It’s that time of year again. All of your hard work and patience has paid off with wonderful blooms of flowers, fresh vegetables and herbs. You now have a “ farmers market” in your own backyard that is overflowing with so many vegetables. If you cannot give them away or share with friends and family, the next best thing is to preserve and can your herbs and vegetables.
It’s easy to preserve your herbs for use year-round by drying them and storing them in a cool dry and dark place! My sage, rosemary, thyme, basil and parsley are at their peak and I have begun to dry and store them. You can dry herbs in the sunlight, but I recommend an older model Popeils dryer with six drying racks (hint: you can find them on Ebay for a fraction of the cost of newer model). I have had mine for years, and it works beautifully. It’s a passive drying system, a heating coil at the bottom is what dries the herbs. It takes less than a day to dry! I make homemade tea and herb mixes. The best part is experimenting with herb combinations and the wonderful aroma that fills the house! My favorite tea mix is rosemary and sage (you can purchase environmentally friendly tea bags to fill with the herbs).
I also love growing cucumbers, all different kinds. I eat them in salad, just sliced with a bit of salt and pepper as there so many ways to enjoy them. Making pickles is also a favorite pastime of mine. I know that pickling is time consuming, so I want to give you a recipe that is fast, simple, and requires no cooking. If you like mustard, you will love these pickles! I have been making and enjoying them for years! I have seen variations of this recipe online, but I find this the quickest and easiest. So grab your apron and start pickling!
Instructions to make a quart of mustard pickles. You can adjust the recipe to make more or less.
Fill one Ball Quart jar with pickles. Use cucumbers 3-5 inches long.
Add 4 tablespoons of Sugar
2 Tablespoons of pickling salt.( This is the best salt to use, you can find the salt at your local Ace hardware store)
2 Tablespoons of Dry Mustard
Fill the jar with white vinegar leaving about a ¼ inch of space on top. Just seal the jar, and shake it up a bit to dissolve the ingredients. You’re done! Place the pickles in a cool dry place, like your pantry closet, and in 6 weeks the pickles will be ready to enjoy! ( I put a label on the jar with the date so I know when each jar is ready to go!) Once you open the jar don’t forget to refrigerate!! I eat them just like that out of the jar. Another favorite way to eat them is to chop them up and add to tuna salad. Use your imagination!