One thing gardening will teach you is patience.
Before this summer I didn’t know anything at all about growing vegetables and herbs. I had no idea about how long it would take, how big plants can grow, about pruning and prime time to water; I knew nothing! So when my cucumbers weren’t growing, I got a tad bit impatient. However, it literally happened overnight… I went from not having any cucumbers growing in my garden at all, to being overwhelmed by a sea of cucumbers!
I was bringing in 1-2 cucumbers every other day and I like cucumbers but what was I supposed to do with that many??
Pickling is a great way to preserve food. Baaaaaack, back in the day before refrigeration systems became what they are today, food preservation options were extremely limited. Essentially you could share the wealth of having so many vegetables, you could smoke or salt meats or you could turn to pickling. It’s a super simple process and if you love tangy foods, it’s a great process to try. Particularly because you can pretty much pickle anything– eggs, veggies, fruits, pig’s feet…
But on to the recipe!
What You Need:
3 cucumbers, sliced in 1/3 of an inch slices
2 cups white vinegar
2 cups water
1/4 cup kosher salt
1/2 tbsp sugar
12 sprigs of fresh dill
1 tbspn peppercorns
3 tspn crushed red pepper flakes
3 tspn crushed garlic
3 bay leaves
A large pot
3 glass jars
**Recipe yields 3 eight ounce jars full**
Rinse and slice your cucumbers and set them to the side. After sterilizing your glass jars(click here for step-by-step directions), fill them with your herbs and spices– 4 sprigs of dill, 1 tbsp crushed garlic, 1 tspn crushed pepper, 1 tspn peppercorns and one bay leaf for each jar. Pack with sliced cucumber within an inch from the mouth of the jar.
At this point you can use a canner to make sure the jars are good & sealed or you can use the old fashioned method and place them in a large pot(I use a pasta pot) and cover them with water. Allow them to come to a boil and after boiling for about 15 minutes, the cans should be sealed. You’ll know because the top of the jar will be sucked in.Allow the cucumbers to sit in the brine on the counter overnight– you’ll see the cucumbers begin to change color and so will the brining liquid.After they’ve sat out over night, the pickles can keep in the fridge for up to 2 months or so.
This was my first time pickling cucumbers, my previous pickling experience involved peaches, but I was shocked by how much they really tasted like… pickles! But of course better than the ones you buy from the store because of the dill, and garlic, all with that hint of spiciness. SO good!
What should I pickle next??
Like kryptonite to Superman, ice cream is my weakness. Anytime it’s around I have to eat it. And if it’s not around but I hear about it, I have to go find it.
That’s exactly what happened when I started reading articles such as this one in the Washington Post and seeing tweets about the new ice cream shop from Ice Cream Jubilee, which opened their first store last weekend in the Navy Yard section of DC.
Ice Cream Jubilee isn’t exactly new to the DC scene, lawyer turned ice cream aficionado Victoria Lai has been churning out her unique flavors for the past couple years at DC’s Union Kitchen to be sold at Glen’s Garden Market and The Silver Spork.
I was drawn to Ice Cream Jubilee by their interesting flavors such as Thai iced tea, mango habanero and blueberry pie. Ironically enough I didn’t end up trying any of those flavors during my visit but I think I made some great choices. Prices start at $3 for one scoop and go up to $5.95 for three.
In my attempt to try as many flavors as possible I went with the triple scoop and ordered caramel popcorn, dark and stormy and banana bourbon caramel. I love all 3 of those things in their pure/food forms so I knew I’d be in for a treat.
All of the flavors were extremely well developed without being overpowering. The caramel popcorn was by far the most intriguing flavor I tried. I kept waiting to chomp down on a bite of actual caramel popcorn, but that never happened and it confused the signals going from my mouth to by brain just a little lol. How Victoria managed to capture the browned caramel goodness and popcorn flavor in ice cream, I’ll never know but she did. Bravo!
The dark & stormy had that sure hint of rum and a slight ginger taste but was the most underwhelming of the three– and that comes from someone who LOVES sipping dark & stormys. The flavor just wasn’t that compelling. The banana bourbon caramel was a sure wringer for one of my other favorite desserts, bananas foster. The bourbon sang along in the background while the banana and caramel flavors were more pronounced.
While the ice cream was tasty, something in the consistency was off for me. It’s possible that I could be soused to gelato and custard at this point that I’m out of touch with the consistency of regular ice cream, but I couldn’t help but notice that it was a tad bit icy. That aside, I’ll definitely be back to try some one the other flavors. I’d also suggest that Ice Cream Jubilee offer customers the option of buying pints to carry out of the store. I would have bought SO many other flavors to try at home if I had that option.
As far as décor goes, I loved the light and airiness of the shop and was particularly fond of the white wooden chairs out front that make you feel like you’re sitting on a boardwalk.
If ice cream is your thing but you’re bored by regular ‘ol vanilla, chocolate and strawberry(not that anything is wrong with that, vanilla is actually my fav ice cream flavor), take a trip down to Ice Cream Jubilee. Your tastebuds will thank me
And if you’re an ice cream enthusiast like me, you’ll make your way to Union Market tomorrow from 1-4pm for The DC Scoop to get a chance to taste the best ice cream DC has to offer!