A Good Year for Cucumbers and Other Rural Trivia

an explosion of cucumbers 

Of course, we'll be canning pickles over the next few weeks.  Since I don't have my canning jars yet, I decided to make some refrigerator dill pickles today, utilizing some saved spaghetti sauce jars.  I'll let you know how they taste after they "cure" for the required 10 days, but in the meantime, here's the standard recipe from Allrecipes.com with my variations noted.

Spicy Refrigerator Dill Pickles
(12) 3-4" long pickling cucumbers
2 cups water
1-3/4 cups white vinegar
1-1/2 cups chopped fresh dill weed
1/2 cup white sugar
8 cloves garlic, chopped
1-1/2 tbls. coarse salt
1 tbls pickling spice
1-1/2 tsp dill seed
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, or to taste
4 sprigs fresh dill weed

My variations:
I used (6) 6" long tendergreen burpless variety cucumbers.  Since my dill plants were decimated by the swallowtail butterfly caterpillars (see pics here), I no longer have any fresh dill; yes, I allowed them to stay and I was rewarded the other day when I saw a black swallowtail butterfly!  I used the 5 tsp of dill weed I had in the pantry, plus I salvaged dill seeds (1 tbls.) from my dried up dill plants.  I reduced the 1/2 cup sugar to 1 tablespoon, as I personally do not care for sweet pickles. I used sea salt and I made my own pickling spice (recipe below).  We had two small jalapeno peppers in the garden, so I chopped those up in lieu of dried red pepper flakes.

If you decide to visit Allrecipes.com and read the reviews, you'll find you can alter this recipe according to your tastes, and it will turn out just fine.  I'm excited for the 10 days to fly by so we can taste these.

1. In a large bowl, combine the cucumbers (I did a combination of spears and slices), water, vinegar, chopped dill, sugar, garlic, salt, pickling spice, dill seed and red pepper flakes.  Stir, and let stand at room temperature for 2 hours, until the sugar and salt dissolve.

2.  Remove the cucumbers to three 1-1/2 pint wide mouth jars, placing 4 cucumbers into each jar.  Ladle in the liquid from the bowl to cover.  Place a sprig of fresh dill into each jar, and seal with lids.  Refrigerate for 10 days before eating.  Use within 1 month.

My yield: Two quarts of spears, and one quart of slices.

Pickling Spice
1 crumbled bay leaf
1 tsp coarse black pepper
1/4 tsp mustard powder
1 tsp coriander seeds
dash turmeric (I didn't have any)
dash cinnamon
Makes approximately 1 tablespoon of spice.

Or to save money, buy your pickling spice in bulk from Monterey Bay Spice Co.  I get quite a few of my spices from them, since spices are so durned expensive in those little tiny bottles at the grocery store!!  Here's a link to their pickling spice, which is made without salt, and while you're there, browse around the other spices and teas. I think I'm going to get some of their pickling spice and their dill weed too.

So, what else are we going to do with all our cucumbers, you ask?  Wellllll, hubby wants to make the Christmas Red Pickles that his mom used to make, so he'll be starting that process on Sunday (it's rather time-consuming).  I found his mom's recipe at Allrecipes.com also... the exact same recipe!

Also this weekend, I'll be making one of my favorite summertime treats, Dilled Cucumbers.  Chilled with sliced cucumbers, sour cream and green onions, it's absolutely divine for a cookout.  I'll post pics and the recipe after I make it on Sunday, along with pics of hubby's red pickles.

Of course, we'll both be taking some cucumbers to work for our fellow employees to enjoy.  :-)

Garden Bounty: the last of the radishes, one tomato, 
a jalapeno pepper, and some cukes!

Here's some additional photos of note
around the ole ranch in the last week or so...

 A gathering storm...

the resulting rainbow...

a black-eyed susan (my namesake)...

our neighboring longhorn...

and another gathering storm at sunset while I'm at work.

And click here to see how adorable my little
granddaughter Leah is at 1 month old!!


  1. Oh, my. Enjoyed this visit. The cows, the clouds, the beautiful jars. I've actually had quite a few tomatoes this year, in spite of myself. My cucumbers were tossed out with the weeds when my son took on that task for me. It was okay. The weeding done.

  2. Nice pictures. Your cucumbers look so healthy.

  3. Hahaha, I'm sorry, just laughing because pickling cucumbers (or any other vegetables) is such a 'good housekeeping-thing'. And I would love to do things like that (or baking my own cookies), but I'm sort of daunted by the whole thing. What makes me laugh is that on the other hand, I always make my own spaghetti sauce ;-) So, I'm not such a bad 'good housekeeper' after all, haha.
    Great photos and I'm dying to know how the cucumbers turn out.

  4. They sure look good. My garden is still a week away from producing most of the veggies. Let us know how the pickles are.

  5. We've got several tomatoes, but they end up going bad, because I'm the only one in my house who will eat raw tomatoes.

    Our cucumber plants didn't make it.

  6. Our cucumbers are not doing good this year, we had a crazy amount of rain...a midwest monsoon...that just beat up on our garden.

  7. Not sure what was going on with Blogger when I did this post, but I had several readers email me and tell me they couldn't leave a comment. Cindy of Write Up My Alley left the above comment in my email, for me to paste here, and so I have! :)