Thursday, July 02, 2009

of garden stuff, pickles, and squash bugs

The garden continues to produce. I'm going to have to start taking a container out with me when I pick the grape tomatoes; up to now I've simply brought in a handful at a time.

There are still plenty of beets. I brought these in to boil for Harvard beets.

I planted bush cucumbers, which aren't suitable for pickling.

However, when I went to Cliff and Rena's garden, I found all these, almost a milk bucket full!

I've never been much for pickles, but I think I'm in the mood to try my mom's favorite fourteen-day sweet pickle recipe. My sister tells me they're also known as "Iowa Sweet Pickles". Here's the recipe, word for word as my mom wrote it down:


Wash peck (two gallons) nice size cucumbers. Leave them whole. Put in stone jar or enameled pan. Put 1 1/2 cups pickling salt over them and cover with boiling water. Weight down and let set for 7 or 8 days. Drain off salt water. Wash cucumbers in cold water. Split each one and pack into stone jar or enameled pan and cover with 1 gallon of boiling water with 1 tablespoon of alum. Weight down. Next day drain and ad new alum water. Do this 4 days and next day drain off and mix:

10 cups sugar
5 cups vinegar
18 drops cinnamon oil
18 drops clove oil
2 tablespoons celery seed tied in loose mesh bag.

Bring all to a boil. Pour over the split pickles. Weight down. Each morning for 3 mornings drain the pickle syrup off and bring to a boil and pour back on split pickles. Third morning while syrup heats, pack cucumbers in jars. Cover with the heated syrup and put in cold pack canner. Cover with warm water and bring to a boil for 10 minutes for assurance of good seal.

You have to buy the cinnamon oil and clove oil at a pharmacy. My sister tells me it's very expensive.

I've been hearing people rave about my mom's sweet pickles all my life, so I think I should try making them at least one time.

There's some bad news in Cliff's garden: squash bugs are killing the zucchini plants, in spite of the fact we've been spraying. If things go as they have in the past, once the zucchini vines are dead, the bugs will move on to the cucumbers. This is why I totally gave up vine crops for years. There must be something more effective than Sevin, because commercial growers have no problem raising big crops of squash. I just wish I knew their secret.

My butternut squash vines are looking so good, and are loaded with tiny squash. Now I'll be holding my breath, waiting to see if the squash bugs kill them.

I'll have to buy some alum when I grocery shop. Thinking of alum reminds me that when I was a kid and got a sore on my tongue (swollen taste buds is what my mother called them), I'd put some alum on the sore spot and it seemed to help.

Grandma always said if you got sores on your tongue, it was because you had been peeing in the middle of the road!


m.v. said...

I don't like vinegar sweet pickles, I always make mine half-sour. There is a recipe somewhere on the blog. they are similar (but better) to the pickles you find in the refrigerated isle at the store.

madcobug said...

Great looking veggies.I have always heard those bumps on your tongue were lie bumps. Helen