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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

putting away the harvest in pics and anti-recipe #72 AMAZING sweet pickles (and tomato figs)

I sound all Laura Ingalls Wilder writing this, but its the truth. The garden is EXPLODING. And its not at the unmanageable "PLEASE-TAKE-SOME-ZUCCHINI" point yet. But it still takes work.

And with school now in session it takes massive organizing of my brain to make it all happen.

Curious what that looks like?

Here is my day, yesterday, in pictures, in case you wanted to see...

Oh, and I am having "More Thoughts" (yes in capital letters) about this blog for the next year. I am thinking of some Bookish type things to start doing and some anti-recipe experiments from my new favorite cookbook (see below).

Any input from you all??


Also below, the best sweet pickle anti-recipe EVER.

Here is what my day was yesterday, dealing with garden produce and children. Ha.

So, we begin the day by making pickles. I have this amazing sweet pickle recipe, anti-recipe truly, that is in my estimation the ONLY pickle recipe worth making.

Here is the link. My sister was aghast when I shared it with her. A recipe that takes EIGHT DAYS??? How is that an anti-recipe. Ah, but, I say, it takes five minutes a day, for 8 days, and I have totally guessed proportions and they always turn out great. So. Here is how I do it:

1) DAY 1: slice up cucumbers as above.
2) put in a metal bowl
3) cover with boiling water
4) cover with a cloth
5) let stand until the next day (don't let the foam on top scare you!)
6) DAY 2: drain off water (do not rinse!)
7) add boiling water with pickling salt, roughly one cup of salt for one gallon of water
8) pour over cucumbers, cover, let stand
9) DAY 3: drain off water (do not rinse!)
10) add boiling water and a tsp or so of alum or, if you have wild grapevines like me (!) add a few clean grape leaves, then cover with boiling water. This step gives the pickle its CRUNCH.
11) DAYS 4-7: drain off water, take out leaves etc.
12) boil the same amount of apple cider vinegar and cover the slices with the ACV and a little baggie of pickling spices in a bit of cheesecloth (I use a coffee filter tied up) You can buy pickling spices in most grocery stores, walmart, etc.
13) let it sit for the next few days! I have bottled them at day 6 and they were fine.
14) DAY 8: bottling! clean out (I use super hot water to sterilize) several wide-mouthed jars and lids and rings. Drain off vinegar, take out spices. Now, layer slices in the jars with a goodly amount of sugar over them. Keep layering until the jars are full. You will use more than a cup of sugar per jar, closer to two cups. Put on the lids. So, the sugar sucks the vinegar out of the slices and makes a syrup. If after sitting for a few hours the syrup isn't covering the slices add more sugar. You will have to turn the jars several times to get the sugar off the bottom. Now they can be stored in a cool room for up to several years! That is right, no canning involved!! Amazing right. And so good once chilled in the fridge. (below pic is the ones I started yesterday, in the bowl, finished pickle, ready to store, from the batch I just finished.)


So far, I was just ignoring the children as they messed around...

Which gave me time to read my favorite new cookbook. A how-to for everything under the sun to run a house, in the late 1800s....FASCINATING. How to kill a chicken (which I er, referred to when we "processed" our meat chickens last week...a process too traumatizing for me to document here, although I have to say, new respect for women who had to daily for food, and I also must add how little man was so good handling the process, truly a farm kid in the making!) How to launder, medicinal advice, how to make a proper lemon syrup, how to...seriously anything... This book is part of my grand plan for my blog this year. Taking one recipe every few weeks, trying it out, and sharing with you all. Today I give you....TOMATO FIGS. No, seriously, turning tomatoes into figs.

They look weird but honest to God they taste like figs! I used gorgeous black cherry tomatoes for this, almost purple in color.

I also dried some cherry tomatoes in the dehydrator, coated with olive oil, and now have them stored in the fridge in olive oil.

Little man working on a thrilling story about Martians. I chopped and helped him with spelling.

I did up one cucumber according to Nourishing Traditions fermented pickles recipe. TASTY.

Fuzzy picture. Drying mint leaves from the garden for tea. SO AMAZINGLY FRESH AND BETTER THAN STORE BOUGHT TEA. No really, I had to write in all caps. That good. I simply pick, stalks and all, wash and leave this out sitting around my kitchen until the leaves are crumbly dry, then store in a glass jar. Throw some in hot water. LOVELY.

Lest you think I am superwoman, I started to lose my mind at one point. DADA TO THE RESCUE.

The below is starting some sauerkraut. Also now sitting in my kitchen. Layer of finely cut cabbage, sprinkle of salt, pound pound pound. That is it.

boy is happy because he is doing Ipad flash cards for math. HA.

Little miss is doing math with the good old gnome story. (To explain the four math functions, in story, gnomes with gems.)

Writing out the first five Roman Numerals with number writing practice.

Here is what little man was doing. His appetite for reading is rather frightening.

And, then, the inevitable, I started losing my cool, so the girls did some water color painting and I did this tiny oil painting of a geranium in a pot. I kind of love it.

This is what happened as I wrote this post (which took ALL MORNING) he read...THE ENTIRE BOOK. Lord have mercy. This child.

So, that was my day. Frankly I am exhausted just blogging it for you! HA. I totally ran away to the library for two hours of writing while dada kid-wrangled and made dinner. AHHHHH....

Okay. My house is a rest and geography lesson is calling.

Happy Wednesday mamas!


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