How to make pickles

WP_000343 When my first cucumber started to rot in the vine when I was waiting for it to mature, I realized that I grew the smaller variety of which grows 6-8 inch cucumbers which are perfect for pickling to enjoy a nice nutritional snack.  Having a few nice specimens on the vine this afternoon I decided to make myself a few pickles. Step 1: Clean the pickles.  One of the surprises when I picked my first cucumber a few years back was the little spikes they have on them…you don’t see any of those by the time they make it to you in the grocery store.  I quick bit of brushing of your hand should get these off.  Finish this off with a quick wash in the sink and you should have a few clean almost pickles. WP_000339 Step 2: Cut the Pickles.  If you have a small variety like mine you can get away with simply quartering (or cutting in sixths if you have an extra girthy one).  For full size cucumbers you will probably need to cut it into two pieces and cut each half into sixths or eighths depending on how large of spears you desire. WP_000340 Step 3: Brine the Pickles.  There are many good recipes for brines out there.  Here is my favorite that provides a good balance of sweet/salty/spicy as well as some extra components to have a nice balanced flavor profile.  Simply add the ingredients to a 1 quart mason jar, give it a little shake, then add your cucumbers.  Secure the lid of the jar and give the jar another shake and place in your refrigerator.

My Pickle Brine

  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup water (or enough to cover the pickles)
  • 3 T sugar (artificial sweetener works here)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp dill
  • 1/4 tsp pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp coriander
  • 1/4 tsp mustard seed
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

Step 4: Wait. This can be the hardest part, you need to wait at least 3 days for your pickles to brine, possible a couple of days more if you needed to add much more than 1 cup of water to cover your cucumbers. As more cucumbers come in you can simply add them to the jar and have a non-stop supply of incoming snacks…at least until the end of summer. For something a little more traditional you can also try the following:

Alton Brown’s Dill Pickle Brine

  • 5 1/2 ounces pickling salt, approximately 1/2 cup
  • 1 gallon filtered water
  • 3 pounds pickling cucumbers, 4 to 6-inches long
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon dill seed
  • 1 large bunch dill

Directions: Same process as above though probably going to have to wait 6-7 days before your pickles are ready and are good for about 2 months.

How to make a solar food dehydrator

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If you’re growing your own fruit and vegetables, or just trying to eat the things that are produced locally, you come across one obvious problem: when something’s in season, you have more than you can handle, and then there’s nothing for the rest of the year. So the obvious solution is to preserve your food when you have it in abundance. Dehydration is an excellent preservation technique that’s easy to do and that maintains a lot more of the original nutrients than canning or freezing.

Wanting to get the benefits of dehydrating excess fruits but without the expense of purchasing nor the costs of electricity of powering the thing.  The author had the great idea of building a solar powered dehydrator.  Check the link for full build instructions…

Via Instructables via HackADay

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