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?