In Texas, it is pretty easy to grow a bountiful garden of heat-loving vegetables.
Today, pickling part of your harvest is gaining popularity once more after a few decades of gardeners not taking advantage of this great way to clean out your harvest to preserve and reuse your garden bed for new vegetables. So, check out these vegetables that grow well under the Texan sun and are easy to pickle once you’ve had your fill of them in season.
It is no surprise to anyone that cucumbers are a top choice of Texan gardeners. They grow well in the heat and can quickly take up crop space if not picked on a daily basis. Plant both slicing and pickling varieties in your garden in order to enjoy cucumbers all year long. Slicing cucumbers have thinner skins for immediate use while pickling cucumbers have tougher skins that become crunchy after pickling. Make sure to survey the garden on a regular basis and pick those cucumbers that are 3-4 inches in length and will easily fit into a mason jar. Add in dill from the store or consider growing dill over the winter and freezing it until your cucumbers are ready.
This crimson-colored vegetable is great to use in pickling and can add some much needed color to a bland dish come winter. Southern parts of Texas can grow beets all winter long while northern areas should plant beets early in the spring. Harvest the beets about seven to eight weeks after planting and pick small but firm beets for pickling. Give the beets a quick blanche to remove the skins and add some sweet onions to the brine to give the pickled beets a mild and delicious flavor.
Coleslaw is a staple in Texas cuisine and pickled cabbage is a great addition as well. Cabbage can be pickled into a sweet slaw or fermented to be made into sauerkraut. Harvest cabbage about 70 days after planting in order to get the desired size needed for pickling. Use the small inner leaves of a cabbage for pickling and make sure to have the correct amount of salt in order to preserve the cabbage well.
These multicolored gems look great pickled or added to a buffet table. Grow carrots in well-drained soil that is free from rocks and other debris. Carrots grow best in raised beds to give them enough room to grow into substantial sizes. Cut harvested carrots into spears and consider canning a few different colored varieties together as well. Sweeten the brine with sugar as well as spices in order to make pickled carrots a must-have item from your pantry.
This delicious vegetable grows best in the northern and western parts of Texas and can be easily pickled for year round use. Simply cut the asparagus in lengths that will fit your mason jars, usually 4-6 inches in length. Freshly picked asparagus does best when pickling so be sure to harvest every other day when the asparagus is ready. Add onion, chili pepper, dill and mustard seed to the brine while pickling and enjoy fresh asparagus all winter long in appetizers and garnishes.
Pickling is a great way to use extra garden harvest for future meals. Preserve the taste and freshness of summer by putting away pickled vegetables that will stay shelf stable for many months. Choose staples like cucumbers and beets for pickling while also trying out a few new vegetables like asparagus or cabbage. Making your own pickled vegetables at home is a great way to provide for the family as well as use every last bit of a successful garden harvest.
Katie Kuchta is a gardening and outdoor living guru, and self-proclaimed foodie. She can often be found cooking in the kitchen or on the hunt for the best tacos, follow her on Instagram @atxtacoqueen.