Cucumbers are just not something that I’ve had success with yet in my garden. It’s a shortcoming and I accept it. But we don’t like to do without pickles, so I gladly buy cukes from our local farmers. Their carrots were ready before mine too this year, which was irksome (because I had spinach ready to harvest in March, when most local farmers had nothing in the ground), but it’s been that kind of year. And then PetKid ventured outside this morning and returned with a basketful of carrots, declaring them ready. And he was right! So, today I pickled cucumbers and carrots, the quick way.
Refrigerator pickles are a nice way to do some quick pickling, prolonging the life of just harvested veggies by about a month, without the hassle of proper canning. Very clean jars will do, sterile are even better, and all that’s needed is a quick wash and slice of whatever’s fresh (cucumbers, carrots, radishes), piling those slices into the jars, and then filling the remaining space with a solution made of equal parts water and vinegar, plus fresh dill, peppercorns and mustard seeds. My method was borrowed in its entirety (nearly) from A Beautiful Mess.
Quick and easy pickles, inspired by A Beautiful Mess
Slices of cukes, carrots, radishes or other root veggies
Pickling solution with the following ratio:
1 cup vinegar
1 cup water
2 tsp salt
1 tbs sugar
Prepare jars. Stack washed and sliced veggies (these must be very fresh) in jars; slip fresh dill into place, sprinkle with peppercorns and mustard seed to taste. Pour pickling solution over everything. Place lids and refrigerate. Resulting pickles are ready within 24 hours and will keep for a month in the fridge.
Of course, PetKid was also motivated to pick a basket of green beans and harvest a small bunch of beets, both of which are nice candidates for canning. The beets were boiled on the stovetop, so they will be ready for a quick roast (to be paired with other root veg and poached eggs) or slicing for inclusion in a salad. The green beans are still sitting on the counter, as I also had a (gluten free) chocolate layer cake to make for the boys’ big sister, who arrives tomorrow from England.
Did I mention that I haven’t done anything with the green beans yet?
I’m quite pleased with how this cake turned out, thanks to the Gluten Free Goddess, though gluten-free cakes still tend to end up with a slightly concave middle, which is frustrating. But it’s rather nice looking anyway and I think it will be rather good (in the way that only foodstuffs primarily made of butter and sugar can be).
It would be unjust to wind up this post without acknowledging the extremely handy skills of my husband, who spent a good chunk of today repairing our aging vacuum cleaner. A number of reasonably expensive appliances have all decided to go at once (the tv, the stereo/amplifier, the hoover), the natural result of buying all of them at once when we relocated from the UK to Canada 12 years ago.
And, most importantly, it worked! I remind my boys at every opportunity that this is how they too will be able to earn their keep in the future.