Pickle Crisp?

Warning: The purpose of this post is to vent! I need to get something off my chest and you probably don’t want to read about it. Final warning, turn back now!

Still with me? Okay, thanks.

I have gotten 38 cucumbers in the past two weeks. We’ve put some in sour cream (one of his favorites), I’ve eaten some whole, and we’ve given them to family and friends, but we’re keeping the remainder, as one of the reasons we planted them was to make our very own pickles. I’ve never done it before, but I’ve Paula Deen’s recipe for bread & butter pickles and it seems simple enoughé

His mother lent/gave (I really should clarify that!) me 12 quart canning jars and lids, so I’m set that way and at the store on Thursday, I picked up the other things I need. Spices? Check. Pickling salt? Check. Vinegar? Check? Pickle crisp granules? No, not at that store.

No problem, I had to stop by Lowes the following morning for batteries anyway. Oh wait, problem, they don’t have their canning stuff in stock yet. ‘It’s too early.’ Really, that’s funny, because I’m pretty sure we’re well in to the spring harvest season…

Alright, I’ll just hit another grocery store, no luck there either. At this point, I thought it wise to head home and do some research, looking up every place I could think so and calling them to see if they had pickle crisp in stock. Every hardware store, grocery store and speciality cooking store in the area proved no help, they had Ball Pickle Mixes, which have the granules I need in them, but I really wanted to do things from scratch, this would be like making a cake from a box! I even called Ball and checked their website of retailers, but still nothing!!

Throughly frustrated, I called my finacè and said that it seemed the only place one could purchase pickle crisp was off the internet, but it get it here by Saturday would be nearly $32! We decided to order some, but we’re going to put off the pickles till next week, as we’re sure we’ll still be swimming in cucumbers then, and  let it take it’s time getting here.

I had no idea this would get so complicated and frustrating, I hate it when I can’t find what I’m shopping for! Have you ever had that problem? Can pickle crisp be found in a store near you?

Anyway, since I was all pumped to make something this weekend, we’re going to try basil jelly, stay tuned!

And the Wait Begins….

This post  is about posts to come. We managed to plant our garden on Sunday. It had been a weekend project as we spent an entire evening shopping for plants, then another erecting a fence to keep the hungry neighborhood groundhogs and bunnies out then still a third finally planting the plants.

I use the “square foot” method of gardening and have 74 squares this year, into which I managed to fit 2 zucchini plants, 2 cauliflowers, 4 sweet 100 cherry tomatoes, 1 sun sugar cherry tomato plant (a gift from his mother), 4 beefmaster tomatoes, 4 cucumbers, 4 eggplant plants, 4 sweet red peppers, 3 squares of Texas sweet onions, as well as lemon thyme, dill, fennel, and parsley.

Yesterday, I potted some chives, another 2 cauliflowers, the remaining fennel, and peppermint. We already had potted our sweet basil (and it is doing very well). He’d bought some seeds on Sunday and so I’ve got opal basil, cilantro, sage, and tarragon in pots on the kitchen sink window sill, they should sprout in about two weeks.

There’s still discussion of tilling a bit more ground to plant some beets, get some of the herbs out of pots and … who knows? We also have strawberry, winter squash and watermelon seeds.

Anyway, what this all amounts to is that, in 2-3 months, we will be making all sorts of things with the “fruits” from our garden. Some of what we’re looking forward to includes gremolata, fried green tomatoes, roasted/grilled cauliflower, ratatoullie, fennel salad, so stay tuned. We can’t wait for the produce to start rolling in and share our favorite findings with you!