Pickle making class went well today. We processed 15 lbs of cucumbers into about 15 pint jars. Pictured above are some of the finished pickles. Duskin, who co-taught the class with me brought his giant pressure cooker. We didn’t use it as a pressure cooker this time but instead filled the big pot with water to sterilize the jars and to use for processing the pickles using the water bath method. I brought my camp stove to make the brine and syrup. It was a beautiful day for making pickles outside instead of over a hot stove. After a short talk on the how to process food safely, everybody got involved—Duskin sterilized the jars, while the students cut up the cucumbers and garlic, mixed up the brine and syrup, added all the ingredients and cucumbers into the hot sterilized jars as they came out of the pot, poured the brine and syrup, wiped the lips of the jars and put the lids/caps on them. Then we put them back into the hot water and brought the water back to boiling and adjusted the processing time for our high altitude. While we were waiting for them to finish processing, Duskin showed them around Milagro Community Garden. When the pickles were done, we pulled them out of the hot water and let them cool enough and then the students took home a jar of each type of pickle. Good job folks!
Here is the one handout that wasn’t available today that I told the students would be available tonight:
Do you have too many cucumbers? Do you want to learn how to make pickles? It is much easier than you think! Today from 12 noon – 3 pm I will be teaching a preservation class on pickling for Home Grown New Mexico.
Those who show up will learn how to make two types of pickles-bread and butter pickles and dill pickles. We will review canning safety at high altitudes and then make the pickles using the water bath method. This is a hands-on class.
Pickle Making Class- 12 noon-3pm
Milagro Community Garden – located in parking lot behind:
Lutheran Church of the Servant (on corner of Rodeo and Legacy-just east of SAM’s club)
Well, if you are wondering why I haven’t been posting, it is because I’ve been out PLANTING, trying to get the last of the garden in. So far, I have 70 tomato plants, ‘Rattlesnake’ pole beans around my trellis, 4 ‘Pepperocini’ pepper plants, 16 eggplants, 2 rhubarbs and put additional wall of waters around all of the tomatoes and created some new drip sections for all these.
Tomorrow (Sunday) goes in 12 shishito pepper plants, bush bean seeds, pole bean seeds, 4 different types of cucumbers seeds, ornamental japonica corn, flowers and a new drip system manifold (I take a deep breath now) I hope to get this done (early-way early!) before the BIG WINDS come in AGAIN and make life MISERABLE….
Monday goes in 2 giant pumpkins, 1 giant greenie squash, 2 giant marrows and a giant pear gourd go in. The long gourds will have to wait till I make them a trellis later this week or next.
Phew! It is always such a big push in spring to get things in the garden and fall come harvest time. The rest of the time I feel like I’m just cruising in the garden! All this on 4000 sq feet of garden which is only 1/10 of an acre…
Sunday afternoon, my good friend John came over and we made pickles. All different kinds. Last year I researched what kind of cucumber was good for different types of pickles.
'Boothsby Blonde' cucumbers- good for bread and butter pickles
We made bread and butter pickles with my Boothsby Blonde cucumber, a creamy white flavorful cuke that turns bright yellow. All stages are edible with no bitterness. After making my own bread and butter pickles last year, I will never buy store bought again. The flavor is incredible and is at least 100x better than the store bought and I’m not kidding.
'Parade' cucumber makes a good dill pickle
Then we made some dill pickles from my Parade cucumber which is a great cuke for dill as they are also excellent flavor, firm and evenly sized which is great for cutting them into dill spears. We used some fresh dill I grew from my garden.
Lastly we made my favorite- cornichons. I first fell in love with them in a little french cafe in San Diego where the french owners served them with sandwiches. We made the cornichons (which means tiny tart pickle) with Parsian cucumbers.
'Parsian' cucumbers-use for Cornichon pickles
In the picture I show one that grew too large and the rest are good size. I cut the ones that are 4 inches in half and leave the 2 inch cukes whole. I even cut the big one down into smaller spears about 4 inches in length. The Parsian cucumber has small seeds and is never bitter. We try to pick them very early when they are 2-3 inches long as they are meant to be a small pickle but sometimes you’ll find a large one hiding under the leaves. If it is much larger than the one shown, then I compost it or feed it to the chickens. Your main herb for flavor is tarragon instead of dill with cornichons.
Here are some pictures from the garden today. There were lots of flowers and baby veggies just starting. Won’t be long now before they really take off! I can kinda cruise for a little bet now. Just got to watch for disease and bugs and make sure things get watered and fertilized. Sounds like a lot but that is nothing compared to spring planting and fall harvest. With all this free time, I think I’ll go for a ride on my scooter tomorrow! ZOOM! ZOOM!
When I think of all the things I still need to do in the garden, I’m overwhelmed. So I break all the things I need to do into bite size projects and surrender that it will get done when it gets done. Yesterday I was down in the main garden preparing some holes and adding amendments with composted horse manure, fertilizer, rock phosphate and mycorrhizal in it. Today I planted the summer squash and cucumber seeds in them. Thirteen of my 35 tomatoes look pitiful. Luckily I have some more to replace them which I will do by the end of the weekend. They either froze or thrashed by the wind-tough winter and spring. Tomorrow I need to focus on a glassblowing workshop we are doing so looks like I wouldn’t get back to it till Saturday.