Recent adventures in late-season vegetables

Dear faithful few,

Allow me to apologize for the lack of recent any posts whatsoever. Frankly I was a bit absorbed by the near-ceaseless task of pumping, filling, hauling, and dumping gallons of water into the desert of our garden. But  just at the ominous, heart-wrenching moment when the water pump made an ominous gasp and no. water. came. out. (apparently the garden water well ran dry (!)) and I thought my precious vegetables-in-becoming were all gonners: the heavens opened.

It’s a bit cooler now and the garden is in super-production mega-over-drive. Like, OMG WINTER IS COMING WE HAVE TO PRODUCE FRUIT NOW GO GO GO GO GO.

Behold.

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Ca. 10 Kohlrabi, 25 pickling cucumbers, 5 zucchini (many, many, many more on the way), a handful of potatoes (also just the tip of the proverbial potato iceberg), and a garbage bag full of onions. That was all I could carry on my bike in one go, but I left behind tomatoes, herbs, mangold, kale, red beets, carrots, several types of salad, about a dozen types of herbs, and … more kohlrabi.

Yes, that is a garbage bag full of onions.

What do you DO with onions, my faithful readers are wondering? Apparently, you cure them in the sun until they are dry, then move them to a dark, dry, cool storage location.

My onions are currently on the windowsill in the drying phase. Just, you know, in case our neighbors had any shred of hope left that we were normal urban inhabitants….

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In related news, I am still looking for a quality dill pickle recipe. The first batch I made with a traditional canning process, i.e. ten minutes in a boiling water bath. The resulting (3 enormous) jars of pickles were just…. eh. Despite vey generous quantities of garlic, dill, hot peppers, and pickling spices, the overwhelming flavors were just salt and vinegar. Mostly vinegar. And they lacked the necessary cr-unch!

After further research I am wondering if I may need to ferment my cucumbers to achieve the desired result (NY Times, for example). Good thing I harvested 25 cucumbers from the garden today.

Fun Fact #1: There is actually a National Center for Home Food Preservation.

Fun Fact #2: According to a recent survey by Opinion Research, 43 percent of consumers interested in canning are ages 18-34.

Average, not exciting dill pickles. Not a fail. Just not (yet) a mega win.

My ho-hum dill pickles. Not a fail. Just not (yet) a mega win.

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3 thoughts on “Recent adventures in late-season vegetables

  1. I add Ball “Pickle Crisp” to my pickles. It is just calcium chloride. Some may consider it cheating, but it is easy and works. I use “Ashery” brand pickling spice and cider vinegar . The garden provides a large sprig of dill and a clove of garlic . The finished product looks just like your picture. I let it sit until Thanksgiving before I open them up.

  2. Emily, I just made fermented bread and butter pickles and they were amazingly crunchy, perfectly sweet-and-sour, and delicious! I used zucchini since I didn’t have small pickling cukes, and even though they’re supposed to get soft they stayed crunchy. It just took 3 days fermenting on my cool windowsill and they’re the best pickles I’ve ever eaten — and filled with good probiotic bacteria. The recipe is at http://nourishedandnurtured.blogspot.de/2012/08/fermented-bread-and-butter-pickles-gaps.html. I’ve also found good fermented dill pickle recipes but wanted to give you this alternative just in case you had more zucchini than you knew what to do with!

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