It makes me sad that so many people hear the word 'pickle' and think only of cucumber dills. Don't get me wrong, I like those fine, but there are just so many other pickles out there.
We made all of these - grew the beets, carrots, beans and dill - right here at home and canned them to enjoy all year.
I like beets now and then, but pickled beets, even better! This was the first year we tried dilled carrots. While they are hotter than the other two, they are more mellow at the same time.
But my favorite, by far, is the dilly bean. They are crispy, crunchy, full of flavor and punch. And since cucumbers don't grow very well here, and since green beans do, dilly beans have become our standard dill pickle. They're great with a sandwich, as a side to any meal, even on hot dogs! I'm embarrassed to tell you how many jars of them I put up this year...14 quarts, and 21 pints. YUM!
So why, in the midst of winter, am I talking about pickles? Because now is the time to plan your garden and what you intend to grow. Why not grow a few extra green beans (and a bit of dill) to make some dilly beans? Perhaps you'd prefer to put in a few beets or carrots to pickle?
Canning pickles isn't difficult. It is done in a water-bath canner. If you follow a tested recipe, you can put up pickles that are both tasty and safe to eat. And for these less common pickles, you can save a lot of money too. The last time I looked, a jar of dilly beans was about seven dollars. Seven dollars!
I plan to make all three pickles again this year. What's your favorite pickle? And..have you started planning for your spring garden?