By Lisa McCleary

We got home from our vacation last week and found out we had a wheelbarrel full of cucumbers from our garden.  We had to get making some pickles, pronto! 

Charlotte wanted to make spicy garlic dill and Hailey wanted bread and butter. So far we have made 30 jars and a 5- quart container of pickles.  Both the girls have taste tested them to make sure they are good!

When I was growing up we always had vegetable gardens. My father taught me the love of growing vegetables and what one tiny seed can produce. My dad had huge gardens and I started helping him as soon as I was able.  I remember some of my first jobs: one was to pick out rocks when he was rotor tilling the ground, and another not so fun job was pulling weeds. 

But my favorite job was helping to pick all the ripe vegetables. I loved eating veggies and sometimes I ate them right off the plant. The hard work we put in seemed to make the vegetables taste even better.

So when we got our first home I couldn’t wait to plant a garden and show my girls how rewarding it is to plant your own food.  We started out small and have added a little more each year.  

This year we planted beans, cucumbers, summer squash, zucchini, peppers, tomatoes, and salad varieties.  It is such a great feeling to serve your family food that you just picked right out of your own garden.

My mom’s recipe for refrigerator bread & butter pickles:

  • 4 cups sugar
  • 4 cups apple cider vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/3 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1-1/3 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1 sweet onion
  • About 8-10 cucumbers depending on size

Mix all well, add in cucumber slices and sweet onion slices, then put in fridge for a day or two before eating.

Makes about 4 canning jars

We are blessed to have members here at St. Luke donate their abundance of fruits and vegetables to our Gardens for Growth program. If you have a garden overflowing and would like to donate any, please bring them on Sunday mornings, August 24 and 31.  You will be able to leave a donation for these items Sunday mornings, the donations will help pay down the mortgage.

We are going to start collecting recipes during Gardens for Growth. We will share these on Facebook as well as in the blog. As we share God’s bounty from our gardens, so to shall we share from our heart. You can click on the link One up Recipe card to get a pre-formatted recipe card if you’d like to use it, as we will be publishing the recipes online. You can also follow StLukeAA on Pinterest for additional ideas.