I woke up yesterday with nothing on my to do list. Our new family daily schedule has been working perfectly, so we didn't have any chores to do yesterday...no laundry, no dishes, no cleaning whatsoever. I hadn't planned on getting up early because I played a 9:30 softball game on Friday night, but I really needed to visit the Garlic Lady at the local farmer's market, and if you want the good stuff, you gotta get there early. So, 7:30 yesterday morning, we loaded up the kids and went to the Cherry Street Farmer's Market. This is one of our favorite things to do as a family. Beau loves picking out green beans, while Luke carries our bag until it gets too heavy. Jackson usually rides on Clint's shoulders and checks everything out. While we were there, we picked up the garlic, of course, a special Polish variety that is supposed to retain spicy flavor, as well as some sweet basil for a pesto sauce I have been wanting to try, green beans for Beau, some okra, a couple of dill plants, and we hit the motherload in cucumbers.
After we left the farmer's market, we had to get some breakfast. What better place than Daylight Donuts! We had a yummy meal of donuts and sausage rolls, and enjoyed eating together as a family!
When we got home, we turned on the Olympics and started the pickle making process! We went to our garden and picked some Jalapenos that were just ripe for the picking. This has been our first year trying to grow things, and it hasn't been particularly successful, but we have had fun trying!
Here is my pickle recipe, courtesy of Aunt Jan!
8 pounds pickling cucumbers
4 cups vinegar
12 cups water
1/2 cup pickling salt
Add vinegar, water and salt to a large pan. Bring to a boil. Depending on how many cucumbers you have, you may need to make more brine.
16 garlic cloves
8 jalapenos, cut in half (16 halves)
16 sprigs of dill weed (you may have to add more or less garlic, jalapenos, and dill...there is supposed to be 1 garlic clove, 1 half of a jalapeno and 1 sprig of dill in each jar)
Next we washed all of the vegetables, getting them prepped for the pickling process.
Then we made the brine, first adding the pickling salt to the water and then the vinegar.
While the brine boiled, we filled the jars, each with a pod of garlic, a head of dill, half of a jalapeno, and the cucumbers. Once the liquid boiled, we poured it into the jars and got them ready for canning.
Six minutes in the pressure cooker, and then....
Cucumbers, Before Processing and After
We ended up with over 20 jars of pickles, okra, and a jar of jalapenos that I didn't want to waste. In all, it was a productive day.
With all of the pickling going on, Clint and I ate a late lunch and didn't feel like eating dinner when the kids were hungry. After they went to bed, we fixed a special dinner for just the two of us, grilling some chicken (in the rain...thanks, honey!) that had marinated a good part of the day, along with some sauteed marinated mushrooms and a 3-bean pesto salad (ala Rachael Ray) using the sweet basil we had purchased at the farmers market earlier and some mint that is growing in our front flower bed thanks to our friendly neighbor, Habib. It was a very romantic dinner, capped off by watching a good movie together. It felt like a mini-date night!
Hopefully we'll be able to stay caught up with our new family daily schedule, and we can have more weekends just like it!