August 27, 2010

Freezer Pickles

It has been a bit of a rough summer for gardening here this year. The good news is that I haven't had to water much. The peppers, winter squash and cucumbers have done well. However the heavy rains we have had were rough on the tomatoes and potatoes.

I wanted to grow a mild flavored, prolific cucumber that wouldn't need peeling. White Wonder really fit the bill. We have had plenty to eat and give away with some left over for preserving. I didn't think I had time to make pickles but then a friend told me about freezer pickles. I had never heard of them but I found quite a few recipes on-line. I have about 10 servings in the freezer with more to come. They were easy to make and I have high hopes for them. Have you heard of freezer pickles? Here is the recipe I tried but there are a lot of variations too. The addition of hot peppers and or garlic sounds worth a try next time around. I may go from having too many cucumbers to running to the markets to buy more so I can enjoy these through the winter.

3 1/2 cups finely sliced cucumbers
2 small onions sliced
1 T salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup white vinegar

Mix sugar and vinegar until dissolved. Add remaining ingredients. Place in refrigerator for 48 hours stirring once or twice a day. Freeze in zip lock bags. Thaw in refrigerator to serve. Serve as is or drain well and mix with sour cream.

August 1, 2010

Back to the garden

We enjoyed a trip out to Montana for dear hubbies family reunion. However, it also felt good to be back home. We were away for 8 days and the garden did a wonderful thing in our grew....a lot! The corn, cucumbers and peppers did especially well. Peppers have been in every meal since we returned and I really love the two varieties we selected this year.

The Hungarian hot wax pepper is pale green and packs a bit of heat. The early ones were mild but they are getting hotter as the summer goes on. I love hot peppers so they have been delicious to eat stuffed and grilled. For other family members (with their milder tastes) they work well chopped in with other things. The plants are PROLIFIC. I have picked quite a few every day and more await.

The Jimmy Nardello Sweet Italian Frying Pepper is a real treat. If I could stop munching them raw, then we could enjoy a few more grilled. They are tasty either green or red. The plants produce well which is a good thing because the sweet delicate flavor of these peppers makes them one of my favorites.

I wanted a light meal using the peppers and cucumbers. I didn't measure amounts much but I made a soup I really enjoyed. I heated a little milk with a teaspoon of potato starch and added roasted seeded peppers (3 mild, 1 hot), pickled garlic and creame fraiche and pureed with a stick blender. Chill. Just before serving, I added 2 diced cucumbers (more on those later but I have a variety of cucumber this year that I really like too). Strain (if you like) and garnish it with some chocolate cherry tomato wedges. I will make more for my lunch tomorrow. The season is so short but the garden will produce most of our food for the next 2 months or so. Hopefully the peppers will freeze well also....there really are a lot of them!

Thanks for visiting!