Saturday, March 10, 2012

Pickles

The one thing that seemed to do really well in our garden this summer (I can't believe it's over! sob) were cucumbers. Granted, they were planted in the greenhouse and did not receive the torrential dumpings of rain that were delivered our way. I was even worried that they were a little on the dry side inside their sheltered enclosure...it feels so silly to be out in the constant rain watering, even if it is under cover and justified!

We've been eating them fresh in salads and sandwiches and made into homemade tzatziki. But! I was absolutely ecstatic when I had enough saved in the fridge to justify making up a batch of pickles. 2.3kg of homegrown, cucumbery goodness were just calling to be sliced up and preserved in a sweet/sour acidic liquid..

A mix of Lebanese and Bush Champion cucumbers (2.3kg)
Using the thin slicing blade on the mandoline, they were sliced and salted in layers..

..and allowed to soak in just enough water to cover them, overnight (Ok, it was close to 24 hours! Life get's busy, eh!)..


My favourite tool when making bread and butter cucumbers the last couple of times has been our salad spinner. It does a fine job of spin drying the cucumbers after they have been rinsed the following day..

(note to self: do not overload spinner)
Oops, I forgot to mention, 3 good sized onions, also sliced on the mandoline, were added to the cucumber brine to soak overnight.


To preserve them, I distributed the drained cucumber/onion mix into around half a dozen large pickle jars evenly and then added the pickling liquid. This is still my preferred recipe, I can't seem to break out of my comfort zone on this front although I will say, the quantities seem overly sugar heavy. I inevitably dilute the mix down with more vinegar..     (recipe from The Big Book of Preserving the Harvest).

I processed the jars in the Fowlers Vacola, choosing to use reclaimed jars. I understand that the regular Fowlers jar lids don't like acidic conditions and I haven't got a stock of stainless steel lids in my preserving kit (yet!).

In pickles for a few more months. 

Have you been pickling? What is your favourite pickling liquid to pack your crunchy morsels in? 

12 comments:

  1. Love pickling! We had a wonderful cucumber harvest too. I love the look of yours in the jars...there is something very satisfying about seeing a bunch of pickled stuff sitting in your pantry shelf, isn't there!

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  2. This summer has been the first where I have grown cucumbers with any success, I enjoy them cut in to chunky circles with a blog of cottage cheese on top. My stop and start cucumber vine has about 8 more small ones on it, sadly not enough to try your yummy recipe.

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  3. What a wonderful stash of cucumbers. I could have had a better cucumber year. I got some but no where near as many as I had hoped - mine got an aphid attack. I will have to produce more next year so I can make these lovely pickles.

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    1. Absolutely, Kim, another sucker for seeing pickles in jars!

      It's a great feeling to pick them fresh, isn't it Wendy - no matter how many end up growing.. ;)

      Pesky aphids, gardenglut! Is there no escape from them, ahh!?

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  4. Looking good! I keep wanting a fowlers vacola i hear you talk about it so much. I have never heard of one let alone seen one around here though. So stuck with the giant stovetop pan

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  5. Those look delicious. We had a poor cucumber harvest this year. Last year we had so many that anyone who came to visit went home with a couple.

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  6. Still waiting for our first cucumber, missing the cucumber overload of last year but hoping some warm days next week might help encourage a couple. Salad spinner - genius. Pickled zuchinnis are going down a treat, I made cheese and chive scones for dinner last night and they went beautifully with them. We discovered little eggplants are tasty sliced thinly on pizza on Thursday.

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    1. Hmm, maybe try your local oppy, Racheal? Or ebay/gumtree? They are worth the inconvenience of finding a place to store them. :)

      That's so sweet, Wendy. You visitors were very lucky!

      Ahh, eggplant on the pizzas you say, Kirsty? We just had pizza last night..I'll keep it in mind for the next time! :)

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  7. I've just finished a jar of lacto-fermented cucumber pickles, with lots of dill & very garlicky... delish & nutritious!

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  8. I wish we'd grown enough cucumbers to pickle! Yours look fabulous, and you're well set up for winter now! I use a recipe Linda Woodrow gave me, and the bread and butter pickles have been divine.. :)

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    1. This lacto-fermentation you are doing intrigues me, dixiebelle. Really, really interesting stuff!

      Bread and butter cucumbers would be my favourite way to eat them, Celia. Sounds like you have a good, keeper of a recipe there. :)

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  9. I wanted to pickle some cucumbers this year, but the kids decided that cucumbers picked straight from the garden made a better snack than fruit and we only ended up with enough for salad.

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Hi there, so nice of you to stop by! Thanks for sharing your thoughts, I love hearing what you are up to. Christine x

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