Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Pickles are a lot of work


Yes it's true, making pickles is hard work. But if you've never done it, I urge you to try- it's completely worth it. I (mostly) blame my pickle obsession for my utter lack of posting- that, and I've been spinning and knitting quite a bit, too. I've put up one or two batches of pickles every weekend since the beginning of August. I have put up about 100 quarts so far. Because if (fill in the blank) is not worth doing obsessively, it's not worth doing.

What's pictured above? Dilly beans, various jardinieres, peppers, eggplants, mixed zucchini. And of course, cukes. The sauerkraut is in the fridge, not the closet; I didn't want to cook it because the crunch is amazing and I wanted to preserve the live culture in the kraut. I shredded 30 pounds of cabbage, and after 2 weeks in a crock, it packed perfectly into 10 one-quart jars. My father-in-law gave me just about the best compliment I could ever hear- he said it tasted like kraut from his childhood in North Carolina farm country. I make old-fashioned farm kraut!

And sadly, there are far too many green tomatoes here- it was a bad year for ripe tomatoes. I made a batch (7 quarts) of plain pickled tomatoes with peppers; a batch of sweet chutney with vinegar, spices and brown sugar; and a couple of jars of tomato butter- it's just like apple butter, but made with green tomatoes. If I didn't tell you it was tomato butter, you'd think it was apple butter. It's delicious.

I'm madly in love with home-made pickles. It is just amazing to open up my own jars of vegetables. We eat pickles with nearly every meal. We didn't know what we were missing. They are better than anything I've ever had from the store. And now that the temperature is dropping into the 30s, I swear I can taste summer in them.

Most of the latest veg have come from the farmer's market- the earlier pickles were from my own garden. I pickle whatever looks freshest on Saturday morning at the market, and I try to pickle what's been harvested in the last day or two. This weekend's farmer's market will no doubt showcase the very last of the peppers and possibly a few other late summer veg. Perhaps this weekend will allow for one more batch of jardiniere?


Jennifer (of Veg*n Cooking) said...

Oh my goodness that is a lot of pickles! You MUST have been very busy over the past couple of months. Thanks for the suggestions for what to do with green tomatoes. Our tomato season wasn't bad, but we had to go pick a BUNCH of green tomatoes a couple of days ago as we had a few days of freezing weather.

Rabbits' Guy said...

So, if Peter Piper picked ... oh bother. Welcome back to the B-sphere.

I though eating too much pickled food was not too good for you. Am I wrong there? Is a pickle-a-day just the ticket?

Boy the do look good and congrats on the kraut!

The Bunns said...

You didn't pickle the bunns did you?????????

Carolyn said...

That's alot of pickles!!! I made some dill pickles, green tomato hodge podge, pickled green tomatoes and 'kraut. All pretty darn yummy! I think they taste better because you we make them!

nice to hear from you again!


agreenfire said...

Your pickles look wonderful. Nice to see a new post, welcome back.

Rabbits' Guy said...

Yah .. she sure has a "dilly" of an excuse for slacking, eh????

Kateri said...

Those jars of pickles on the shelf are so pretty!

Condo Blues said...

My MIL makes awsome pickles. I do not have that skill (yet.) I didn't know you could pickle green tomatoes. I ended up making my first attempt at fried green tomatoes with mine. The frost but an end to all of the tomatoes still growing on the vine last week.

ilex said...

Rabbit saint, I think the warnings about eating too many pickles apply only if you use alum, which I don't. Mine are just vinegar, salt, spices, and water.

Buns, not pickled. But they are loving this cold weather. Many, many binkys lately.

Verde said...

Wow, I was admiring your shelves of canning and wow, that's a lot of pickles.

Glad you did actually return from your trip and didn't get pickeld. (sorry all the good puns were taken).

plantainpatch said...

How awesome! I just got Joy of Pickling from the library. Looking to add to my pickling repertoire.

Robbyn said...

I haven't been here in way too are the pickle queen!! Girl, I hope you do start your own business...we NEED your genius and those cans of summer garden bliss are just beautiful. I can only imagine how delicious!