Using organic heirloom seeds to grow vegetables, fruits and herbs that can be used to make pickles in the fall guarantees great taste and the relief that comes with knowing exactly what you are eating. Home gardeners often create or pass down unique recipes to preserve their bounty and add texture and flavor to meals throughout the year.
A variety of produce can be grown from organic heirloom seeds to pickle this fall. They include cucumbers, carrots, peppers, beets, watermelon and of course dill, garlic and onions. Whether your recipe calls for a combination or is a single main ingredient like sweet pickles, the world is your oyster when pickling fresh produce from the garden.
• Cucumbers that will be used for gherkins should be picked when they are approximately 11/2 to 2 inches long. When they are used for dill pickles they should be in the 4-5 inch range, depending on the jar they’ll be placed in. If you plan to pickle chip style, the long slender varieties are a popular choice. Both smooth and spiny varieties can be used, and the spines can be rubbed off with a vegetable scrubber if desired.
• Carrots that will be used for pickling are generally harvested when they are slender and approximately 4 inches long. This can vary depending on whether they will be sliced lengthwise or across. They are popular for their flavor and color.
• Pickled beets are a popular throughout the country and most varieties are suitable for this purpose. Many people add them when making pickled eggs for added color, taste and texture.
• A variety of peppers are suitable for pickling. Sweet peppers are popular in relishes and eaten as a side. Jalapenos and Habaneros are often used in cooking and as toppings on tacos and other Southwestern meals. Red peppers can be grown, dried, crushed and added to a variety of pickled and canned foods for extra zing.
• Pickled watermelon rind is a great addition to meals that are prepared on the grill, such as smoked pork, or chicken. Most types of watermelon are suitable, but look for varieties with a thicker rind.
• Fresh herbs such as dill from organic heirloom seeds is a must have for pickling. It is easy to save seeds for the next year, and it often replants itself as well. The sprigs not only are beautiful when preserved in the jar, but add flavor to pickles and potato salad.
• Fresh certified organic seed garlic produces clusters of cloves that are perfect for adding to pickles as well as cooking.
Choose the variety of each heirloom organic seed that is best suited to your growing conditions. Heirloom seeds adapt well to a variety of climates, however some are drought tolerant, while others require shorter or longer growing seasons. By planting according to the intended use, gardeners will be able to choose the best organic heirloom seeds for their needs.