Was at the James Bay Market last weekend and noticed some great looking pickling cucumbers available at the Saanich Organics booth. I’ve never done a cucumber fermentation project, but I know people that have, and it doesn’t sounds all that difficult!
I decided to take a first crack at this project, so picked up some more pickling cukes while at the JB Market this morning, and headed home to begin the adventure.
We had all the supplies and ingredients on hand at home, which included:
mason jars / lids
coarse Kosher salt
carrots / tea bags
We also had a copy of The Art of Fermentation, by Sandor Ellix Katz on the kitchen bookshelf, a great reference to learn about fermenting all sorts of things!
Justine and Robin got pretty stoked about the cuke action so pitched in to clean the jars, peel the garlic, and surface fermenting advice from our reference material!
Justine had past experience with making yogurt at home, so learned to clean the jars by baking them in the oven for a short time.
Robin has experience with fermenting kombucha, kimchi, cucumbers, etc. so had the wise eyes to help the newbs in the kitchen today! She surfaced a tip from the book about keeping your cukes crisp while under fermentation by adding grape leaves, oak leaves, a carrot, or a tea bag. We decided to include carrot slices in all the jars, and a tea bag in another.
I prepped for the fermentation by:
gently scrubbing the cukes
soaking them in an ice-water bath
prepping a 5% brine by mixing 3 tbsp. coarse salt in with 1 litre water. We needed just over 2 litres for the 58 cukes that we had to ferment today
rinsing the dillweed, and peeling the bulbs of garlic
After the jars were clean, we stuffed them with 5-8 cukes, a few bulbs of garlic, some dillweed sprigs, and a carrot stick. Topped with the brine, and then put the lids on, not too tight. Apparently we’ll be releasing the buildup of CO2 gas over the next little while, as we observe the fermentation activity unfold.
We ended up getting 9 Mason jars loaded with our cucumbers. Let the fermentation begin!
Ok, so here is what I have been up to on the last few days off, poking around the house…
The back corner of our lot attracts a lot of growth over the fall and winter. We picked up a lot of buttercup and comfrey this time. I got rid of the buttercup, and kept the comfrey for a soil enhancer, as it aggregates nutrients.
Check out all the sun streaming down into that section of the yard. This calls for a new project to spin its way up!
We lucked into some veggie starts from the good folks at the growing-together project, so sourced some dirt, and threw them into large pots for them to begin their growing season with us!
Raised garden planter bed
Decided to embark on a project to build a raised planter bed for that space in the back corner of the lot. I went onto the YouTubes, and found some great resources to learn from, including:
Oh yah – 4’x10′ and about 2′ tall. Had my neighbour deliver 2 yards of Garden Blend Soil from Victoria Sand & Gravel Mart, and filled the bed. Should be great for growing veggies back there!
We actually have a nice brick patio somewhere under all the weeds. A couple of seasons (or more?) of grass and weeds have gotten into all the cracks!
I got a trowel and a hoe out to do some scraping, and actually found that the grass was easy to pull off in large sheets. A project that I thought would take several days of effort was actually quite easy! What a reveal!
International Donut Day
Friday, June 5 was the big day, so me and the kids hopped onto bikes, and headed over to Empire Donuts in Cook Street Village to grab a box of donuts. We went back over to Beacon Hill Park to enjoy our bounty under cloudy skies next to the baseball park.
I tried out a new cinnamon bun recipe authored by the folks down at the Model Bakery in Napa Valley. The dough chilled in the fridge before rolling, proofing, and baking.
The recipe calls for cream cheese icing, but without any cream cheese on hand, and not wanting to try a “quick” dash to the store, we had them plain – they were quite lovely!
Small home demolition
The neighbours are embarking on some property development this season. The demolition of the old cottage took place last week, so that provided some interesting activity to keep an eye on. The cottage itself is squeezed in between our home, and the multiplex next door. The fellow operating the excavator, from Dr. Hoe, used a steady hand to tear down the home over about 6 hours, with no damage to neighbouring properties.
Father’s Day came and went this past June. I think we were at a swim meet with the kids. I was thinking of my Dad, of course. Although he passed on in 2008, I continue to dream about him frequently. We’re often working at the store together, up in Duncan.
I decided to re-publish one of my favourite blog posts, in my Dad’s honour. It’s called last day at Reggie’s.