Вітаємо ! Welcome to my next post that I am calling “Summer Kitchens”.
It’s July and it’s hot outside. The sun is shining on the backyard garden that has been growing since Spring and it’s time to use up some of the great growing produce. But as I just said…it’s hot outside and the last thing I want to do is to heat up the inside of our house.
This seems like the perfect time of year for me to remember and perhaps remind you of cooking in your own little outside kitchen. Yes, I’m referring to the Summer Kitchen.
Well actually it’s not an outside kitchen at all. It is a kitchen that is not attached to our house. As I have mentioned in earlier posts, if you are not from the Prairies, you may not know what I am talking about because I have not seen them anywhere else around here. I wish that I still had pictures of our old family’s Summer kitchen.
In my recollections, my parents’ Summer kitchen was a small shed-like building that my dad had built behind our main house. The main house where we lived had its own kitchen, but when it was hot outside in July and August, and I’m referring to 28C plus temperatures, we did not want to heat up the house with hot boiling and steaming water when cooking each day. Also the Summer kitchens reduced the sometimes unpleasant smells of many foods. Sour cabbage comes to mind! The Summer kitchen provided another cooking area where the wonderful garden produce could be harvested and preserved.
Speaking of preserves, do you still preserve foods? I still do, but many of my friends and their children no longer bother or even know how, and it’s kind of a shame. I suppose it’s not a necessity as food is so much more available now a days and true, no need to “put away” fruits and vegetables. Freezing and storage of food is not as much of a concern as it was 60 years ago either. But what’s really sad is that the art of preserving is becoming lost. Many of our younger generation seems to not know how to do anything “from scratch” and seriously, I think some don’t even realize that the processed food they buy in the stores even came from a farm garden or a farm animal. But that’s a whole different topic. I digress.
Today it’s 26C and I do wish that I still had my Summer kitchen. I made Dill Pickles today and yes, the house is hotter than usual. If you are wanting to heat your house up, ha ha, maybe try out my recipe.
I’m attaching a few photos here along with my Mom’s Ukrainian Dill Pickle recipe that I used. There are many good recipes available but I prefer hers. It’s quick and easy and the dills stay crisp and crunchy. They will be ready in about ten days as well.
Mom’s Ukrainian Garlic Dill Pickles
- 12 cups water
- 4 cups white vinegar
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1 cup pickling salt (kosher works as well)
Boil for 5-8 minutes
Wash the freshly picked cucumbers and if not using right away, immerse them in ice water to preserve their crispness. When my garden does not give me an abundant harvest, I buy my cucumbers at a local farm market. Our family prefers small dills (2-3 inches long) and I choose the smallest cucumbers that I can.
Be sure you wash and sterile your jars and lids. There are many ways to sterilize jars. My preferred method is to wash them with hot sudsy water. I then add them to a large pot filled with boiling water and continue to boil them for 10-15 minutes. Be careful taking them out of the water as they will be hot, and place onto a tea towel. They are now ready to fill. If you are not ready to fill them, put them inverted into a 225F oven until you are ready to use them.
Pack the jars with fresh dill weed and peeled garlic. Use 3-4 cloves of garlic or more. There never seems to be enough garlic!
Cut off about 1/8 inch of both ends of your cucumbers and pack into your sterilized jars. Fill with the simmering brine to within a half inch of the top.
Place the sterilized lids on the jar and tighten the metal screw tops.
Set aside in a cool dark place to enjoy later during the cooler days! But if you can’t wait, they will be ready in approximately ten days.
Yields 4 quarts or around 8 pints.
Thank you for reading and enjoy the Summer heat…before we know it, it’ll be Fall!
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