summertime eats

Well, I’m knitting lots, but it isn’t very exciting to look at – mostly working on my cabled scarf (so close to the end!) and I’ve restarted that little shrug too. Really I’m just itching to cast on for some new fall sweater projects, but I really need to get a few things done first!

So today I have a little bit of food to share, instead.


I brought home rather a LOT of pickling cucumbers from the produce stores near my work yesterday, and today set about making some refrigerator pickles. No water processing required, no fear of bad canning, and they stay so very crispy, which I love!

I made one huge vat of cucumber garlic dills – it’s 1.8L/2qt! The slightly smaller jar in the back is beans, done up with basically the same spices and brine. They were yellow, green, and purple to start with, but unfortunately now they’re all kind of greeny grey. Oh well, they’ll still taste awesome.

Super Easy Garlic Dills

Whatever you like. I did sliced kirby cucumbers and trimmed green beans, I’m sure this would be great with carrots, cauliflower, radishes, whatever! I’m not sure how many cucumbers I used – probably about 10 small ones for the 1.8L jar.

4 cups / 1L water
4 cups / 1L white vinegar
6tbsp pickling salt

garlic, peeled
dill seed
red pepper flakes
black peppercorns
celery seed
fresh dill

Mix together water, vinegar and salt in a largeish pot and heat on the stove to a simmer. While it’s heating, prep your veggies and add seasonings to your jars.

For the 1.8L jar of cucumbers, I used: 4 cloves garlic, 4 tsp dill seed, a dash each of celery seed and red pepper flakes, 3 stalks fresh dill and a few whole black peppercorns.

Pack the veggies tightly into the jars leaving some room at the top (1/2″-1″, not as important as when processing because we’re just sticking these in the fridge). Slowly add brine to cover. Let the jars cool on the counter, then stick them in the fridge. That’s it! They’ll begin to taste pickled after just a few hours, but it’s best to wait at least a few days.

for scale

Wow, that’s a giant jar of pickles!

I also managed to find Ontario strawberries at the big chain supermarket, which I was pretty surprised by – I picked up three containers and made jam with half (I might get more tomorrow or soon and make more or ice cream!). I prefer freezer jam because it uses much less sugar, and has that just-picked-fruit taste that you just don’t get with cooked jam.

strawberry freezer jam

I just followed the recipe on the gelling agent packet and it came out perfectly. I’ll definitely have to make at least 1 more batch of freezer jam soon, maybe wild blueberry!

What are you doing with this summer’s awesome produce?



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16 responses to “summertime eats”

  1. BlondiKnits Avatar

    Oh, Laura, your post reminded me of my son’s first year doing food preservation for a 4-H project. We do “interview judging” in our county, so the 4-H’er sits down with the judge and talks about the project. Justin had made pickled asparagus, and the judge asked “How do you plan to use this product?” He said, “Well, my Aunt Julia uses them for stir sticks in Bloody Marys.” He got the blue ribbon!

  2. Melly Avatar

    I didn’t know freezer jam uses less sugar. That makes me want to try it. I’ve put off canning since I don’t have the right supplies at the moment.

  3. Maryse Avatar

    Summer is going by so fast! I barely have time to knit! I’d cook such yummy receipes only in my dreams!

  4. Rose Avatar

    Looks great! Hopefully this will inspire me..

  5. Elizabeth Marsh Avatar
    Elizabeth Marsh

    Hey Laura, where did you get the giant pickle jars? I’m on a crazy beet bender and have been contemplating pickled beets.

  6. Kathy Avatar

    Isn’t freezer jam the very best! The flavor is marvelous. I even use it on top of cheesecakes!

  7. julia Avatar

    I hope the heat breaks long enough for me to entertain the thought of canning this year. Those are some good lookin’ pickles!

  8. Deb Avatar

    Okay, I vaguely remember Mom making freezer jam (as in vaguely remember the process, can never forget the wonderful taste!) I am such a novice in the kitchen, can you tell me “What is the gelling agent?” and where in the store do I look for it?

  9. cosmicpluto Avatar

    Elizabeth – I got them from trusty Ikea.

    Deb – I found it in the grocery store right with the other spices and such, where you would look for pectin. It just says “No Cook Freezer Jam Gelling Powder”. The one I bought is by Club House, which is a Canadian brand, but take a look in that section and you should be able to find something!

  10. BC Avatar

    The cucumbers and the pickles both look delicious

  11. Beverly Avatar

    So far I’ve made strawb freezer jam and froze 2-cup baggies of blueberries for muffins and pancakes over the winter. I hope to make blueberry jam, too, and a friend who is also a home ec teacher suggested running the blueberries through the food processor rather than doing a more traditional mash…last time I made blueberry jam, it came out gummy, and she said it is probably from the skins not being broken up enough. HTH as you make jam!

  12. Seanna Lea Avatar

    I am eating most of the fruit out of hand, but I’m also making syrups for homemade sodas. Last night was a raspberry lime syrup (same basic recipe as the granita I made) and strawberry syrup. I cannot wait until my show is over and I can do more cooking!

  13. knittingoutloud Avatar

    You have inspired me to try freezer jam with our raspberries!

  14. Kiersten Avatar

    Thanks for posting this dill recipe, Laura. I tried it today with some cukes from our garden, and I’m looking forward to tasting them in a few days!

  15. […] true.  This weekend I branched out to try another refrigerator pickle recipe, this time a dill. This blog post was what finally pushed me over the edge to try […]

  16. Stephania Avatar

    I’m totally making those pickles. I went to the farmers market and picked up cucumber dills and dill. I’ve already got garlic from my CSA and I’m really excited about the pickles. I have to buy more white vinegar, because all mine is dedicated to dyeing yarn…

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