Quick pickles and more

Quick pickles for the fridge - carrots and cukes

Cucumbers are just not something that I’ve had success with yet in my garden. It’s a shortcoming and I accept it. But we don’t like to do without pickles, so I gladly buy cukes from our local farmers. Their carrots were ready before mine too this year, which was irksome (because I had spinach ready to harvest in March, when most local farmers had nothing in the ground), but it’s been that kind of year. And then PetKid ventured outside this morning and returned with a basketful of carrots, declaring them ready. And he was right! So, today I pickled cucumbers and carrots, the quick way.

Refrigerator pickles are a nice way to do some quick pickling, prolonging the life of just harvested veggies by about a month, without the hassle of proper canning. Very clean jars will do, sterile are even better, and all that’s needed is a quick wash and slice of whatever’s fresh (cucumbers, carrots, radishes), piling those slices into the jars, and then filling the remaining space with a solution made of equal parts water and vinegar, plus fresh dill, peppercorns and mustard seeds. My method was borrowed in its entirety (nearly) from A Beautiful Mess.

Garden harvest arrayed on the counter

Quick and easy pickles, inspired by A Beautiful Mess

Ingredients:

Slices of cukes, carrots, radishes or other root veggies

Pickling solution with the following ratio:
1 cup vinegar
1 cup water
2 tsp salt
1 tbs sugar

Fresh dill
Peppercorns
Mustard seeds

Method:
Prepare jars. Stack washed and sliced veggies (these must be very fresh) in jars; slip fresh dill into place, sprinkle with peppercorns and mustard seed to taste. Pour pickling solution over everything. Place lids and refrigerate. Resulting pickles are ready within 24 hours and will keep for a month in the fridge.

Cucumbers in jars ready for pickling, basket of beets

Of course, PetKid was also motivated to pick a basket of green beans and harvest a small bunch of beets, both of which are nice candidates for canning. The beets were boiled on the stovetop, so they will be ready for a quick roast (to be paired with other root veg and poached eggs) or slicing for inclusion in a salad. The green beans are still sitting on the counter, as I also had a (gluten free) chocolate layer cake to make for the boys’ big sister, who arrives tomorrow from England.

Basket of green bean, freshly dug carrots

Did I mention that I haven’t done anything with the green beans yet?

Gluten free chocolate birthday cake with frosting and sprinkles

I’m quite pleased with how this cake turned out, thanks to the Gluten Free Goddess, though gluten-free cakes still tend to end up with a slightly concave middle, which is frustrating. But it’s rather nice looking anyway and I think it will be rather good (in the way that only foodstuffs primarily made of butter and sugar can be).

It would be unjust to wind up this post without acknowledging the extremely handy skills of my husband, who spent a good chunk of today repairing our aging vacuum cleaner. A number of reasonably expensive appliances have all decided to go at once (the tv, the stereo/amplifier, the hoover), the natural result of buying all of them at once when we relocated from the UK to Canada 12 years ago.

hoover-repair-at-home-miele

And, most importantly, it worked! I remind my boys at every opportunity that this is how they too will be able to earn their keep in the future.

hoovering-under-desk-in-kitchen

9 thoughts on “Quick pickles and more

  1. Is that a Miele? I’m impressed with the appliance repair skills – AND he operates it (or is that why you took the picture?). The cake looks amazing, bet it tastes wonderful too. There will be more green beans, there always are. You don’t pickle the beets too? Your fridge must be bursting by now…

    1. It sure is! I love that they CAN be repaired, unlike some other modern appliances and contraptions. Yes, I have a husband who actually loves to vacuum, so the photo op was real rather than staged 🙂 Green beans always overtake me, but I love it. With the beets, there just weren’t enough to bother with pickling, or I definitely would have. Some crops have taken off this year, while others have been crazily productive (chard is everywhere, the turnips are happy). And my tomatoes are fully a week behind schedule; I’ve always had a ripe one ready come 29 July and it just didn’t happen this year…it’s unsettling!

  2. Oh… you always seem to post the perfect condiment at the exact moment I need it! I had a corned beef sandwich for lunch today, with sliced gherkins from a jar. Home-made pickles would have been much, much nicer. Your GF chockie cake looks fab, and buttery icing is perfect for filling in those pesky concave spots! Kudos to your handyman husband. I have one of those too, and he is very much appreciated.

    1. That’s really nice to know, because you’re always saving me with gorgeous meal ideas. I love too that with something like this, even if I weren’t growing food myself, I could get fresh produce from my farmer’s market and do this in minutes. Thanks for the cake feedback, so true about the buttery icing! Aren’t those handy husbands worth keeping! 🙂

  3. My! You have been in a pickling mood lately! They all look and sound delicious. Thanks for the visit today. I can’t wait to take a look around here and see what else you’ve been up to. 🙂

    1. Welcome! I was really pleased to find your blog through Saskia and really loved your pickling post. I haven’t grown as many beets this year as I’d like, but a trip to our local farmers’ market this weekend will fix that!

  4. A lovely reminder that I can can without canning. And that definitely sounds like a dance. I have trouble with cucumbers as well! I got a handful sprinkled throughout the season but not enough to put up a whole batch. Maybe enough for a small batch though!

    1. I find that sometimes I have the energy for canning, and then often I don’t. I love something this simple, and it’s definitely a great idea for small batches!

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