Year-Round Garden Goodies


As summer comes to a close and we move into the best season of the year (hello pumpkins, falling leaves and Halloween), I wanted to do a quick recap of our garden output this year, and give you my recipe for the best pickles of all time. Seriously, you need to make them.

We dug into the kale a few weeks ago when we had friends visiting, one of which proclaimed our kale to be the “Best. Kale. Ever.” This is a man who ate a fistful of raw kale, nothing added. Clearly, he is an expert if he’s going to eat a handful of kale cut straight from the garden. I won’t argue with that.

Those who’ve known us for years know that we’ve been growing our own goods for the last 7 summers. We’ve definitely had our ups and downs with the garden – some of you may remember the summer of 238 cucumbers – but we’ve definitely grown to love our annual homegrown harvest. We’ve expanded our garden each year, and my mom has taught me the art of canning, so now we can preserve the goodness of summer’s tastes well into the cold, long winter. We’ve become pros at canning tomatoes, salsa and pickles. There is nothing better than homegrown tomatoes in our winter chili, summer fresh salsa verde on taco night or spicy dill pickles on our burgers.

Needless to say, as our garden has grown, so has our canned goods pantry stash.  🙂

Last year, we discovered and perfected our pickle recipe to make the Best. Pickles. Ever. These can be made as refrigerator pickles for those who don’t have all the canning gear, or you can can them and eat them all year long! You should make these, you won’t be disappointed.

Homemade Spicy Dill Pickles
6 cups water
2 cups white vinegar
1/3 cup salt
Fresh dill
Garlic cloves, peeled
Onion, chopped
Hot peppers, chopped (we use a blend of jalapeños and cayenne peppers)

  1. Put cucumbers in an ice bath for about 1 hour before making pickles. If canning, clean your jars and put them in a 150 degree oven to stay warm. If making refrigerator pickles, just clean your containers.
  2. Make the brine by boiling water, vinegar and salt until salt is dissolved.
  3. Slice cucumbers into discs (that’s how we prefer our pickles, but spears would work too).
  4. Load cucumbers, dill, onion, garlic and peppers into your jar. No rhyme or reason, just layer them in as you see fit.
  5. Pour brine over pickles until the liquid completely covers everything in the jar.
  6. Process them in a water bath if canning, or put them in the fridge for a few days before eating if making refrigerator pickles.
  7. Eat them up!

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