Renee's Garden GiftsPrinter Friendly Version
Besides providing wonderful fresh vegetables and herbs during the growing season, the kitchen garden is the source for great gifts you'll enjoy making and giving to friends and family. Here are some of my favorites for easy cooking and crafting projects:
CucumbersEveryone loves condiments and pickles to add flavor and spice to meals, and homemade jars of condiments in beautiful jewel tones are satisfying to both give and receive. For cucumber pickles, plan early to trellis your pickling cukes up short supports. This way they'll grow straight and clean and the fruits will color up evenly. My favorite varieties are versatile "Garden Oasis" and slim "Chelsea Prize." Pick them small and young before they get seedy for best flavor. Cucumbers need consistent moisture and rich fertile soil to grow well and have sweet flavor and crisp texture. Plant 3 or 4 hills so you'll have big harvests to process. Other good pickling vegetables include green beans, baby carrots, button onions, pac choi, kohlrabi, jalapeno chiles, and sugar snap peas. All are delicious when flavored with garlic and aromatic herbs like dill, tarragon, basil, or thyme in a good all purpose vinegar brine. If you like cucumbers, check out my Ginger-Lime Cucumber Chips recipe!