It’s a great thing when you don’t know what to expect. We moved back to the States in June and I couldn’t wait to plant a garden. Well, for all of my gardeners out there, you know full well that initiating a garden at the end of June in the midwest is not standard and probably not recommended. Luckily, I tend to dismiss those that tell me I shouldn’t do something.
If I wasn’t from this area, then I probably would have heeded the advice and not planted a garden. But, I am from here, so I know that it stays hot well into September and sometimes even October. Plenty of time for me to get my garden growing.
What I loved when I started planting was that all the plants were already on sale – bonus. They had all been written off as the ones that no one wanted. Well, this girl had a place for the misfit plants.
I didn’t go crazy. I bought my standard herbs (basil, oregano, mint, chives, parsley, rosemary and thyme – there’s a song in there I just know it), 2 cucumbers and a pepper plant. My cucumber plants were tiny little things. The cucumbers are the two light green ones on the far left of the my little plot.
I took this picture right after I planted. It’s nice to do that – somehow it validates the hard work that just went into planting. I didn’t expect much, but I needed a garden. I always feel like I need a garden. I never thought it would grow into this…
That is a ton of cucumber leaves from a little plant. There are leaves everywhere. You can see the oregano trying to get some sunlight there at the corner of the picture. It’s crazy. I have been picking cucumbers off for about 2 weeks and finally had to start giving some away because I just didn’t have the time to pickle them. Well, today I did.
I went out this morning and picked a bunch that were just the right size for pickling. Not too small and not too big. I did pick a few small ones too for the kids’ lunches tomorrow. And I also picked two giant cucumbers that I must have missed over the past two weeks. Those giant ones already started to get a yellow tinge to them, not good for pickling, I’ll just eat them:)
If you wonder what the right size is for a pickling cucumber, you want it to be just a little shorter than a pint size mason jar. If it’s bigger, no big deal, just cut it in half or make pickle chips instead of spears. There really aren’t any rules.
I don’t like to boil my pickles to can them, they lose their crunch. And I do pre-salt them to draw some of the water out – this keeps them crunchy longer.
The salting is the longest part, other than that – it takes minutes to get these beauties in the fridge for the magic to happen.
Got Cucumbers? Make pickles.
- 5-6 medium cucumbers
- 1 cup white vinegar
- 1 cup water
- 2.5 Tablespoons kosher salt, divided
- 3 large sprigs of dill
- 3 garlic cloves
- Cut cucumbers to desired shape - spears or rounds
- Place in a colander with a bowl underneath
- Sprinkle with 1.5 Tablespoons kosher salt and place in refrigerator for 2-3 hours
- Remove from refrigerator and rinse salt off pickles
- In a medium bowl, mix vinegar, water and 1 Tablespoon kosher salt and stir until salt dissolves (this takes about 1 minute)
- In each of 3 pint sized mason jars, add 1 big sprig of dill and 1 clove of garlic
- Pack the cucumbers in the jars and pour the vinegar liquid over the cucumbers in each jar, just covering the cucumbers
- Screw lid on and place in refrigerator
- Allow to rest for 2 days before eating