June 29, 2010

Bread, Butter and Beans

Well the other thing that kept us all busy this weekend was cleaning up the yard and the garden after a mammoth storm we had on Thursday. Storm doesn't even seem to be the right word for what we had in fact. The weather people are calling it a "micro burst" but let's just call a spade a spade, this thing was basically a tornado. As my neighbor said, it was five minutes of sheer terror. The kids and I were at a bouncy castle play gym (which is a whole other thing I can visit later, or not, who knew there were bouncy castle gyms?) when the storm hit. The windows of the car were down since it had been hotter than hot that day and there was NO RAIN in the forecast. Suddenly the lights went out (and with it the power keeping the bouncy castles up - there was a lot of screaming) and the windows of the place started to shake. It was seriously crazy. When it was over we drove our dripping - literally - car home past uprooted and snapped in half trees toppled onto houses. We were lucky and our ancient cherry tree, the best part of our yard, escaped with just one large limb broken, so I can't really complain, but we also lost a lot of the garden.

Saturday we set to work trying to salvage things, picking the beans from the ripped up vines, pulling off the ears of immature corn (My corn!! Wahhhh!) and digging up the onions and shallots whose stems had simply snapped off. I need to dig the potatoes tonight, I thought that the plants might make a come back but it seems they are done for as well.

The problem is that I'm not ready for food storage. Oh sure, I have a little room in the jam cupboard, but other than that I'm just not ready for it. I had planned to have a big space in the basement cleared away and set up for hanging braids of onions and jars of pickles and bags of Potatoes. And a freezer. I was going to get a freezer. That was going to be my "I used to be cool and ask for clothes but now I want a chest freezer for my birthday" request. But oh well, you gotta do what you gotta do.

So in the afternoon I made some net bags for the onions and shallots (most were stemless hence the bag instead of braided stalks, I did get a few bunches braided) which are hanging inside the basement staircase. And then I made more pickles. When I was cleaning up the garden I pulled out three more giant cucumbers and since I had no room to freeze all the beans that went down in the storm, I pickled both.

I brined the cucumbers the same way I did before, but this time I added a cup of sugar to the vinegar mix, nixed the dill and chopped up a shallot and one of the peppers from our (miraculously ok) pepper plant. The result is something like a bread and butter pickle, except spicy. In a good way. I also packed the beans into jars with some dill, garlic and another pepper and used the original vinegar solution on them, also very good, and slightly spicy.

I'm running out of room in the fridge but still haven't progressed to processing the pickles. Mostly because I've been collecting these Kilner style jars and have to wait for the new rubber rings to arrive in the mail (Amazon has everything!) before I feel like it's safe to process using them. I could just stick with jars, but these are so fun, and pretty! And since I've been picking them up at second hand stores, cheap!

Tonight - potatoes. Which means I should probably look up how to store a big pile of potatoes. I also suspect there are another couple of cucumbers ready to go. Hopefully those rings arrive quickly.