Friday, June 20, 2008

Adopt a Crop update: Pickles + Fluffy

Oh yeah, you read that right - PICKLES.

Ok, technically, I haven't tried them yet since pickles don't really go with Fiber One and soy milk, but I think I'll try them this weekend and then I can report back on whether this first round tastes like a horses ass or worse.

The floaties here are the powdered mustard. Looks nasty, but they say this is what it's supposed to look like. Specifically, when the bright green cucumbers "turn light brown in color". Which they have. But still.

That looks kinda nasty.

I used Gram's Crock Pickles recipe from the Pickling cookbook I picked (oh my god forgive me I couldn't resist) up in Portland because it didn't call for sterilizing jars or any ingredients I didn't have on hand. Well, technically speaking anyway.

It called for cider vinegar, which I sorta had (I used apple cider vinegar) and quart sized jars, which I sorta had (if you put two pint jars together they make a quart) - but otherwise - totally the same recipe!

Ok, except for the fact that I used 6 cucumbers instead of 3 pounds and left out the sugar (won't the "apple" in apple cider vinegar be enough?) - but I did use all the powdered mustard it called for so who the hell knows what we'll end up with.

Meaning I could be quite ill come Monday. But we'll see!

Anyway, crop update:

The adopted crop is doing quite well. I had enough cucumbers to try my hand at fucking up a pickle recipe on Tuesday (see above) and then enough yesterday to repick the same batch for a future pickling session this weekend when I anticipate I will more closely attend to the details of a different recipe in the book. Yay!

And this big giant super producer of a cucumber plant now has a name: Fluffy.

Yes, thank you Decca for this suggestion. I am taking this in the most lewd and naughty way possible because that is what entertains me. Can't figure out why "Fluffy" is porny? Well, then you're a better and more wholesome person than I. So you know, I'm laughing right now.

Also, this weekend I'll be rescuing Wee Man from the advancing everythings because look at this poor guy:

He's still making wee cucumbers though, which is good. Because at the rate I'm going it may take me all summer to get all the ingredients into my house at the same time so that we can properly follow recipes and have cucumbers that don't taste like a butt.

I predict, anyway. I mean, WHO KNOWS, they could be good, but judging by the color and floaty business in those jars and the fact that I used apple cider vinegar it's more likely that these pickles will be N.A.S.T.Y., but I guess we'll see. Stay tuned for barfing!

One last thing, would it be cheating to use a "Pickling Spices" packet? I may have to resort to that.

Other crop updates:

The tomatoes are getting full. Like, we have a new cluster popping out every day and we're now placing bets on which tomato will ripen first, kinda full.

I, personally, vote for this guy on the right here since he was the one looking yellowish orangeish last time and is still the most un-green of the lot. I predicted we'd have ripening tomatoes in about two to three weeks.

Bubba says, "Two or three weeks? That's bullshit. COME ON ALREADY."

Sometimes it's so clear why we're married.

The volunteer pumpkin, for which I ripped out the encroaching squash, is doing very well. He's sorta hiding what I imagine is some alarming growth by doing his growing beneath and around the basil hedge I'm cultivating.

It is possible that one day I'll go to snip some basil and LO there will be a pumpkin there. Anyway, that's what I'm hoping. What I'm also hoping is that my hand-picking of the nasty squash bugs and their grody little babies is successful at some point so that I can stop interrupting my otherwise gleeful garden time with bug smashing.

It's not that pleasant.

The midget cantaloupe is also being protected from the squash bugs with my twice daily smash-fests. Apparently a few coupling squash porn stars managed to make it through the killing of the plant, and decided to move over to the melon WHICH I DO NOT APPRECIATE. So, I've been out there a-smashin' a few times a day since then.

It takes a lot of time to be this evil while also being gentle with the beeooteeful melon you see here. With any luck he'll grow to full size (single serving size that is - about half the size of a regular cantaloupe) and we'll see more melons.

I would like that a lot. Especially given the amount of murder I've had to commit to keep these plants alive.

Here's a gentlemen with whom you may not yet be acquainted. This is my bell pepper. He is growing very fucking slowly to the point where the ugly marigolds that have grown from seed are starting to smother him. In fact, I had to bribe them to stay out of this shot so that I can macro focus on this little bud for your viewing pleasure.

I have high hopes, but I fear they are misguided.

You will recognize this as the aforementioned scary ass chard forest. It gets denser and more intimidating by the day. Which is why I crown myself Super Chard Killer and bastardizer of a million miscellaneous chard recipes. I fear that if I do not cook the chard I will be swallowed whole by the chard.

This is my big beet. I can say that with some certainty because I only have two beets that made it through the precarious seed stage to actually producing something beet-like and this is the bigger one. Thus the name, Big Beet. I would have eaten him and his Small Beet buddy last night for dinner if it weren't 100 degrees outside which made it ridiculous to even think about firing up the oven.

Soon though, and for the rest of our lives, Big Beet.

This week, what with the heat and all, the beans decided to start climbing. That's really all I have to say about the beans, except that I got all excited to see them growing and decided to throw a few more seeds along the fence.

