Monday, July 7, 2014

Garden 2014 Update 7/7/14

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This year appears to be the year of the cucumber. Last year was all about the tomatoes. Sigh. The tomatoes seem to have some sort of disease. I addressed this with my grandmother last evening and she said that the disease lives in the ground, so you are supposed to rotate the crops around the garden to prevent back-to-back years of the disease rotting your plants.

Anyways, as I alluded...the cukes are coming in like MAD. I was able to fix a gallon of my cucumber salad for our Very BFZ 4th of July Party.

Even then, I had a ton left over at home. So, I decided to attempt to make pickles. It would be my first attempt. Other than look at some general dos-and-donts, I used a variety of cukes from Japanese to Mucher, as you can see. I made up my own recipe from the herbs I grow. Anyone that knows me just rolled their eyes and said  "of course you did." But, I like learning for myself.

I minced up sweet basil, dill, mint, and garlic as fine as I could. I added salt and fresh ground black pepper. Then I dumped it in some purified jars.
While I did that, I skinned and sliced the cukes and one white onion. I then sprinkle them liberally with kosher salt in a colander. Then, I shake it to remove the water that the salt pulls out of the cukes. I do this so that the cukes will absorb more flavor when they are canner, or in the case of my Vinaigrette that you have read about.

Then, I filled the jars with the slices and added white vinegar until the jars were almost full. You need to leave a little room at the top for the vacuuming process.
Upon talking to my grandmother and reading a little bit, I realized that a 100% vinegar filled jar would be too tart. So, I cut each jar to about half and half water/vinegar. I placed a tall kettle with water on the stove and turned it on to High. Then, I placed them in the water bath, brought the bath to a boil and let them sit there for 10 minutes. After they cooled, I removed them and checked the tops of the cans. After 24 hours, they remain under vacuum. The vacuum process worked and they can now be stored at room temperature.

Do they taste good? I don't know. We will find out soon! I hope so, because I plan to can a LOT of them considering I am getting 5 cukes a day.