Saturday, July 14, 2012

Who knew??

I am just as ignorant about food as the next person. I was listening to a report on NPR about someone who was trying to re-create her Grandmother's pickles, with no success. As she read off the recipe, I thought to myself "there's no vinegar in that recipe." Little did I know that real dill/sour pickles are fermented in a salty, herby brine, not canned in vinegar. Who knew?

I don't have enough cucumbers from my wee patch to make a batch, but my local Farmer's Market was my source for a few pounds of pickling cucumbers, and I have everything else here: kosher salt, peppercorns, along with dill, garlic - and maybe a dash of hot pepper - from my garden. I even have a small wild grapevine to provide me with the supply of tannin (leaves) to keep the pickles crispy. So. I'm going to give it a try.

I've been on the internet looking up recipes and instructions. Here are a couple of the good ones:

If it works well, I may try other veggies. I'll keep you posted. 

We've gotten a little blessed rain in the last few days. My frequent watering (I'm afraid to open the water bill) kept things alive, but it was just too hot to set fruit, especially on the tomatoes: "Daytime temperatures above 90°F and night temperatures above 70°F result in reduced flowering and fruit set. There is considerable evidence that night temperature is the critical factor in setting tomato fruit, the optimal range being 59° to 68°F." - source, Cooperative Extension Service. But now that the temps have cooled a little, I am noticing more blossoms.

I picked my first San Marzano tomatoes today, and half of those had blossom end rot. I worked lime into the soil when I planted them, so I am blaming the weather. Nothing wasted though, with the bad end cut off, they were a treat for the chickens.

Little Seraphina is getting better!!!! She has got movement and some strength in her bum leg, and with just a little support from me, she can stand! She has no balance though, and if she tries to stand herself, she falls over. That makes her mad, she squawks, and just keeps trying. She is determined to get better. I am really surprised her sisters don't pick on her, but they are very accepting. The "Mean Girls," Abigail and Gracie were mean to her (and all the Cochins) before, and still are though.

Getting 1 or 2 eggs every day. :)

Holly and Niko got plucked/clipped during the hot weather (even though they are inside and are nice and cool in the a/c) Niko peeled off the whole lower half of his coat to the skin, only needing to be sheared on top. Talk about looking like a rat! Holly was the opposite, plucked bald over her whole back. She turned on her "tude" before I could clip the rest. She was wasn't having it! She was done! So she has looked like a mushroom since. Maybe I'll give her another try today..........after I make pickles.


  1. those pickles sound interesting.
    It's been hot here, but not as hot as last year (or last month for that matter) July has been cooler so far!
    We're still getting tomatoes and onions and okra in our garden and we've got 3 cantaloupe still on the vine. I noticed a few beets still growing in the ground. The Honey loves those and I'll put them in vinegar and sugar for 'pickled beets'...they make a nice salad/side with chicken or something. Our chickens aren't laying too many eggs right now, some have gone broody and we've had to deal with getting them to calm down...

    As to your hi-lighted text...did you copy and paste this in? I've had this similar problem lately, especially when I move text around after adding photos.
    If you hi-light your text and click on the button that is a "T" with a red "X" over it... it will take all that away. Then you can hi-light the text again and change the font how you want it.
    Hope that helps.
    enjoyed this post, Pat

    1. It worked!!!! Thanks for the tip.

  2. Does the tannin really help with keeping the pickles crisp? I love pickles but HATE soft ones like always happens when we can them

    1. I've never tried this, so when they are done I'll let you know? From everything I have read, the key to avoiding mush, and keeping everything crispy is to add a layer of grape, oak or cherry leaves to the bottom of the jar or crock, and another layer on the top.

  3. Lime will not address blossom end rot. You'll need bone meal. It's a lack of calcium that causes that condition... Most people put a little in the hole when they transplant their tomatoes. I forgot, so I'm crossing my fingers!!