We are having a great cucumber year. So we decided to make our first batch of pickles this week.

We were down to our last jar of bread & butter pickles from last year, so we decided to start with those. You can tell it’s early in the canning season, because I entertained the idea of cutting the cucumbers with the crinkle cutter.

The struggle with these pickles is that you have to slice and salt them, and leave them for an hour to drain before finishing the recipe. And I always forget that – so when I carve out the time to do them, suddenly I have an hour in the middle of it where I need to do something else while I wait, like laundry. I never learn.

The recipe we use is an old American recipe, that came from my Danish mother-in-law. We used my family’s recipe for a number of years, but then had a jar of hers and decided that was the better recipe. We’ve used it a couple of years now and everyone loves it.

The recipe:

  • 8 cups cucumbers, sliced thin
  • 3 cups onions, sliced thin or chopped*
  • 4 tbsp salt

Sprinkle salt over vegetables and let stand 1 hour

Drain and add

  • 2 cups vinegar
  • 2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp celery seed
  • 3” stick of cinnamon
  • 3 cups white sugar
  • 4 green peppers, chopped fine*

Bring syrup to a boiling point, just simmering, for 15-20 minutes.  Pour over cucumbers in hot sterilized jar, and process for 10-15 minutes.

*Use half as many as called for, or omit entirely if you don’t like the taste

The results

8 cups of cucumbers netted us 4 pint jars of pickles. Which is a manageable amount to can; as the season runs on we will end up doing double and triple batches, and most of Sunday afternoon into evening will be spent on canning. I am always grateful for the work come the middle of winter, but in the heat of summer it can be draining.

What a difference two weeks makes

We have been keeping up with the watering, and the weather cooled down for a couple of days, which has been so helpful:

Back 40 – corn in the foreground, ground cherries in the middle and pumpkins towards the back

The advantage – if there is one – to the pandemic is that we are home. All the time. So we’re actually caught up on weeding and have had time to sit and do nothing, which is a new, novel experience. I’ve actually sat in the Adirondack chairs by my fire pit several times this summer, admiring my neatly-sculpted yard:

Of course, when I look at it too long, I see things I want to change, other projects I could be starting, and then remember that the hostas need to be split and moved. The hostas will always need to be split and moved – does anyone actually buy hostas anymore, or are they just divided off one plant, continuing on for all of eternity, that got too large in the Garden of Eden and was cast out along with Adam and Eve? It seems fitting – “Oh hey, since you’re going, how about some plants to get you started?”