Wednesday, July 14, 2010

the beginnings of a new favorite.

Being so early in postings, I feel as if I have to give a brief background story so you get a better understanding of where I am coming from...
My husband loves nature. Anything possibly dealing with it.

Camping, gardening, walking(in the grass, we call concrete deserts haha), biking, going barefoot (even to church and running), grilling out, picking berries, examining plants and testing his knowledge of their scientific name (he is a Landscape Architect with a minor in Horticulture and Entrepreneurship, working on his undergrad at Purdue University. So that might make this all make more sense now), running and riding his bike in the rain, being close to bodies of water, going the bathroom outside(haha), concerts outside, picnics, and the list could go on and on and on...
So this year in our first attempt for a garden, he purchased a 25 by 70 ft garden plot two minutes from our apartment for a close to nothing price(he is the world's best bargain finder). Something to be said about my husband and now myself, when we go out we go aaaaallll out. haha.
So with the help from three of our dear other friends, we have maintained this garden organically since April.
For our first year, we are doing pretty good!!!!

We are growing:

-spring mix salad
-Japanese spring mix



-green onions

-white onions
-red onions
-peppers (red, green, jalapeno, and banana)
-green beans

-tomatoes (san marsano, romano, and beef steak--these last ones were hubby's buddy idea haha)
-romaine salad






and I think that is it...

and we have LOVED it!!! The fact that we are getting further and further away from corporate markets to buy our produce that are from thousands of miles away to our native land makes me and hubby glow.
And lately, this garden along with I :) have become very abundant with life. this is just a slither of some produce I got from the garden this past week...

(ahhhh, isn't lovely. Dirt, clean chemical free dirt, and all!)

(p.s. This is hubby, completely in his element. Playing banjo, in his favorite new rocker, after sorting veggies from the garden, end eating an all organic and local lunch made by his wifey. Happy happy hubby.)

Hubby and I have enjoyed finding ways to use our produce and our little land space to be more sustainable. We have been composting all summer, and have started our beginnings on using worms. But more on that some other time...But last night we found and started the
beginnings of a new favorite.
Pickling cucumbers to be super yummy garlic dill pickles!!!!!
As many of you probably know, pregnant women loooooove pickles. Being that I already loved them deeply, so much than when I was in Jr. High I would actually write I Love Pickles on my notebooks (yes, very odd child I was)! So being the lover of them as I am and on TOP of THAT being pregnant, oh man. I am hooked. So naturally, organic hubby says "we have our own cucumbers, why not do our own!" The beauty of my mate, he has all the passion and drive that I have to do things sustainable but he has all the doing motivation that I lack, and I love that he pushes us both to do what is not always easy but always best. So last night, instead of a date night of watching a movie or going on a walk we Pickled Cucumbers. :) We looked and looked for our favorite pickles that we had last summer while living in Brooklyn, NY (that is a whole other blog entirely). We tried McClure's Pickles at the Brooklyn Flea Market under the bridge, and were convinced immediately that they were the best we had ever had and that "someday when we have our garden" we would make them! :) We couldn't find the recipe anywhere, but we are not giving up! We WILL find it, and make them this summer!!! But instead we found another great recipe that was extremely helpful with its changeable serving size to make what you had.
Here it is!!! Seems like a lot to do, but it only took us about a hour! And we don't have a pressure cooker yet, so we just used a regular sauce pan, filled with water halfway. Hopefully it works! Also, we read somewhere that it is best to ice/chill the cucumbers awhile before putting them in the jars because it helps them absorb the flavor, yay to more flavor!

Blue Ribbon Dill Pickles


Serves: 9 1/4, Servings: 2 quart jars

* 2 wide-mouth quart jars, lids & rings

* 1/2 to taste fresh dill, heads & several inches of stems shaken free of bugs

* 1/2 to taste cucumbers, washed, scrubbed

* 1/2 garlic cloves (or more)


* 2 1/2 cups water

* 3/4 cup white vinegar

* 1/4 cup pickling salt


Prep Time: 1 hr Total Time: 1 1/2 hrs


2. Wash 7 quart jars in hot, soapy water (or dishwasher), rinse and fill with hot water; set aside.

3. Fill canning kettle half-full with hottest tap water; set on burner over high heat.

4. In a medium saucepan, fit lids and rings together, cover with water, bring to a simmer.

5. In a large saucepan, bring water, vinegar and salt to boil; turn off the heat; set aside.

6. FILL JARS: place a layer of dill at the bottom of each jar, along with one garlic clove (if used), then TIGHTLY load the cukes into the jar to the NECK of the jar (depending on size you may get two nice layers with a few small cukes in the top--)---squeeze cukes into the jar tightly--uniform size helps; add a few TINY spriglets of dill at the top, too, and another garlic clove if desired.

7. Once jars are loaded, pour in the brine leaving half-inch head space in each jar.

8. Add lid and ring to each jar, tightening evenly.

9. Place jars into canner with water JUST to the necks of the jars.

10. Bring water ALMOST to a boil (about 15 minutes--depending on how fast it heats up).

11. Remove jars, set on a dish towel on the kitchen counter, cover with another dish towel & let cool.

12. Check for seal (indented lid), label jars or lids, store in cool dark cellar or cupboard.

13. NOTES: When washing/scrubbing cukes, sort them into piles by size. This really helps make your jars look nicer, if you have uniform sizes (and this impresses the judges too!). And makes for easier packing, too.

Are they not already mouth watering looking good?!

:) see you in a couple weeks cucumbers, and you will wake up and be scrumdillyocious pickles!

That's it!!! All from your garden!!! We are now looking into possibly making our own vinegar as well, let you know in future blogs how it goes!

Until next time....

1 comment:

  1. Hi Calin! It is hard to believe you are going to be a mama! I still remember you as the little girl who came out the back door doing cartwheels all the way to the guest house!
    Very nice blog! I am looking forward to reading about your adventures.