Tuesday, July 2, 2013

When the garden gives you cucumbers, make freezer pickles!

It’s been raining nonstop here for more days than I even care to count.  Everything is gross and soggy and wet, causing some neglect out in the garden.  Tomatoes need tied up and everything needs a good pruning.  But today, for about an hour, the rain died down enough to go harvest some veggies that have ripened since late last week.

Today’s harvest included many tomatoes: 15 Summer Sweet, 6 Sunsugar, 1 Sweety, 2 Early Girl, and 1 Yellowboy.  I also picked cucumbers that were only greater than 10 inches long and that resulted in 9 cucumbers to add to the 3 already in the fridge.

I’ve been eating at least a cucumber per day for a couple of weeks now and have even given some away and I was beginning to run out of creative ways to continue to enjoy them on a daily basis.  I’ve been pinning many, many recipes for cucumbers on Pinterest lately but none of them could allow me, a single person, to consume 12 cucumbers before they went bad.  So I decided the time had finally come – I would call my mother and get my grandmother’s recipe for freezer pickles.

I can’t remember my mom actually making the freezer pickles as a kid, but I remember what it meant when I came home from school and saw a Cool Whip container sitting on the counter with condensation running down its sides.  Mom was thawing out those juicy, sweet freezer pickles my grandmother taught her how to make.  And now, for the first time in my life, it was my turn to carry on the tradition and make freezer pickles.

I was only going to make one batch of freezer pickles, strictly following the recipe.  But when less than two cucumbers provided me with the necessary seven cups for the recipe, I couldn’t resist making a second batch.  I also couldn’t resist straying from the recipe for the second batch – why not make some spicy garlic pickles while I’m at it?  After three hours of periodic stirring, I ended up with 4 containers of the original freezer pickles (on the left) and 4 containers of my variation (on the right).

My grandmother’s recipe is very close to this one.  My spicy garlic pickles included the addition of some fresh garlic sliced very thin and some crushed red pepper flakes, and I also reduced the sugar a bit.

Given that I’m likely going to continue harvesting more cucumbers than I can eat throughout the summer, I will be experimenting with additional variations of my Grandma Mallette’s freezer pickles and will continue to enjoy them long after cucumber season has passed.

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