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Archive for the ‘cucumbers’ Category

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We have had an extremely rainy spring this year and the cucumbers have loved it. The lemon cucumbers are doing especially well. I’ve been pickling like crazy, and unfortunately the cucumbers don’t always ripen at the most convenient time.

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I was in a rush, so rather than wait until the brine had come to a complete boil, I decided that the salt had dissolved, and that was good enough. Bad mistake! Turns out that when the temperature outside of the jars is hotter than the temperature inside of the jars, they break. The jars just started popping, and the bottoms cracked right off. 4 quarts of pickles in the trash.

Luckily, I have been able to make another 8 quarts of lemon cucumber dill pickle wedges, so my daughter is happy and I learned a valuable lesson.

 

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Suyo Long
Not sure if you can tell from this picture, but this baby cucumber is really long. The tag says they get to be 15″! It’s amazing how much of a difference I can already see between this variety and the others.

Sweet Slice
I have two of these plants. (You can kind of see the other in the background). These have really done nothing. I’m hoping they take off at some point, but right now they are just wasting valuable real estate. The one has at least grabbed hold of the trellis, but barely. I’m interested to see if I get any production out of them.

Suyo Long

This one has taken off vertically and seems to be doing pretty well. It has produced a few baby cucs so far and is flowering well.

National Pickling

Seems to like horizontal more than vertical and ignores any efforts at training it to go in a specific direction. It does have a few baby cucs and is flowering though, so I can’t complain too much.

General Lee
This one is growing off very well and has taken to the trellis. You can see it also seems to prefer the horizontal direction. I have three plants all heading for the exact same corner, must be something about the morning sun.

Lemon

Doing well and seems to be a vertical climber, which I am very happy about.

Roma

All six of these have fruit.

La Roma

Neither of the two have fruit, but one has some pretty good flowers. I didn’t think there would be much of a difference between Roma and La Roma, but apparently there is.

Black Cherry
These and the Sun Golds have maturing fruit, good plant growth and lots of flowers.

Yellow Pear Cherry

I have two of these and one just got it’s first fruit today. I’ve had luck with these in the past, so I’m not too stressed about their late start.

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>Garden Firsts

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With the move and having to wait on the deer fence, my garden got in a few weeks later than I would have liked. It can be a little discouraging to see others’ plants doing so well, where mine seem to be stagnant, especially my heirloom tomatoes. At least I’ve had a few firsts this week though, including my first ripe cherry tomato (Sun Gold).


First Cucumber Siting, General Lee

First full size pepper, Hungarian Hot

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>Homemade Pickles

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I planted cucumbers for the first time this year in hopes of making pickles. The type I grew is actually called “homemade pickles”.  When I first looked online at recipes I was overwhelmed. Since I’ve never pickled before the task seemed daunting. I found a video on youtube and after watching it didn’t seem so difficult. My first two attempts were flops. The first came out way too salty. The second came out with way too much vinegar. I had also run out of white so I decide to try cider vinegar, which I had seen used in several recipes. Yuck! We quickly learned that we are not fans of cider vinegar pickles. Both batches were also mushy.
Finally, last night after two weeks of waiting we tried the third batch. Winner! This one was the perfect mix of salt, vinegar and very crisp. It seems the trick is learning what ratios you like. We decided that we like a 3:1 water to vinegar.
Here’s the recipe… (Makes 2 quarts)
Soak 4 cucumbers for 2 hours in ice bath. This is where the crispness comes from.
Make brine w/ 3 cups water, 1 cup white vinegar, 1/6 cup pickling salt. I also added a bunch of peppercorns and red pepper flakes. The red pepper flakes do add a bit of a spice to the pickles, but don’t change the flavor like adding whole peppers does. Bring the brine to a boil at the same time that you are boiling the jars.
Wash the jars and lids with soap and hot water. Boil the jars for 10 minutes. 
Cut the cucs in spears and place in the boiled jars. Pour the brine over the top, covering by an inch or so. Add 2 garlic cloves and 2-3 dill sprigs per jar. Put on lids, tighten and boil for another 15 minutes. (The water should still be boiling from the previous step)
That’s all there is to it. I waited two weeks to open the jar and last night an entire quart of pickles disappeared!

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