Because I don't know when to stop.

These are the radishes I pulled this week. Some are perfect, some are retarded. Some are real small. They all went into the same big salad last night and were lost in the load of farm share spinach.

Again, feel free to remark upon my flea-beetle free radish greens. WOO! One bug I haven't inadvertently invited into my garden! Random success!

And I'm spent.

That's all I got for now. Although I do have a few more recipes hanging out that involve strawberries, homegrown cherries and buttermilk. Not all together though. That'd be too much.


  1. Umm, I'm pretty damn sure that apple cider vinegar and cider vinegar are the exact same thing.
    :) Wikipedia agrees with me. So I don't think your pickles will taste like horse's ass. I do think you need to get some dill in there, woman!
    Congratulations on your bug-smashing prowess. Can you come do mine, because something is eating my beans to poor little nubs.

  2. I'm so proud! I named something! And you understood the porn reference (which helps explain why we're friends). Yay!

  3. I just happened across your blog...well, I followed links and got here. I love it! You have so many neat things to look at and read about and wow! learn...I will be back oftern as I have listed you in Stitchers I follow...oh yeah, that's how I got here following links to and about your pretty trash bag for your Prius. So cool! Thanks for so many things!

  4. I recently found your blog and love it! Crazily enough, I made pickles yesterday. Mine are ice box Bread & Butter pickles. No cooking required and its super easy and yummy. If you would like the recipe, let me know- or check out my blogs. It will be posted there soon.

  5. I just realized...we're close. I am up in Pacifica

  6. i was going to talk about the cider but ginger beat me to it. those pickles look fun-kay! but I'm sure they'll be fine. however, i know you're a fat-watcher and too-much-sugar watcher (unless it's in PIE) but pickles really need the sugar for the whole sweet sour thing to be just right. but let us know because i am speaking as a chef, but also as a non-pickle-maker so i could talking out my ass.

  7. Apple cider vinegar is the same as cider vinegar. I'm afraid that your pickles are going to be pretty sour. You might like them, though. Just because it's got apple in them, doesn't mean it's sweet. The apple in it means that it starts with apple juice instead of wine to make the vinegar from, that's all. The sugar is turned to vinegar - so there is no real sweetness in the vinegar unlike balsamic vinegar. You'll have to probably add some sugar to your pickles.

    As for the mustard powder- that's why I like using recipes that use mustard seed, it looks better. And for the packet of pickling spices - not a problem, it's easier. I actually buy my pickling spices from Penzey's - but everyone makes their pickling spices a little differently (some add hot peppers some don't - some use different amounts of spices, it's kind of like curry powder or five spice powder) so it all depends on what you like (I also use pickling spices when making corned beef).

  8. just commenting to say, brilliant blog, amazing garden, great sounding recipes (haven't tried any yet)

  9. As usual Finny, you're hysterical. I must refrain from commenting on Fluffy, so as to keep things family friendly LOL. And holy're doing pickles -- VERY impressive! I've also said my goodbyes to my favorite, so you must yank the poor boy from the comfort of his bed -- lest he get too woody. You want your beet to be young, tender and succulent.
    Gosh. Look what you and fluffy started. Tsk. Tsk.

  10. You've got a lovely melon! And a nice set of pickles!

    Although I gotta say, pickles made with powdered mustard? Gross. After seeing that pic, I don't think I'll ever go that route... While I haven't used a pickling spice mix YET, I see NO problem with it. So someone else did the work of mixing the herbs/spices for you - that's NOT cheating. Hello! You grew the cukes!

    Gee, I wonder if you could find a way to pickle all that nasturtium?

    I'm with you - why are pepper plants sooooo frickin' slow!?

  11. Oh! And the first year I gardened? I was all about "oooh, I've read all about how we shouldn't kill off the beneficial insects. SAVE THE INSECTS! The good ones will take care of the bad ones FOR me! Cool - my own employees!"

    And then I had all these patches of red egg clusters under the leaves of my squash and pumpkins. Look - those are my little workers just getting ready to start employment!

    And then they hatched - quirky looking, sorta cute little green (then gray) bodied little critters with black legs... They'd walk around, watch me, look nervous, and I'd just reassure them that I appreciated their pressence in my garden.

    And then they grew up.



    So like you, I'm all for squashing the little fornicaters during the throws of passion - it seems that's the easiest time to get them. Squish!

  12. I'm rather jealous of your chard forest.


[2013 update: You can't comment as an anonymous person anymore. Too many douchebags were leaving bullshit SPAM comments and my inbox was getting flooded, but if you're here to comment in a real way like a real person, go to it.]

Look at you commenting, that's fun.

So, here's the thing with commenting, unless you have an email address associated with your own profile, your comment will still post, but I won't have an email address with which to reply to you personally.

Sucks, right?

Anyway, to remedy this, I usually come back to my posts and post replies in the comment field with you.

But, if you ever want to email me directly to talk about pumpkins or shoes or what it's like to spend a good part of your day Swiffering - shoot me an email to finnyknitsATgmailDOTcom.