September has always been a stressful, busy month. The children are adjusting to new schedules, commuters have more traffic on the roads, contractors are rushing to finish projects before snow flies while parents are cramming so much into the evening hours.
For some this crunch time comes when summer gardens are just winding down.
Growing up we would pick some beans, cauliflower, small green tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, carrots, Brussels sprouts, onions or small zucchini during these September days. There wasn't enough of any vegetable for dinner and no two days of pickings were the same. When Mom had enough she made a few quarts of her famous End of the Garden Pickles and corn relish. There wasn't enough to make a big batch so she made several quarts at a time. We always laughed at her frugal ways of not wasting anything but they sure were good in the winter. I recall the corn relish with bits of red pepper.
She made both dill and sweet pickles in quart jars. When we came home after school several times a week, we would find jars of pickles on the counter.
Years later, when I had a garden, I found myself making jars of the same pickles. I don't think my family enjoyed them as much as I do but they didn't have those warm fuzzy memories either.
Several weeks ago my sister and her husband brought vegetables from their garden when they went to Rochester. This time it was a little different as there were too many vegetables for one person and not enough freezer space.I decided to make a batch of sweet pickles with the extra vegetables. When they went home I sent a jar for each of my sisters.
September is a busy month, but it can also be a time to make memories. People are cleaning their gardens from summer vegetables before fall squash, pumpkins, apples and root vegetables are ready for harvest.
This year has been a strange year for gardens so you never know what you'll have in your pickle jars come winter.
End of the Garden Pickles
1 cup diced green, red and/or yellow pepper
1 cup halved Brussels sprouts
1 cup halved green cherry tomatoes
1 cup chopped cauliflower
Salt the above vegetables and soak in water overnight. Drain. The next day cook vegetables until just tender crisp.
1 cup sliced cucumbers
1 cup sliced carrots
1 cup sliced green or yellow beans
1 cup sliced onions
Mix all vegetables together and add:
2 tablespoon mustard seed
1 tablespoon celery seed
2 tablespoons turmeric powder
2 cups vinegar
2 cups sugar
Simmer 10 minutes and pack in sterilized pint jars.