Finally…..it feels like spring!!!!!!!! HOOOORAY!!!!! My chore list for outside is a mile long but I am putting my vegetable garden first.

I had started seeds inside this year and will confess that it was a complete fail. My yield was in the single digits. Sigh. I don’t know if I planted the seeds too early, if it was too cold or maybe they just didn’t get enough tender loving care. Any which way, they are dead. DEAD AS A DOORNAIL!!!!!!!

I think I ended up with more dirt in the dustpan than in my garden! I was pretty upset at first but that is just how it “grows.” (Or in this case….doesn’t grow.)

The other bummer was that my backup garden shop went out of business! This was an enormous disappointment because this particular nursery is where my mom and I like to go together.  (Apparently there is no business like grow business….It is bad pun Saturday…sorry.)

I wasn’t going let any of this stop me from my garden so the other day I went scouting for new places to buy plants. The weather was perfect for turning up the radio, opening the car window and seeing where the Indiana two land highways would take me.  Okay, I am not that daring…..I had a plan where to go.   (But I felt a bit dangerous as I chewed bubble gum with my hair flying in the wind.)

I started singing at the top of my lungs as the Billy Ocean song “Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car.” I dorked out and sang it about vegetables getting out of my fridge and into my jar. Given I was by myself, I thought I was being incredibly witty and laughed at my genius. Please note that I am not sharing the lyrics because it really made no sense and I think Billy Ocean deserves more respect. (Are you now saying to yourself “Why Barb, that has never stopped you before?)

So as I was singing, it made me think about the abundance of vegetables that I’d have in my little hands in a few months once my garden started being productive. I usually am really good about using everything up but every now and then a week gets busy and goods don’t get used up. If we can’t eat it, I can it. (I share a little too but am a bit of a garden hoarder.)

One of my favorite things to make is a quick jar of Giardiniera (Vinegar pickled vegetables). The nice thing about Giardiniera is that it can be used on sandwiches, salads, cheese platter or just by itself! It is really versatile. (Versatile is good when you are trying to use up food in your house and make up lyrics.)

If you’ve never made quick “pickles”, they are pretty easy. You cut up your veggies, make a brine, heat up, cool down and refrigerate.    The two biggest keys are to make it in nonreactive cookware (and nonreactive utensils) and make sure your container is prewamred before you dump hot liquid in it. (I have a big glass container that is TEMPERED so it doesn’t crack when I add hot liquids to it.)

Trust me….you’ll be singing a different tune next time next time you need to use up some veggies or you might want to sing….

“Get outta my fridge

Get in to my jar

Get outta my fridge

Get in to the hot brine baby

Get in to my jar

Neat neat, yeah

Get outta my mind

Get in to my life

Ooooooh

Oh I said hey (Hey) you (You)

Get in to my jar”

YOU ARE WELCOME! (I know some of you really wanted to know what I was singing….except Billy Ocean…he now hates me.)

Produce Drawer Pickles
 
A quick pickle to use up the veggies in your drawer (think celery, carrots, peppers, cauliflower, cucumbers)
Ingredients
  • 2 Cups of White Vinegar
  • 2 Cups Water
  • 2 Tablespoons white sugar
  • ½ tsp crused red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp of pickling salt
  • 3 cloves fresh garlic, crushed
  • 4-6 cups of cut of fresh veggies (Try to make them bite size)
  • *NOTE: If you don't have a ton of veggies to use, feel free to cut the brine in half. It will still be delicious.
Instructions
  1. In a nonreactive pot, add water, vinegar, sugar, pepper flakes and salt. Stir until salt and sugar are dissolved.
  2. Bring to a boil.
  3. Add veggies and garlic and cook about 5-7 minutes. You want the vegetables to remain crisp and not get mushy.
  4. Remove from heat and let seep in the pan another 10 minutes.
  5. Use a slotted spoon, add the vegetables to your tempered glass bowl. Add enough of the brine back on top to just cover them up.
  6. When it is cooled off a little, put in refrigerator for at least two hours before serving.
  7. I served this as a condiment for my last cheese platter and it was great with all the meats and cheeses.