Kitchen Garden

Processing Cucumbers and Other Things

Refrigerator Pickles
Refrigerator Pickles

LAKE MACBRIDE— The dawn dew barely moistened my shoes while venturing to the garden to water the plants. Much needed rain failed to precipitate last night, and without daily irrigation, the produce yield would be reduced. The lettuce seedlings planted last week are surviving with twice a day watering. The morning shade of the locust trees protects them from the parching effect of the sun. The forecast is for zero chance of rain before noon.

Last night I made two quarts of deli-style refrigerator pickles. The brine is the same as the one processing cucumbers in the crock, just that in the refrigerator they will be ready in four or five days. There are more cucumbers on the vine, and one kept fresh for salads. The flow of cucumbers through the kitchen has been about right.

The ice-box is packed and filling with food. I added a couple of more packages of grated zucchini to the freezer drawer and today’s plan is to make pesto to freeze. Produce rotation and preserving to prevent spoilage has become a thing around our household.

I decided to take down the advertising calendar on the bulletin board in the garage and replace it with photos. I spent an hour sorting through digital photos on my computer and ordered prints from Walgreens online. They were ready for pickup across the lakes in about an hour.

After making the pickup, I spent another hour selecting prints to post, and processing memories of our life since we became empty nesters. Better to be reminded of our family life than the days on a calendar. If one has children, it is a blessing to know them at all. Reflecting on who they have become is a luxury as good as gold.

No pickling brine will stop death’s inevitable advance.  As long as we can process— cucumbers, zucchini and basil, photographs and memories— we can go on living. As Walt Whitman wrote, “and as to you death, and you bitter hug of mortality . . .  it is idle to try to alarm me.” Fearless we enter the day, endeavoring to accomplish something with our lives.