Category Archives: other people’s gardens

It’s quite a pickle

I went to my cousin J’s house on Saturday because she was putting up some of her pickling cucumbers and I had a bunch as well.

I promised last time I would try to document how it’s done.  This time, J set me up to do my own, and now I’m more confident about the process.  Here’s what I did:

1.  Cut the cucumbers into spears.  Be observed closely by your 6-year-old cousin A, who will inform you that your spears are too long.  Discover she is right. Suggest maybe mommy could go relax with a glass of sangria and she could just teach you, which she will agree with.

2.  Add one clove of garlic (two if they are small) 1 tsp of dill seed and 1/2 tsp. of mustard seed:

3.  Pack jar with cucumber spears.  Add another teaspoon of dill seed on top:

4. Cover cucumbers with brine (2 cups of of cider vinegar, 3 cups of water & 5 tablespoons of canning salt, brought to a low boil, then kept warm.) 

5.  Cover jars with lids and bands, and seal as tightly as possible.  Put jars in the canner, and boil for 10 minutes, before removing and allowing to cool.  Do not allow hot jars to bump into each other while cooling.  Leave this part of the process to your cousin J, and head home to dinner with your husband.

6.  While canning, watch out for cousin’s smallest son, M, who will roll himself across the floor in his walker and repeatedly slam himself into your ankles, and then smile at you.

We’ll let the pickles cure for about 2 – 4 months before we open them.  I now have 7 pints and 5 quarts of these pickles.  Next week we will probably be doing bread and butter pickles.  Or maybe I’ll just pick A up and she can teach me while her mom relaxes.

And since I have lately been taking photos of other people’s gardens:

A John Deere fan also lives here

Thanks to my cousin A, who took all the photos.  After she teaches me how to make bread and butter pickles, maybe I can get her to start updating the blog.

And now for something completely different

We spent the last week in NY visiting my FIL (my MIL is in Denmark, visiting her siblings and their children) which means I’ve spent some time on someone else’s garden instead of my own.

Starting on the left, there is curly and flat leaf parsley, swiss chard and radishes.  My FIL is also growing four types of tomatoes (plum, Early Girl, cherry & sungold – I have not been denied my beloved sungolds while in NY!), pickling cucumbers, summer squash and rhubarb.  I am most fascinated by the radishes.

These radishes are ENORMOUS:

                                      That is my thumb next to the radish.  I do not have tiny fingers, either.

My FIL tells me that they are German radishes, so apparently in addition to making excellent cars, the Germans also excel at engineering radishes.  We’re going to take a few home with us, as my FIL tells me that they are very mild and add an excellent crunch to sandwiches.  (I have always been partial to potato chips, but they lack in nutritional value, so we’ll give the radishes a shot.)  I think I will be checking with the incomparable Stella Caroline for ideas on dishes that include radishes.

It wasn’t all gardening and home repair projects back in NY – two posts ago I mentioned my NY cousins.  We went to the Bronx Zoo one day with my cousin J (yes, another cousin J) her two boys S & C, and her sister, my other cousin M.  (We were at M’s wedding last month.)  The zoo is really fun with two two-year-olds:

I’m sure my FIL has some radishes are nearly the size of those boys.