Hello August (and Pickles)

Monday was a rainy day. So, we decided our time could be better used by heading indoors and pickling some of the many cucumbers we had harvested the week before! Pickling is a wonderful art that Kristyn was able to share with me and Jess, along with another steady volunteer, Greg Hamilton. The process is simple, but exact. To begin, we sliced pounds of cucumbers and onions from the garden, heavily salt them, and put them in huge containers covered with a layer of paper towel and ice. The ice on top is meant to compress the mixture as the salt draws out the moisture. While this happened, we created the brine the cucumbers and onions need to soak in. We used Kristyn's family recipe for bread and butter pickles, so our brine was a mixture of sugar, vinegar, and spices (including turmeric, cloves, mustard seed, and cinnamon to name a few). We let that come to a boil on the stove pot, then dumped in our cucumbers and onions. After letting those come to a boil again, it was time to can! We packed the mason jars full with the pickles and brine, then put them in a special rack in a pot of boiling water. The water heats the jar up for the 20 or so minutes in the pot - when we took the jars out, they cooled and contracted, forming the vacuum seal that will preserve the pickles without refrigeration for a year. These pickles are delicious, and only get better he longer they stay in the brine. If you are interested in purchasing a jar, stop by our farmstand Thursdays 11:00-1:00. Jars are $4.00 each!!

*** Fun Fact: The name Bread and Butter pickles came from Cora and Omar Fanning, who would pickle their own cucumbers in the 1920s when they were short on cash and barter the jars of pickles for groceries such as bread and butter. ***

Back in the garden, we continue to round up pounds of food. This week we had a huge crop of potatoes (new and fingerling) as well as our first harvest of tomatoes! Our first pints of cherry tomatoes were  huge hit at the farmstand and sold out pretty quickly, and we hope to harvest more and more as the tomato plants hit their stride in the August heat.

On Thursday we were able to donate 60 pounds of cucumbers and summer squash to the Intervale Gleaned Food Fair Share which benefits families who would otherwise not be able to afford fresh food. Next week we have a bunch of projects to work on, so please stop by! Monday we will be finishing up the pollinator garden - if you would like to help, open hours are 8:00-3:00.

As always, the Permaculture Site is open to everyone Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday 8:00-3:00. Please come down whenever you are free to help out or to just enjoy the space! On Wednesdays 12:30-1:00, we will be having salad days. Salad from the garden, fresh bread, and homemade butter, bring your own bowl! In addition, there will be a self-serve farmstand in the Center for Women and Gender 9:00-4:00 most days. We will be having our big Farmstand every Thursday 11:00-1:00 outside Alliot, please stop bye and say hello! 
- Erin


Popular Posts