July 30, 2014

Backyard Pickles

When the hubs and I first moved into our house, we were excited to do some digging and start a backyard garden. Last summer was a time of learning which plants thrived in the DC humidity, which were more delicate, and which we wanted to try out in the future. This summer, with more knowledge and savviness, we expanded our vegetable garden to a second bed and resumed the backyard experimentation.

Our cucumber plants have to be one of our biggest successes this summer. Every day, it seems as though a dozen new cucumbers are ready to be picked, and as we gather them and swat away mosquitos, we discover a dozen more hidden amongst the leaves. These little green cukes have gone into salads, gazpachos, and, now, pickling jars!

Last weekend, we chopped up a batch and divided them into various mason jars. This first batch was a vinegar-based brine, enhanced with pickling spices, salt, garlic, dill, a pinch of sugar, and serrano peppers, also from the garden. 

We have already opened up a jar, and I think that they turned out really well! When we repeat this recipe, we might decrease or nix the sugar, but overall, these are delicious spicy pickles. Our next batch will be a small round of salt-brine with backyard jalapeƱos, pickling spices, and garlic. We like our spice. :)

My mother has already requested a jar for Christmas, and since we have so many cucumbers to use, we will likely store a few jars to give as gifts over the next few months. It is very special to us to be able to grow these treasures in our backyard and share these treats with our friends and family. As if there weren't already a million reasons to love having a garden, the ability to share fresh (and pickled!) vegetables with those we love makes it even better.

Are there any other good cucumber recipes that we should try out? We would like to try a simple cucumber salad and would love other ideas!