We found three cucumbers that missed the first round of pickling and wanted to try a method similar to when you get a bowl of the delicious quick pickles at Ted’s Montana Grill. Rather than try to replicate that recipe, we just did an online search for quick pickles and ended up trying Rachael Ray’s quick pickles.
Since we had grown dill this year, the only ingredient we had to pick up was mustard seed. (We’re planning on growing mustard greens starting in the fall so going forward, that deficiency will be remedied and we won’t need to rely on the store spice).
This recipe is very simple and the results are super tasty. Highly recommended for a bowl of yummy pickles to enjoy with BBQ or anything grilled!
What’s your favorite thing to pickle? Okra is on our list for next year…
A few years ago, we thought it would be neat to try and grow everything for salsa. That was a great experiment and taught us a lot in preparation for this year where we’re figuring out how many things can be pickled. The answer is almost anything. We use a refrigerator pickle recipe from “All Day I Dream About Food” with a bit of heat from jalapeno (although you can do with most any pepper, we’ve tried with Thai chilies with good success.)
We’ve been harvesting the Chinese red noodle beans about every other day and had a good stash built up. We had thought to freeze them (and will with the next few batches) but really thought a good pickling may be fun.
The Sumter cucumbers matured very quickly although a bit oddly shaped (which in reading seems from uneven pollination so going to try some hand pollination for the next ones growing). One we left in it’s cute small form and the rest we sliced a bit on the thick side.
We were excited to be able to use dill from the garden but left some to grow for the next batch. It’s likely we’ll have to buy a bit more though since we didn’t get a ton.
How do you pickle? Spicy or not? What else have you pickled? Peppers? A peck of those peppers?
This garden has sparked us to try and do as much as we can ourselves including using a rain barrel, composting, building our own raised beds and trellis (trellises? trelli?) and even creating planters out of concrete. Everything you’ve read or seen online is true probably about making your own planters out of concrete — it’s really easy. Before it dries, concrete mixtures are quite forgiving and not really exact for the recipe so it becomes more of an issue of how far you let your creative mind flow.
We’ve used variants of a few recipes we found online but mainly this hypertufa recipe from Lowe’s. We went a bit overboard with materials and now have enough vermiculite and peat moss for the zombie apocalypse but hey, any time we want to make a pot, we’re ready for that too!
If you’ve never worked with concrete and are a bit leery of getting started with separate materials, just start with a bag of Quickcrete where all you have to add is water. You’ll get a different look but don’t have to worry about ratios and additional bags of stuff to be stored on the patio or garage.
Nerd note…cement and concrete aren’t the same things. Google defines cement: a powdery substance made with calcined lime and clay. It is mixed with water to form mortar or mixed with sand, gravel, and water to make concrete. And concrete: a heavy, rough building material made from a mixture of broken stone or gravel, sand, cement, and water, that can be spread or poured into molds and that forms a stonelike mass on hardening.
Some caveats we learned from the process:
Fully round shapes are difficult. The most precise mold we found was an 8-inch glass light fixture that we cracked off our finished globe. That’s not really kid friendly BUT if you don’t need exactly round, small flexible play balls will work just fine.
Almost anything can be used as a mold. For the hand we used a latex kitchen glove, turned inside out and sprayed with oil spray, and then supported it on a bed of sand while it cured.
If you don’t want to wear a particle mask, a well-secured bandanna around your mouth and nose will work just fine.
A 5-gallon bucket works well for mixing everything if you don’t have a flatter tub.
Glass inner shapes (like a candle holder) don’t come out easily. Stick to plastic unless you don’t care about destroying your inner shape.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the possibilities and want to make a billion things. Choose one simple pot to start with so you get a feel for the process.
Have a hose or additional rinsing water available in case you get wet concrete mixture on anything you didn’t intend to touch. You have a little bit of time before it’s super hard but if you get it on skin, it will itch or burn.
If you want to have a smoother surface, use less vermiculite/perlite and peat moss. So many different recipes that people have tried with success — just do an online search and see!
We have a feeling we’re on the edge of a beansplosion with the Chinese red noodle beans. We counted 40+ pods dangling from lightly scented purple flowers that are likely to be ready in just a couple days. But also, yes, we picked the first one yesterday at 14-inches long! We picked the second one just now and it’s even longer by a bit. The plan for this first harvest is a quick stir fry.
Woke up this morning to a delightful surprise and the first of the 4 sunflowers growing just opened up. When we checked on it a bit later it was filled with happy pollen covered bees. Even a quick storm later couldn’t slow this bloomer down.
Sometimes when people say they are growing heirloom tomatoes, they are referring to an “open-pollinated (non-hybrid) heirloom cultivar” of tomato. Like other non-hybridized things they sometimes suffer from particular weaknesses or even strengths.
For us, these particular tomato seeds were literally heirloom as they were saved by our cousins back in Missouri from our maternal grandmother’s Cherokee purple tomatoes. I had almost forgotten about these and found them going through seeds this year. Of course I had to see if they would sprout even though they were from 2013.
Every single seed germinated and thrived. We planted 3 and still have 5 that need homes. They are indeterminate and apparently can get quite large, like up to 8-feet tall.