At this time of year, planning for pickles looks like making a very big garden. Despite our late bouts of colder weather, and the seemingly-endless rain, I have rows of beans and cukes sown (and up!), a couple zucchini plants, about 18 peppers and 27 tomatoes planted, as well as kale and pearl onions started in trays on the back porch. This week I will be sowing more cukes, and next week more beans.
In many ways, we’re more of a homestead than a farm. We aim to grow and preserve most of the veggies (and some of the meat) we eat through the winter. I don’t pickle kale (ew?!) or tomatoes, and I don’t plan on selling frozen vegetables anytime soon. The beans are as much for our freezer (and my own dilly bean habit!) as they are for pickling. The cukes, though, are really just for your enjoyment as pickles.
This year I will also grow cauliflower, a little broccoli, some carrots, and some peas. From our wonderful neighbors, John and Lynn at Spruce Lane farm we’ll receive the excess cukes and cauliflower that I need for pickling, and maybe some cabbage to make sauerkraut, as well as corn, eggplant, and possibly some potatoes and onions for our own uses. We call John “the produce fairy” during the summer—he just makes veggies appear on the doorstep!
This season I plan to make most of the same pickle varieties as last year, as well as sneaking in some additions. You can look forward to an Italian-style mixed veggie pickle, curried pickled cauliflower, English-style pickled onions if the pearl onions produce well, and at least one type of cucumber-based relish. I also may do some spicy pickles for the heat-loving crowd. Stay tuned for updates!