Pickle and Relish Recipes.

Shawn asked for my pickle recipe that everyone raved over and Brenda wanted my relish recipe. So, here they are.

Crock Pickles
I make these in a crock and then transfer them to a gallon jar that I keep in the fridge. However, you can make them in a jar or a big pan as well.

4 Tblsp. Pickling spice
½ cup Salt
2 Tblsp. Dry mustard
½ tsp. Cayenne
½ to 1 cup sugar ( I use organic cane crystals – it just depends on how sweet you like them)
4 cloves of garlic (I did not have cloves this time, so I used 3 tsp. of minced garlic)
½ tsp. alum
1 quart plus 1 cup apple cider vinegar
2 quarts water.
1 Vidalia or sweet onion cut up
2 to 3 sprigs of dill

Put all the above in crock or jar. Add pickles until you can’t add anymore and have them be in the brine.

Cover and stir every day for 4 to 6 days. Put in jar and keep in fridge

Sweet Pickle Relish

1 quart of chopped cucumbers * See note below
2 cups of chopped Vidalia or sweet onions
2 cups chopped green bell peppers (I used one red one to add some color)
¼ cup salt
3 ½ cups sugar (I used organic cane crystals)
2 cups red wine vinegar (You can use apple cider vinegar as well)
1 Tblsp. celery seeds
1 Tblsp. Mustard seeds

*I put the cucumbers, onions and peppers through my meat grinder. They came out the perfect size and texture. It was very easy to do as well. There will be lots of liquid, that is OK as you drain it later. After you have chopped and measured the above veggies, put them all in a large bowl, sprinkle the salt over them and then cover the whole thing with cold water. Let it sit for 2 hours.

Drain it while really pressing out the liquid.

Combine the sugar, vinegar and spices in a pan and bring to a boil. Put your drained veggies in and let it simmer for 10 mins. Put it into hot jars, leaving ¼ inch head space. Water bath for 10 mins. This made just over 5 pints.

Gardens and Miracle Corn

I knew that I was going to need a few more cucumbers on Wednesday. I was down to just 5 in the house. I have made crock pickles (everyone who has tasted them raved over them and asked for the recipe), dill pickles, bread and butter pickles and pickle relish. I made the relish yesterday. So, Tuesday night we went out into the garden and the first picture shows our harvest of that night.

We have a story at our house about miracle corn. My husband planted corn in our garden in Florida. He worked just 7 mins. away so he would come home for lunch. After lunch, we would go out and walk through the garden. His corn was not coming up very well. There were maybe 3 or 4 corn plants total. He was really bummed. One day, my son and I were at Lowes. I had never seen corn plants for sale with the veggies before that day and have not seen them since that day. However, they had corn plants. We bought a bunch, ran home planted them and tried to smooth the dirt and hide the plastic trays they came in. We went out after lunch to stroll through the garden. I had to walk a few steps behind him, because I was having trouble keeping the smile off of my face. When he got out there and saw the corn, he said in a voice full of disbelief and excitement, “Marci, LOOK at the corn!!!!” I said, “Wow, you’ve got to be kidding me!!” in my best surprised voice. He turned and looked at me, then at the corn and then at me again. He then said, “You brat.” with a big grin on his face. We call it his miracle corn. Well, he has not had much luck since then in growing corn, although we have not tried it every year. This year, his corn is doing wonderful. He is so excited. The second picture shows the corn. The first planting is in the background (you can see the tassels)and the second planting is in front of it.

The next picture is of one of our Sugar Baby watermelons. They are growing really well. The next picture is of the canteloupe. It is hard to see, but there are 2 larger ones in the background and then one little fuzzy baby one just starting. The last picture is one of the pie pumpkins. It is so fun to dig around under the leaves of the garden plants looking for treasures. All three of us can get excited about finding things. Growing a garden is really a chance to see the miracles of our God and creator.

Godliness With Contentment

1Timothy 6:6 But godliness with contentment is great gain.

Wow, that verse slaps me way too often. Today was one of those days. God has abundantly blessed me with cucumbers. I am trying to be a good steward with them. I have given many away, and I have made pickles. Today I was hoping to get a couple of batches of dill pickles done and maybe some pickle relish. Well, I am on my second batch of dills, but oh my attitude really needed some adjusting.

Our house is in the throws of remodeling. This is not a quick remodel, but one that is lasting years. The next step in the process is to move our washer and dryer. Once that is accomplished, then we will set the pantry up where the washer and dryer are now. Until that happens, I have a makeshift pantry that is rather like a death trap to get into. Plus, I have things on my kitchen counters that won’t be there when I have my pantry. So, as I carefully went into the pantry for more salt, watching where I step and holding my dress up to not catch on the screws sticking out of the shelves on the floor…. My attitude started there. A few other things happened and then I had to get some grape leaves. I have learned that grape leaves put in with your pickles keep them crisp. The Plain People that live all around me taught me this trick. Well, our bush hog is in need of repair. The men have been trying, but this one bolt, will NOT come off. So, in my bare legs under my dress I have to wade through grass and weeds that are above my knees. Then I had to go around an overgrown patch of briars, make my way through a whole line of poke berry trees and then stretch out over some more briars to reach my grapevines. The only leaves with in reach are mostly eaten by the Japanese beetles. =) Oh, I felt so sorry for myself. I started with the pity party and the woe is me.

Then God whispered in my ear…. Count your blessings. Sin not with your lips or your heart. Godliness with contentment is great gain. Praise the Lord that He perseveres with me. I need to get my eyes back on the Son and keep my focus there. I love that song… Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in His wonderful face. And the things of earth will grow strangely dim. In the light of His glory and grace.

