Pickling Day – Part 1

I’m drowning in cucumbers. I should have known better when I planted, but I never do.

When the seeds are going in the ground, it’s all hope and joy and rainbows. Then, as the seedlings emerge, I’m thrilled to welcome each and every one. “See: I am useful!” I think. “I could survive a zombie apocalypse. People would welcome me to their camp because I *can* grow things!”

But then I can’t stand the thought of murdering my babies. So I fail to thin.

And the next thing you know I’m drowning cucumbers because I have, um, 12 plants producing in what should be a space for 3.

So, what to do with 9 pounds of cucumber (today’s haul) sitting on the counter? Make pickles.

But, that’s too much produce staring at me to even think about quick pickles; there’d be room for nothing else in the refrigerator. So, it’s a day for full-on water-bath canning. (If you quick pickle, you can’t keep your goods in the pantry because they’ll spoil. But if you water-bath can, they are sealed and can be stored on the shelf for years. Trust me. My mom still sends me her circa-1988 jams.)

{More after the jump.}
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Of Peaches, Preserving and Star Trek

As a kid, I grew up pickling and canning and shucking and hulling. In fact, that’s where my deep love for Star Trek comes from.

Every summer day at 5 p.m., my mom would turn the TV on to Star Trek (the original; I am that old) and we would sit together and snap beans or shell peas. It’s one of my most vivid and cherished childhood memories. (Except when the “Doomsday Machine” episode came on. They always played that one, never “Trouble with Tribbles.”)

Then, as summer moved into the real dog days, late August, we would head to the Palisade, Colo., orchards to buy bushels of peaches. Fresh off the trees peaches. Juice-running-down-your-face peaches. Continue reading