Slow Start

We are off to a slow start with our garden harvest. But it is a start!

Yesterday Attila brought in our first cucumbers, a zucchini, garlic, wild grape leaves, and a handful of Scarlet Runner beans. Once they were all washed and cut to size, they filled three 500 ml canning jars, for dill pickling. All of them sealed. This morning they were washed, labelled and set to dry before storing in the basement.

In 2022 our first batch of pickles was canned on July 19, and by July 26, 2022, we had canned 24 jars of pickles. Clearly, this year the garden is off to a slow start, with late frost, a long cool spring, and long dry periods in May, June, and July.

We seem to have lots of zucchini every year!

I think we will give the Dilly Zucchini a taste test though, open the jar in a week or two. If the Dilly Zucchini is something we like, that will be how we preserve our garden zucchini. If we don’t like it, the zucchini will be used for stir fries, or shredded for muffins.

Last year was the first year we used half the salt called for in the pickle recipe, and wild grape leaves, in our dill pickles, and wow, so good, so very good. We prefer the taste of pickles made with half the salt called for. The salt serves no purpose for preservation, it is for taste only. The vinegar is the key ingredient for preservation, the quantity called for is strictly followed.

I was a little rusty with the canning process. After I got the jars into the canner, I decided to sit down to read before the steam canner came up to temperature. Of course, I forgot that I was canning, as reading absorbs my attention. By the time I lifted my head the steam canner was hissing along, and past the point to start timing. I set the timer for a slightly shorter time, and hoped for the best. The contents look pretty good, the jars sealed, I am optimistic. Note to self, set timers when deciding to read during a project.

Note, because of the high vinegar content of pickles, they are considered a high acid food. Clostridium botulinum, which creates deadly toxins, does not survive in high acid foods. So if my pickling time were an issue, and the product went bad, the product would smell or taste bad, and we would not eat it. Canning high acid foods allows a lot more wiggle room with safety concerns. Low acid foods and pressure canning are a whole other universe.

We have lots of pickles that were canned in 2021 with full salt, and those jars are being slowly eaten by Attila, who can tolerate salt, or as an ingredients for Polish Potato and Dill Pickle Soup, which we both love, and I can have since the consumed salt content is lessened when the pickles are added to a big pot of soup. I made this soup for yesterday’s supper, and used our homemade broth. The homemade broth was made with vegetable scraps, including garden beet scraps, it was very, very red. The result, our soup was brick coloured, not visually appealing at all, but of no consequence to us because the soup is so good.

This weekend we are going to be making homemade sausage patties, as the last batches we made early in the spring have been devoured. It is a rather big job, beginning with thawing the frozen meat, and preparing the spice mixture. Our sausage patties are nitrite and sodium free, and also include rosemary, which reduces some of the unwanted effects of red meat. Every so often we dedicate a full day to making either pork sausage patties, or salmon patties, to freeze for quick and delicious meals. I usually keep a bag of homemade burger buns in the freezer, so that we are ready to go at a moment’s notice.

The new heat pump is dong a great job, and thank goodness! Although it is only 28C out there, the humid is 37C, and the day is just warming up. I imagine the humidex will be well over 40C by later this afternoon, which is too hot to enjoy the outdoors.



Updated on Wed, Jul 26 at 12:15 PM
Partly cloudy
Wind 21 SW km/h
Humidity 65 %
Visibility 19 km
Sunrise 5:48 AM
Wind gust 31 km/h
Pressure 101.5 kPa
Ceiling 9100 m
Sunset 8:39 PM


“The price one pays for pursuing any profession or calling is an intimate knowledge of its ugly side.”
James Baldwin
1924 – 1987

The ability, and willingness, to deny ugly realities, to oneself and others, is essential to most forms of what society considers “success”.

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Joan Lansberry

The sausages sound tasty! Enjoy your zucchinis!

Eileen Barton

I used to have a neighbor who would leave zucchinis on my porch so I could make zucchini bread. Now the only gardening I am able to do is indoors so I have an Aerogarden with bell peppers and basil growing in it. Soon I will set up my second one and have lettuce and a few other herbs. Love reading about your gardening and canning.


Hi, Maggie! Hope you’re enjoying your pickling.

I just saw a warni g about vinegars today, so thought I’d pass it on on the off chance you haven’t seen it. “Just a little warning for all who are canning pickles or anything using vinegar. This year you cannot just grab a plastic jar of vinegar or even pickling vinegar without checking the label. Safe pickling requires 5% acidity….for the first time we are seeing 4% acidity vinegar… on the shelves. That renders anything pickled in the 4% NOT shelf stable. There are several canning FB pages where everyone is warning …for the first time ever…to check those labels or you could be throwing out many jars of unsafe pickled veggies.”


Maggie, not sure if I was clear or not. I realize you are well-versed on the 5%. You even discussed it in your post.

My point is that 4% vinegar IS now being found on Canadian shelves, so might always want to check the label when purchasing vinegar because the manufacturers aren’t saying anything when they weaken their vinegar. The change has raised some ire in the Facebook Canadian canning discussion boards.