Monday, June 15, 2009

While The Gardener Was Away...

The gardener may have been getting some rest and relaxation this weekend, but the vegetable garden was not. I harvested a generous amount this morning. In the basket, starting with the Royal Burgundy snap beans and moving clockwise: Magnolia Blossom snap peas, Golden Sweet snow peas, Landreth Stringless snap beans, and Green Beauty snow peas. The beans are the first of the season. The snow peas are slowing down and may be done soon since the plants are starting to get powdery mildew. The snap peas are about halfway done.

To the left of the basket are a couple of the remaining Atomic Red carrots and some Amarillo Yellow and Lunar White carrots. The red carrots had a tendency to bolt but the ones that didn't have been sizing up nicely over the past two or three months. The Amarillo Yellow and Lunar white carrots were slower to size up but all of a sudden they are getting big, especially the yellow ones.

On Friday morning I picked the one zucchini that had formed. Look what happened over the weekend, eight zucchini in three days! And then there's a mound of Senposai whose leaves seem to be having a competition with the zucchini to see who one can grow faster. Well, no, not quite, I should have started picking the Senposai a week ago but I've not been eating at home enough lately to make use of it so it stayed on the plant.

Friday morning's harvest also included a big bag of snow peas and a pound of snap peas. One pound of snap peas is just a tad more than what it takes to fill a quart canning jar so they were made into the second batch of pickles. I think I'll blanch and freeze the snow peas that I picked today since I still have the bagful that I picked on Friday.

Here's my easy recipe for pickled snap peas.

Pickled Sugar Snap Peas

1 lb sugar snap peas, the freshest possible
2 sprigs fresh tarragon
2 whole cloves garlic, peeled
2 fresh or dried chile peppers
1 1/4 cups white wine vinegar, 4 to 6% acidity
1 1/4 cups water
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt

Wash and string the snap peas. Pack them into a clean 1 quart canning jar with the tarragon, garlic, and dried chiles. Combine the vinegar, water, sugar, and salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely. Pour the cooled vinegar mixture into the packed jar to completely cover the peas, cap and store in the refrigerator for at least 2 weeks before eating. Store the pickles in the refrigerator.

I used a Spanish Moscatel vinegar that is wonderfully fruity. I highly recommend it if you can find it, otherwise use the tastiest vinegar you can find. A fruity apple cider vinegar would be a good alternative. Just be sure that the vinegar you use is at least 4% acidity since these pickles are not processed and it's the acidity that kills any harmful organisms that might be present.


  1. Michelle,
    Wow everything looks so good! Those carrots we wish they'd grow like that here. Pays to go away doesn't it.

  2. Wow that is a lot of produce, well done!

  3. Looks great! Who needs bloom day if they have a jar of pickled snap peas...;->

  4. That is a great great great photo. Absolutely love it. We have our first zucchini also about 2 inches long. The next day there was another one. Did not look today, but probably one more huh? I must say, you're doing something right. Please keep up the good work.

  5. Glad you had a fun bday trip to SF. Wow, your garden didn't wait for you, did it? It's quite a cornucopia. I'm so curious, are the purple snap peas as tasty as the green ones? I can't even imagine having enough of any of them to pickle, they don't even usually make it up the front steps and into the house before they're consumed. Must be one of the joys of a large, well-managed garden, having enough left over to put up. What is Senposai? I'll have to look that up.

  6. Pickled pea pods! Wow - I MUST have a go at that. I'm not growing any sugar smaps this year, but I will next year, definitely :-)
    Are there any purple podded sugar snaps?


  7. Randy, it does seem like the veggies grow extra fast when I'm away!

    Prue, thanks!

    Town Mouse, the veggies were much prettier than the flowers for bloom day. One more week until I get to taste the first pickle though...

    SG, Thanks so much. I got the plants off to a good start and now they are doing all the work. I guess I did do something right this year. Now I have to get out all the zucchini recipes that I've been collecting.

    Karen, the purple things are actually beans and they were delicious last night. They lose the purple color and turn a bit gray-green when they are cooked though. A lot of the snap peas don't make it out of the garden. My husband loves to "help" me pick the snap peas - he sits on my garden seat and holds his hands out.

    Celia, I found one source for purple podded sugar snaps! Peace Seeds in Oregon is offering "Sugar Magnolia". Expensive, even more so for overseas orders, but I may have to splurge. The Magnolia Blossom and Green Beauty peas that are pictured above came from them. I'm adding a link to them in my seeds sources on the sidebar.

  8. That is truly a lovely harvest. Like a painting. I'm glad you enjoyed your trip -- you were in my back yard!

  9. Pickled Sugar Snap Peas! I have never thought of that. Now for sure I am going to grow some this fall seeing that time got away from me when it came to planting them this spring. Thanks for sharing the recipe- I'm filing it away as soon as I type this comment. :)

    The photo of your harvest is just stunning. It looks like it should be on a magazine cover.


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