Dancing in the kitchen

First off, there is some interesting changes coming to the life of The Garden Sprout.  I have accepted a new position to teach horticulture at a community college.  What this means is that I will also be moving within the next two weeks to a town approximately 80 miles away.  Not a huge distance, but the route to get from where I currently am to the job is not commuter friendly.  Unfortunately, this move also means that I will have to leave behind my garden but the new job provides me access to a land lab with lots of plants so a decent trade.  I am planning on digging up what I can the day before moving and see how the plants fair…should be an interesting experience.  I plan on continuing to blog even amidst a new job that I know will be busy but a good one.  This should be interesting.

So on to even better things…how to start using that produce you get out of your garden.  Last post I talked about tossing cucumbers into a pasta salad, but guess what, that really only goes so far.  So what the heck do you do with the rest of them so that they don’t go to waste? You could indeed knock on neighbors doors and offer cucumbers but even that might not be enough.  So, last night I decided to use some of my cucumbers by making refrigerator pickles.  🙂 Yum!  My mom used to make these when I was a kid and I loved them but hadn’t had them for many years.  About a week or two ago I was talking with my mom and she asked if I had her recipe which of course I did not, so she merrily sent it off to me via email.

Refrigerator Pickles

Now these pickles are sweet pickles. They don’t have the bit that normal dill pickles have but they are great not to mention super easy too. Here’s the recipe:

4 cups sliced cucumbers
1 cup thinly sliced onions
1 cup thinly sliced bell pepper (the green and purple you see in the picture are bell peppers…I used what I had)
2 Tbsp Salt
1 Tbsp Celery Salt
2 Cups sugar
1 Cup cold vinegar

1) Dissolve the sugar in the vinegar
2) Slice the cucumbers, onions, and bell peppers and put into a bowl. Mix in salt and celery salt.
3) Pour vinegar/sugar mix over veggies
4) Pour into sterilized jars, put on lid, toss in refrigerator.

I’d recommend letting them sit in the refrigerator for about 24 hours so that everything mixes well.  They can keep in the refrigerator for a number of weeks but often then won’t last that long.  🙂  Okay I know…usually we like veggies because they are healthier and this recipe just throws that all out the window with all that sugar, but you have to splurge once in a while right?  This is a great way to use up excess cucumbers.  I still need to get around to making a batch of pesto and share that recipe with you all as well.  Just need to get a bit more growth on the basil since you need 2 cups of packed basil leaves…

Basil growing in a pot

We’ve already used some of it to make basil, tomato, mozzarella homemade pizza. How to remove basil for cooking is a lot similar to what you would do when deadheading flowers or pinching back plants…you pinch right above a set of leaves.

harvesting basil

Then you just remove the leaves from the stem and there you have it. Ready to use tasty basil.  There really is nothing better than fresh basil for cooking.

And one more picture. I promised some time ago that when the okra bloomed I would share a picture.

okra flowerNow go forth and make refrigerator pickles! Happy gardening.


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