So what little summer we had is coming to an end! Kids are going back to school, the early mornings ,when my dogs and I are sitting on the porch drinking tea, have been cool and my garden is giving me its last offerings for summer. Some vegetables are more plentiful than others right now. Unfortunately, with this summers crazy weather, gardens have really suffered here in my part of South Carolina. My family in Pennsylvania has also reported bad crops. One thing that has done exceptionally well is my cucumbers. Maybe it was due to all the rain, I don't know. They had a difficult start though. I always plant my cucurbits from seed. I planted them all in late April as I always do but this year, we had record amounts of rain in the spring and they never came up. I had to reseed them all and therefore they got a late start. I do not know the garden phenomenon that made these cucumbers go crazy while my squash, cantaloupe and zucchini struggled to produce. I do know however that it is August 17 and I just picked 12 cucumbers today. I have the pleasure of doing this at least 3 times per week. Many friends and loved ones have benefited from my cucumbers this summer.
As the summer winds down, I want to share a few of my favorite recipes for using up all those last minute veggies. Yes, some of these recipes will be canning, some will be dinners to make to use up those not so beautiful tomatoes and others will just be personal favorites. Remember this is the time to stretch the summer and enjoy the tastes in the most simple and beautiful way. This late summer time is also a time to start to think about winter and the flavors we will miss. Prepare now..... and in January when you sit down to some fresh pasta covered in homemade pesto or a bagel smeared with tomato basil jam you canned yourself, you will be standing in the middle of your summer garden again.
Tart & Tangy Refrigerator Pickles
These pickles are so easy and so good. I have tried so many traditional canning recipes for pickles and while they are tasty they do not have the crunch. In other words, they get slimy or soft. I want crisp pickles. This recipe will not let you down. I am actually going to make another batch tomorrow I love these guys so much!!
6 pickling cucumbers
½ onion, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon celery seed
1 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
Wash and scrub cucumbers. Slice into a non-metallic bowl, leaving peel on, about 1/8" thick. Add bell pepper, onion, and garlic to cucumbers. Sprinkle with salt and celery seed. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and set aside for 1 hour. In a small saucepan, bring vinegar to a boil then remove immediately from heat. Stir in sugar until dissolved. Allow to cool; pour over cucumbers. Mix well; fill jars and refrigerate for 48 hours before serving. Enjoy a jar and share one with a friend!
makes 2 pints
Recipes by Heritage Schoolhouse