Local Flavour: Picking up pickling
Pebble Hill Elementary school children will soon enjoy the fruits of the labour of several South Delta Secondary students who have been gardening at the school over the summer.
Well, technically, they'll be enjoying the vegetables of their labour.
SDSS Grade 7 students planted 200 cucumbers at the end of the school year in June, and the harvest resulted in a whopping 3,500 cucumbers in August.
The students have since been harvesting and pickling the cucumbers, then taking that learning experience and sharing it as a teachable moment for Pebble Hill school children.
"No, it isn't a dead fish," says ML Schneider, a SDSS Grade 12 student, answering a question from a Grade 3 student about a funny-looking hot pepper floating in the brine. The kids go wild with laughter.
ML, along with her father Mike, have taken the lead on the project, teaching and helping the younger children to learn about horticulture and self-sufficiency gardening.
"There are kids my age who can't cook for themselves and that's sort of sad," says ML, easy to spot in her bright pink hair-do.
They're documenting these little seminars with a video camera, so they can later be shown on the web.
Her father says engaging young people in growing vegetables will also work with today's online savvy children.
"The idea about engaging kids on it is for them to go online and share their photos and ideas," says Mike.
"You have to engage children early..." he says, "...so they don't have to rely on McDonalds," finishes ML, flashing a mischievous grin at the Grade 3 class.
Although the cucumber harvest is over, they still have spinach, lettuce, beets, garlic, and other veggies, which will be harvested and taken to Kin Village community centre where a big salad will be shared with the folks there.
Pebble Hill is just the first school to start this horticultural learning program, with English Bluff and Beach Grove to follow, and eventually every school in the Delta School District.
Now that's food for thought.
How to pickle properly
Cucumbers, beets, tomatoes, or any vegetable
Mustard seed, Garlic, Dill weed, Peppercorns, Coriander, Chilli peppers, Rosemary
Salt and sugar
Sterilize the preserve jars by boiling them for 10 minutes.
Prepare brine with 3 cups water, 3 cups vinegar, 6 tbs. sugar, 6 tps. salt. Add pickling spice in cheese cloth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 12 minutes.
Place cucumbers (or any vegetable) in jar with garclic, hot peppers (for spice) and dill weed.
Pour brine over pickles and seal.
There are now two ways to store your pickles. You can either put the jars in the fridge right away or you can boil the jars in a canner for 15 minutes.
If you are putting them in the fridge you can't open the jar for at least two weeks.
If you are boiling them you can store them in a cool, dark place for two months.
The fridge is the recommended option because the pickles come out crunchier.