garden

Savoring the Crunch

pickles 1

Ask my husband what my favorite snack is and he’s mostly likely going to tell you pickles. Not the sweet ones, not the bread and butter type – just a simple crunchy dill pickle.

The love of pickles is a family thing. For my dad his favorite snack is a pickle sandwich – pickle spears rolled right up in a piece of bread. And my sister was known as a young age for stealing pickles off of a lady’s plate at a restaurant!

The last two summer’s I’ve had cucumbers growing like weeds in the garden. I love a fresh cucumber as much as the next person, but after a dozen or so, I’m over them. But if you slice those cucumbers up into a jar and add some dill, garlic and spices I’m one happy girl.

After a few modifications, this has become my favorite recipe.

Refrigerator Pickles

2 pounds of cucumbers (I like the Straight Eight variety)
1 1/2 cups white vinegar
4 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons mustard seeds
2 cups hot water
Chopped fresh dill (I used a half package per jar)
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
5 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed (or more to preference)

Directions: Wash the cucumbers. Slice them thinly into chips or into quarters or halves, depending on your preference, and place into a quart jar. Add the dill and garlic to the jars. Stir together the vinegar, salt, mustard seeds and hot water. Pour the brine over the cucumbers.

Place a lid on top of the jar and refrigerate for at least 48 hours minimum. Store in the fridge.

Then, enjoy the crunchy, dill taste!

pickles 2

Another Growing Season is Over

garden 2013 5z

This summer ended up being much better than planned, but it did include some great things at my job such as planning summer fun-filled events, redeveloping an entire municipal website and launching a community outreach effort. In between that, I did find time to get out to the garden and fill it with veggies that spilled onto our table, filled the fridge and even filled the freezer for winter cooking.

Two years ago we rebuilt our garden boxes to be raised from the ground and filled with plentiful soil that would result in a great looking garden. That effort continues to pay off in the garden as I’ve never seen our garden get so big! I have staples that get planted every year such as zucchini, tomatoes, peppers, onions and lettuce. But this year I tried a few new items.

Garden 2013 layout

Cucumbers – For years I hated the taste of a cucumber. I think it was something about the texture that just didn’t agree with me. In recent years I’ve come to enjoy them, but not from my garden this year. I got a bad variety that resulted in such bitter cucumbers I had to pick them out of my salads! For those of you out there who garden, who’s got a good variety I can try next year?

Potatoes – Growing up my mom always planted potatoes. After all our garden when I was little was a massive crop that took up a large portion of the yard. We’d plant rows of potatoes, green beans, corn, peas, carrots and more. Then there was the massive raspberry and strawberry patch that us kids would just sit in and eat from the vines until we were full. I thought it would be fun to try planting potatoes so I started early and got two plants into the ground in about mid-April. For anyone living in Colorado this year we’ve had some strange weather with snow dumping in late April and flooding in September. (I can’t imagine what this winter will be like?!?) With the snow coming last April I covered the potato plants but they still got stung pretty bad. I cut them back and just waited to see what would happen. While they did finally take off and resulted in a good sized plant, the potatoes were only about the size of a dime or nickel. Guess that will be something I try again next year.

Broccoli – The hubby and I love broccoli so we thought we might as well try it in the garden. What we can tell you is that the plants grew, and grew, until they sprouted flowers on top. We never really got any broccoli, but we had a pretty big plant!

The rest of the garden resulted in great produce this summer with about five types of onions, lettuce that keep us munching on leafy greens, tomatoes of all sizes and of course enough zucchini for casseroles throughout the winter. I diced, grated and sliced another 56 cups that are in the freezer ready for another tasty creation.

Zucchini 2013

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Welcome to my journey! I'm a wife, dog lover, gardener, outdoor enthusiast and cook, but I keep busy during the day as a communications, marketing and social media professional.
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