Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Oh, Pickles!

Very soon, if not already, we will have an over abundance of cucumbers on our own plants or in the Farmers' Markets...what will you do with them?

My Mom did a lot of canning during the summer months when I was growing up.  She canned tomatoes, peaches, pears, and pickles mostly. 

There were many local farms near our small town where we would go to pick these fruits and vegetables.  We did the picking ourselves and came home with bushels of produce.  I remember I liked to go picking when I was younger, but as I got to be a teenager, not so much!  It was usually very hot and humid, and pretty boring.  Mom needed lots of hands to get the amount she wanted, so saying "no" to going wasn't an option. 

My Dad liked going along to pick also.  He was a good eater, so this meant many tasty fresh meals would be coming his way.  He never turned down a chance to eat...and, he never gained any weight either...really maddening for most of us who do put on the pounds.   I have two older brothers and a younger sister who Mom would recruit for picking, too.  We made quite a force when we all showed up at the farms.  Mom, Dad, and the boys did the high picking while my little sis and I stayed closer to the ground. 

When we weren't doing the picking ourselves, there were/are many farmers' stands along the roadways to stop and buy what we wanted for dinner that night.  All the kids in the family as we got older and were driving back and forth, would stop for fresh corn or green beans.  Mom made the best fried eggplant, so if we saw some eggplant, we would buy that too.

I feel very fortunate that I grew up having so much right near my front door.  When asked, I would go to the nearby farm to get fresh eggs and "still warm" cream for our meals.  Somehow, my Mom would find these farmers, get to know them, and then buy what they had on hand. 

I made bread-n-butter pickles a couple of days ago when I saw lots of small cucumbers in the market. They weren't from a local farmer since it's too early here for them, but I'll be making lots more when they do come in.  I eat them like candy...

My Mom canned them by the many, many pints.  I don't have her recipe but I've just created my own during the years.  I like them to be made with sliced onions along side the sliced cucumbers.  The sweet-sour flavor is a favorite of mine.

This will last me about a week, since I eat them by the spoonfuls.

Click here for a recipe almost exactly like how I make them.  I use more onion slices, and sometimes I add some hot pepper flakes.  My slices are thinner because I use one of those old electric "Salad Shooters" from long ago...I found mine at the Salvation Army store for a couple of dollars!  It works like a dream and can slice through cucumbers and onions in just a matter of seconds.

P.S.  They say that Turmeric is a wonder spice...everyone should have a little each is an anti-inflammatory.  Read about its benefits.


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