Thursday, July 25, 2013

Learn By Doing

The doer alone learneth.

-Friedrich Nietzsche 

Here we are again and it is time for some learnin'. Part of my new school of thought is "just do it, and figure it out as you go". I have the tendency to research the crap out something before I do it, leaving me, often times, with too many preconceived notions, and anxiety about the process. Which ends with me taking little or no action out of fear. While I still research (its my nature, can't help it), I set a limit, and focus on the overview, or any safety concerns. It has transformed the way I think about so many things. It doesn't have to be perfect or great, it may even suck, but I will have done it, I will have learned something, and I will do it better the next time. Now, on to garden business.

I recently harvested enough lemon cucumbers to actually make something with them. I only had four, so it couldn't be big, and, I wanted something that could stick around for a while. I settled on some refrigerator pickles, and couldn't be happier.

Garden Haul

Pay no attention to the fig, I promptly ate that. I did have a bunch of beans that was not enough to make anything else with (besides, I'm the only one who eats them), so I decided to pickle them too, along with that tiny walla walla onion. First step is to blanch the beans. Throw them in boiling water for a minute or two, then throw them in some ice water, or under cold running water to stop the cooking process. For the beautiful Dragon Wax Beans, this removed most of their fabulous color which was a little disappointing.

Blanch Those Beans!

Next, I halved and thinly sliced the onion, diced some garlic, and peeled and sliced my cucumbers. The pickle juice is easy. Water, vinegar, sugar, salt, and some spices. I used coriander and mustard seeds for the spice, but you could use whatever you want. I chose rice vinegar for its more subtle taste, however, a white wine, champagne, or even apple cider would work. Technically, any vinegar would do, but darker ones would likely overpower those delicate lemon cukes. 

Peel and Slice!

Then, you just throw it all in a quart mason jar, throw it in the fridge, and let the magic happen. I held out about 30 minutes and it was awesome.  The next morning, it was divine. Everything is transformed into a light, refreshing, condiment that is perfect for summer.   

Fill it up

Pickles! (and beans, yeah!)

On a side note, if you happen to not have an abundance of veggies, or, are getting one or two every few days, never fear! Just add them as you get them. I added in some beans the second day without blanching them and they were good, though not as good as the ones that were blanched.  You cannot mess this up, it will be fabulous, and you will wonder why you waited so long.

Refrigerator Pickles

3/4 c Vinegar

1 c Water

3 T Sugar

1 T Salt

1/2 t Coriander

1/2 t Mustard Seeds

2 Cloves Garlic, Diced

1 sm Onion, thinly sliced

4 Lemon Cucumbers, peeled and sliced

10-15 Wax beans, blanched

Blanch beans. Dice garlic, and thinly slice onions and cucumbers. Combine first 6 ingredients in a quart mason jar and shake to mix. Add in veggies and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.

Food totals: 33 lbs since last post

10 lbs cherries
3 lbs beans
1 lb 2 oz strawberries
9.5 lbs  carrots
8 lbs onions
.5 lbs rainbow chard
1.5 lbs lemon cucumber
27.5 lbs plums
.25 lbs Blackberries

438.25 lbs to goal

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