It’s getting to be that time of year when you start to think about how to save as much of your harvest as possible. Right now the Tomatoes, Peppers, Cucumbers, and Beans are in abundance. The harvest baskets are overflowing. But keep an eye on the weather. Pretty soon there’ll be a nip in the air and that’s when you’ll need to start thinking about preserving.
I’m part of a smaller Master Gardener group called the ‘Community Cultivators’ – cultivating community, get it? And we have a Harvest Festival event planned for early September. So we harvested this little lot from the local vegetable demo garden.
And had ourselves a pickling party. It was lots of fun. Much chopping, washing, tea-drinking, chatting, laughing, chopping, washing, packing and ultimately squashing.
Our bible for the pickling was The Joy of Pickling by Linda Ziedrich. A great book with recipes and combinations that were both traditional and unusual. Definitely recommended reading.
The best thing about pickling with other people – apart from the volume of pickles produced – is the tips that you pick up along the way and the new ideas that you experience. Like, how you should always remove the blossom end of your cucumbers before pickling because it makes them soft. I also discovered a new spice, Grains of Paradise.
And I did not know that you can pickle Nasturtium seeds!
We filled half of the jars with a vinegar solution for pickling and half with a salt solution for brining. The pickles were sealed and put in the fridge and the brined vegetables were weighed down with bags of brine and left without lids in the basement to ferment.
I can’t wait to taste them!