The green beans, cucumbers, zucchini, and yellow squash are rolling in with no sign of letting up any time soon. In fact, this is just the beginning! As much as I love garden fresh produce, I tire of the more prolific veggies before the end of the season. I hate to waste them, yet have trouble managing them. This year, I vowed to use as much of my produce as possible.
Since it’s impossible to eat every fresh green bean, cucumber, or zucchini I harvest, I’ve decided to preserve some of my precious produce by freezing and canning. I started with the green beans and froze a few quart bags. I also made a jar of pickled refrigerator dill beans. I made a simple brine using white vinegar, sugar, garlic, peppercorns, and fresh dill from the garden.
Next, I tackled the cucumbers, zucchini and yellow squash. I didn’t have enough to warrant dragging out the canning paraphernalia, so I made three quarts of pickled refrigerator pickles and squash (zucchini and yellow). I used Ball pickling mix, though you can create your own, of course. It was easier to use the mix given the small quantity.
You know what’s great about refrigerator pickles? Since they won’t be stored long term, they don’t require official canning jars and lids. I did use one canning jar because I happened to have it. I used empty spaghetti jars for the other two. Reuse whenever possible! The other advantage of pickled refrigerator produce is that you can enjoy it a lot sooner than its canned counterparts. Refrigerator pickles are ready in about 4 days, though three weeks is ideal. If you can wait that long, good for you! I confess to trying mine after day one.
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