Here is the pickle recipe. It is really good.

Dill Pickles

Slice your cucumbers and put in cold water for an hour. I put a few ice cubes on top.

Make your brine:
Boil together –
3 quarts of water
1 quart of vinegar
1 cup salt

Put 1 garlic clove, 1 sprig of dill and 1 grape leaf (to keep them crisp) in each jar and then pack with the cucumber slices. Pour the brine over the pickles.

Water bath for 10 mins. Makes 7 quarts

How Bluegrass Are You?

How Bluegrass Are You?

Your Result: Ultimate Bluegrasser

You’ve been singing Flatt & Scruggs since you were in diapers. You can pick a guitar, banjo, fiddle, dobro, mandolin, and a bass (and if you can’t you should!) Your custom modified camper with the banjo shaped door handles adds a nice touch. Keep it going, Bill would be proud!

You’re Purty Bluegrass
You’re Somewhat Bluegrass
Ehhh….not Bluegrass at all
How Bluegrass Are You?

I took the quiz and the above is my results. =)

Where’s My Momma??

This was a full and busy weekend. Our son has been in Florida all week helping my Dad to get some things done around his house. Since Joshua is a jack of all trades, he asked his Papa to make a list of things that needed done and then he went down and made them right. I am thankful he has the heart to do that.

Last year, we did something we never do. When our 2 jersey cows calved, we left the calves on the Mommas. We were still getting milk, but then we got less and less and less. At that time we really were not set up to run 2 pastures of cows, so we had to keep the calves in there. This actually ended up being a blessing. When I got sick in August, my husband stayed at his parents house while I was in ICU and even a few days after that. They live 5 minutes from the hospital, instead of over an hour where we live. So, when people filled in and did our chores, they did not have to mess with milking cows. This past Friday evening, we took one of our milk cows, Molasses, to a neighbor’s angus bull. They will keep her over there for a bit until she is bred and it won’t matter as we are not milking her. Yesterday, we took our other cow to a friend that has milk cows. This cow, Buttercup, still had a little bit of milk. Her calf/heifer was still nursing some even though she turned a year in April. So, he is going to try and milk her with his cows to keep her in milk if she is. My dear, sweet, adorable husband has allowed me to try one last time for a honey colored jersey heifer calf. Buttercup is honey colored. Molasses is very dark brown although she is full jersey. I really like the lighter honey color. In fact when Molasses was born, I named her Honey. Then she turned dark, so I changed it to Molasses. =) Well, since we took Buttercup away, Sucanat (her daughter) has not quit bellowing. SHE WANTS HER MOMMA!!! Blackstrap (Molasses’s daughter) has hollered a few times, but Suki is TRUMPETING loudly. Our poor neighbors. She did it most of the night as well. She has been a bit quieter today, unless she sees a human and then she starts again. She got out of the fence twice. She was herded back in both times by my husband, our dog Star and the neighbor and 2 of his children. My husband went out about 5AM to put her back in by himself. We are all tired today. =)

The above pictures are of the sky last night. It was not raining, but the pink and salmon colors were just beautiful. The last one is of Sir Loin of Beef. He is growing up.

Friends, Pickles and Monsters =)

A dear friend came over unexpectedly yesterday to visit for a bit. She had borrowed a DVD from me and she had some things she brought to me. She is moving out of state soon and I am really going to miss her. I felt blessed to have another visit with her before she goes. She lives about an hour and a half from me, which is far enough to make visiting a treat instead of daily fare. She is one of those rare souls that can be herself. She has the sweetest chuckle. She brought me the casserole dish that you see in the picture. She knows I liked it and she gave it to me as a reminder of her. I will treasure it and think of her whenever I use it.

I finally got some pickles done yesterday. Someone used to give me bread and butter pickles a long time ago. They are the best I have ever tried. I got the recipe for them and decided to give them a try. I am told the longer they sit, the better they are. I will probably make another batch of these, once I get some more red wine vinegar. I also made one gallon of crock pickles. Oh, they are SO GOOD!! I had my friend try them yesterday. Her eyes lit up and she asked for the recipe. I had asked her the day I made them about a substitute. The recipe called for 2 cloves of garlic and I have always used 4. However, I did not have any cloves of garlic, just minced garlic. I asked 2 people and they both said between 1/4 and 1/2 of a tsp. per clove. So, I who LOVES garlic put in 3 heaping tsps. =) When I told her what I had done and that the pickles she was tasting was that recipe, she told me to change the recipe to include that. Actually, the garlic is still not a strong, strong flavor. Maybe over time it will be.

The last picture is to show what happens if you do not pick your zuchinni and yellow squash EVERY day. You get monster size yellow squash and zuchinnis that you could use for a baseball bat.

Thanks everyone for leaving your comments. I enjoy seeing who stopped to visit at my place today. =) May the Lord give you a wonderful and productive weekend!!

The Garden Loves This Weather

We have had above normal temperatures for this time. It sounds like much of the country is in the same boat. However, we have been blessed with enough rain. We are very thankful for that. The plants have gone balistic. Even the zuchinni which still has some powdery mildew is growing. We have gotten lots of zuchinni, yellow squash and cucumbers. We have also had lots of lettuce.

I went out a little bit ago to pick the cucumbers again as I am getting ready to make 2 batches of pickles. I have a HUGE salad bowl. You could probably wash a small infant in it. It was heaped up and over flowing. Man, those things grow fast. I also found 2 of the largest yellow squash I have ever seen hiding. They got too big for their hiding place. I have a friend who slices the squash and then dehydrates them. She uses them in soup or spaghetti in the winter. She said they are not all soggy, but seem to retain their texture. That is what I will be doing as well.