Posted in Fermentation, Gardening, Herbs, Make Your Own, tagged Armenian cucumbers, brine, cucumbers, fermentation, fermenting, fermenting cucumbers, fermenting pickles, garden, Herbs, pickling cucumbers, salt brine on July 24, 2014 |
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I can ferment sauerkraut with my eyes closed, but I have had a hard time with fermented pickles in the past (didn’t turn out well) … I just keep trying. Instead of using whole pickling cucumbers I decided to try my luck and go about it differently, so I sliced the cucumbers this time.
I did not plant cucumbers this year. I talked to my neighbor/friend about growing cucumbers this season because I grow most of my peppers and the zucchini in their garden and he agreed that this year we could share the cucumbers too. He has been growing Armenian cucumbers (actually in the melon family) for the past few years and he always has way more then he needs. The Armenian cukes are nice, but I want to grown pickling cucumbers again.
Fermenting – Day 1
Back to my experiment… I sliced the cucumbers and put them in a glass gallon jar. I added the herbs and spices that I wanted (dill seed, celery seed, and garlic) and poured the brine over the top. The brine was 1 1/2 T to 4 cups water.
The big thing with fermenting is that you need to keep the vegetable below the liquid to avoid bad bacteria from growing. I could not find a jar that was big enough, yet small enough to fit down through the opening of the gallon jar. I had to resort to using a gallon zip-top bag with a little water in it, then I sunk a pint jar into the bag and filled the jar with some water also. I am not a big fan of plastic, but it worked. I will be either looking for the perfect jar to weigh things down or a different glass jar. As I type this and thing about it – I really could have used my fermenting crock.
The past issues that I had when fermenting pickles in the fermenting crock that I have is the weights. The whole cucumbers are so buoyant and the ceramic weights are a bit on the smaller side that the cucumbers can sneak up on the edges. Then they are exposed to air and things go quite wrong in a hurry.
It worked! I have successfully fermented cucumber slices (three times now!) Boy are they good! We now have a ton of them in the refrigerator and we are munching our way through them fast. I have shared several quarts with our neighbor/friend.
Day 7 or 8
Next year I look forward to canning some pickles so we can enjoy them throughout the winter too, but in the mean time we are enjoying these fermented ones. I know they have more benefits to them (chuck full of healing probiotics!) I also look forward to the fall and winter garden to ferment some of the root veggies like carrots, turnips and onions.
Other post on fermenting:
Anyone else out there fermenting things?
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Posted in Herbs, tagged Antler Horn, asclepias asperula, blooms, Dakota vervain, glandularia bipinnatifida, Herbs, Mexican hat, mullein, native herbs, native plants, ratibida columnifera, verbascum thapsus, wild herbs on May 1, 2014 |
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Spring, in term of nice Spring temperatures, seem to be a thing of the past in my area. We hit 100F a few days ago. UGH! Spring, in terms of things blooming and growing , is still happening.
There are so many things blooming and emerging out there. Some things are absent since we are so, so dry, but others seem to be thriving.
I never seem to be lucky enough to have Mullein (verbascum thapsus) growing in our yard. I seem them in our neighborhood and even have been known to pluck a few dried stalks to spreads those tiny, tiny, tiny mullein seeds in my yard, but still now have emerged. So, I get to enjoy them elsewhere. There is a beautiful one growing at my neighbors. Big and beautiful. You can also see Dakota Vervain (glandularia bipinnatifida) in the forefront of the photos (purple bloom) and some very young Mexican Hat (ratibida columnifera.) I have one that has flowered in our yard, and they will be the next spring flower around here.
mullein (verbascum thapsus)
This spring Antler Horn (asclepias asperula – in the milk weed family) seems to be particularly abundant. I seem to see its beautiful, showy flowers all around right now.
antler horn (asclepias asperula)
What do you see emerging and blooming this time of year in your area?
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Posted in Gardening, Herbs, Local, tagged bunching onions, celery leaf, chicken salad, garden, Herbs, local, Monster Spinach, quick lunch, spinach, using herbs, vegetable gardening on April 17, 2014 |
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It’s a busy time. There seems to be a lot going on and I don’t seem to be catching up on certain things, yet I am getting other things done. So anytime I can make a quick meal, it really helps.
Spinach growing season is over here and my spinach has bolted and I am patiently waiting for seeds to I can harvest them and then get the next phase planted out there. I picked on last large batch of spinach and had plans to saute it and freeze it for meals later, but meal plans can change rather quickly around here. I also had some local chicken and carrots in the refrigerator that needed to get used up. Chicken salad came to mind, but I haven’t managed to make any bread in a few weeks.
As I gazed into the refrigerator I decided that the spinach would get used to make chicken salad wraps. Brilliant!
I ran out back and pulled up a bunching onion and also snipped several stalks of celery leaf. Chicken salad coming up!
