Thursday, February 6, 2014

Suddenly, Pickles

Occasionally, market farmers will give me some vegetables with bad spots on them; they know my reputation.

Recently, a market farmer gave me a whole bag of bell peppers, about 10 in all.  Free.

Then, the next week, he told me he had pickles for me.  An entire half-bushel of pickling cucumbers, it turns out.  I did some rapid calculations involving time, hauling capacity, and dill. He saw the dismayed look on my face and kindly told me to just take what I thought I wanted. Again, free.



I took a bag and canned 10 quarts of dill pickles.  I discovered in the process that I didn't have enough apple cider vinegar or dill seed in the house.  I screeched out the door to pick up the kids (late) with the kitchen steaming, salty, and littered.  I was definitely out of the canning rhythm!



But the pickles look lovely.  I experimented with putting some green tea in the pickle brine to see if the tannin keeps the pickles crisp.  I used grape leaves for their tannin this past summer and the pickles are remarkably crisp.

Love this bumper sticker from Marilou, although the canning in this post wasn't with local stuff!

And next time I went to market, I took a carefully-wrapped jar of pickles to that farmer to say thank you for all the free veggies.  We were both pleased.

13 comments:

Rachel said...

What a great idea! And YUM for pickles.

Meryl Carver-Allmond said...

I need to try some grape leaves next year. I've been sticking to fridge pickles these past few summers because the canned ones get so soggy.

Little Homestead In Boise said...

Wow, where are the cukes coming from this time of year? I only see them here in the summer...

Margo said...

Little Homestead, the cukes aren't local - the farmer probably bought them at the produce auction. There are several farmers at my market who buy produce from elsewhere to supplement what they grow.

sillygirl said...

Lucky you! My favorite thing is to get something for free and figure out what to do with it - keeps my creative juices flowing.

jenny_o said...

My mouth is watering just looking at those dills! What a nice way to reciprocate for the free cukes, with a beautiful jar of finished product.

Sarah Barry said...

we love a pickle around here! yum.

i have never canned - ever. maybe when my kids are older and can help.



Sew Blessed Maw [Judy] said...

How very nice. The pickles look lovely.. and sweet of you to remember his kindness by bringing him a jar of pickle.. Enjoy !!!

Anna said...

Pleased, indeed! An impressive days work.

BLD in MT said...

What an awesome reputation to have with your market folks!

Anonymous said...

Would you be willing to publish your recipe & method for these pickles? I haven't tried using grape leaves, though I've read about it. And green tea.....? That's something I hadn't thought of. Did it work the way you wanted it to?

Brenda

Margo said...

Hi, Brenda. The link to the pickle recipe is in the post, but here it is also:
http://thriftathome.blogspot.com/2011/12/dark-days-3-simple-plus-dessert.html

The pickles are best after they sit for a month or so, so we haven't opened a jar yet. I'll report back on the efficacy of the green tea!

Anonymous said...

Thank you!

Brenda

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