucumbers, cauliflower and carrots, exploring the world of pickling can offer a whole new appreciation of recipes and canning/preserving methods.
This article will focus on this writers’ garden, Gradi’s Organic Garden, which features all organic fruits and vegetables, being raised in a small, urban space in the Salt Lake valley at an elevation of 4,455 feet above sea level.
The first thing we did, before actually making one single pickle, was plan. We have done everything in our garden on a very thin to non-existent budget, utilizing crates and materials donated from neighbors, picked up at local thrift stores such as Savers, Deseret Industries or via ads on Craigslist or KSL classifieds at KSL.com.
We also made sure we planted what we would want to eat. I am the mother of a 20-something and have always had some friend or other, or a gaggle of work folk to feed, and by growing the types of fruits and vegetables my (somewhat, in my opinion) picky daughter can have what she desires, without fear of GMO’s or insecticides or other nasties in her food.
We placed ads requesting donations of canning equipment and were extremely fortunate to be contacted by a neighbor only a few streets over who gladly donated 18 cases of class Bell canning jars, some never used, others with fabulous vintage flair.
We next did some research on what types of veggies we would like to pickle. Cucumbers came up first, and a very simple, quick and easy recipe was offered in our home as a side dish with dinner. I picked our first ripe cucumber, by slicing it off at the base of the stem.
- ¼ cup white vinegar
- 2 tablespoons white sugar
- salt, pepper to taste
- 1 cucumber, peeled and sliced
Mix the vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper in a shallow, sealable contained. Tupperware or plastic bags work great, as they each ensure a good deal and promote the pickling process. Some recipes call for the ingredients to be boiled or simmered prior to the addition of the vegetable or fruit. This recipe is especially convenient when camping or on hot summer days.
Add the cucumbers to the mixture and stir gently, ensuring each piece is fully submerged. These pickles will be ready in mere minutes and can last a few days, up to a week when sealed well and refrigerate. Future articles will explore the joys of actual canning, including bread and butter and garlic/dill pickles.
We look forward to sharing our experiences this summer and welcome all Ladybud readers, gardeners and cooks to submit their comments, questions or suggestions.
Photo Credit: Muu-karhu under (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Wikimedia Commons and Gradi Jordan