The meal was quick, easy, and healthy. In fact, I am running in several directions right now and I had a repeat of this meal for dinner too! Yum x 2!
What do you do to throw together a quick lunch?
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Posted in Community, Cooking, Daily Life, Gardening, herbalism, Herbs, Learning, Local, Local Food, Routines, Wild Foods, tagged community, Cooking, Daily Life, Gardening, herbal medicine, Herbs, Learning, local, local food, spring gardening, swap, wild edibles, wild foods, wild herbs on April 4, 2014 |
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Bunching onions, sauerkraut, local lamb roast, and working in the garden….
Chopping up bunching onions to go in my neighbors freezer
What do all those things have in common? …. Just more “not dabbling in normal” normal.
Over at the neighbors getting things ready to plant.
Cleaning and clearing out the winter garden. the onions are starting to flower. I let a few turnips and some of the kale flower so I can collect seeds. The monster spinach is just starting to bolt, so will leave a few plants in the ground for seed saving also.
I was over at the neighbors yesterday to help clear out winter plants and get some spring things in the ground. He uses a hoe (made in the USA) that belonged to his grandmother. (my neighbor is 81 years old, so that is one old hoe that he is using.) we planted some cucumber and zucchini seeds and got a few bell pepper plants in the ground. My body is still playing catch up from being sick a year ago…. so that was all we got done. We will work out there again on Saturday. I plan to work in my garden today and hopefully get some plants in the ground. I still get out of breath, but it feels good to work out there and I need to keep pushing myself a bit to keep getting better. I have certainly come a long way, especially when i think back to march 2013 when I couldn’t even walk across the room!
chopping cabbage for sauerkraut
I have picked my cabbages and they are in the crock turning into fermented sauerkraut. I picked up some more local cabbage at the local swap that I go to and those are also fermenting in another second crock.
Dinner the other night was a roasted local lamb shoulder (picked it up at the swap/barter.) I had a second pan in the oven roasting sweet potatoes and onions that I also traded for.
Making a cough syrup
I am also taking an herbal medics class. Learning a lot, and So much more to learn. It is a lot of fun. I am harvesting some wild herbs and edibles as they are popping up this spring. The lambsquarter is popping up so I am potting some up to take to plant swaps and also the month swap/barter.
So, like I said…. Life. There is a lot going on. Spring is in the air (It was 87F yesterday – I think we skipped Spring!)
What are you up to this time of year?
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Rosemary (Rosemary officinales) grows really well here. It can handle the full summer sun, and is deer resistant! It is also drought tolerant and does well in many types of soil.
Rosemary was one of the plants that I planted in the first year were lived here and they have grown big and bushy, but they really don’t bloom. This year a few stalks bloomed on one of the bushes this spring. It is the same bush that had one stalk bloom last year.
The blooms where so beautiful.
I love having rosemary in our yard. It is so easy to walk outside and snip off a few branches to cook with. I use the drying rack my husband built for me to dry several branches at a time to use in herbs blends, like the Italian Seasoning Blend I make up and the black olive rosemary bread that I bake or to go in some Mediterranean bean spread.
I also love snipping a small branch just to have around to sniff. Quite often you can find one in my truck or laying on the desk near the computer. It has just a wonderful scent.
Not only does it have a wonderful scent, but rosemary is an herb that can be used to invigorate you, energize you and help with metal focus. I seem to need that!
Do you have rosemary growing in your garden? What do you like to use it for?
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Posted in Gardening, Herbs, Local, Local Food, Planning, Recipes, Seasons, tagged cilantro, Gardening, Herbs, local, local food, Mint, parsley, planning, Recipes, spring, The Natural Gardener, using herbs on March 13, 2014 |
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I’m getting a bit ahead of myself, but the warmer days have me thinking about the Spring/Summer garden planting.
We have already hit 90F here in South Texas. That is just too hot, WAY too soon for me. Last week we had another cooler down that was right up my alley and it had me opening the bedroom windows at night to cool the me down!
I try hard to purchase veggies in season, but I had an itch (and an event to bring a dish to) to make Tabouli (click on the word “Tabouli” to link to the recipe that I posted back in July of 2013). I picked and used as much as I could from the gardens; parsley, mint, cilantro, onion. But I did have to purchase things like cucumber and tomato (oh I can’t wait to pick that first fresh tomato!)
I am behind in my seed starting, but my tomato seedlings are up and a few of the pepper seeds are starting to sprout. I did pick up some heirloom and non-GMO seedlings at The Natural Gardener a few weeks ago. They are already potted up into gallon containers. The Natural Gardener didn’t have their pepper plants in yet, so I will check back in with them, as well as check a few other local nurseries to find some organic ones.
Reality check: last wee our temps are back in the “Texas Winter” range. We have been 25F at night with a few days that didn’t get about 45F (I know that is a heat wave for some of you out there.) so my seedlings are living in the garage and in the house for while.
What type of seeds will you be starting to prepare for the upcoming gardening season?
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