Monday, September 1, 2014

Herbal Vinegars and Lemon Cucumbers

One way to preserve the herbs flourishing in the garden now is to make herbal vinegars. It is best to start with a really tasty vinegar that is organic. My preference is Nana Mae's Organic Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar made right here in Sonoma County. Then I walk about the garden sensing which herbs want to be joined together.

Bay (native) leaves, Chives, Lavender flowers, Lemon verbena leaves,
Oregano, Heirloom 'Gigante' Parsley, Rosemary, Thyme,
Winter Savory
A lemon theme was created as a substitute for Meyers lemon juice that in past years was used in jam, jelly and chutney making. With the severe freeze that happened last Winter Tanis’s Meyers lemon tree was adversely affected, essentially eliminating lemons for the year.  Thank you, Tanis, for all the Meyers lemons you have provided me in the past and will surely do in the future when your tree resumes its productivity.

Lemon balm, Lemon basil, Lemon 'Gem' marigold flowers,
 Lemon thyme, Lemon verbena
Another way to use herbal vinegar is in kefir dressing, which has been modified from the one appearing in *The Nourished Kitchen by Jennifer McGruder, who makes her own kefir milk. I substitute a wonderfully delicious store bought kefir milk: Organic Nancy’s lowfat cultured Kefir milk. The other advantage of purchasing this particular brand is that it is not bottled in plastic.

Kefir dressing:
  • 1/4 C. organic kefir milk
  • 1 tsp. organic maple syrup
  • 2 tsp. organic herbal apple cider vinegar
  • 1/8 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground organic peppercorns
Mix until smooth in a bowl.

*I love this book! I am so grateful to you, Katie, for giving this fabulous book to me for my birthday.

Vibrant, blooming lemon cucumber plants

Fresh lemon cucumbers ready for peeling and slicing.
Leigh, I so appreciate the handy mandoline you gave me for my birthday a year ago. A mandoline slices these lemon cucumbers perfectly.

Fresh, organic lemon cucumber salad with the delicious kefir dressing.
I like to eat this as a "soup" so I usually make the dressing using a whole cup of kefir milk
for 6 to 8 lemon cucumbers, of course multiplying all the other ingredients accordingly.

Thank you, Harmony, for creating such lovely fabric! HarmonyArt fabric was used to make this wonderful tablecloth with matching napkins that is environmentally friendly!

While harvesting the garden's abundance 


  1. An email comment: "Nice post. Those cucumbers look delicious.
    We were so hopeful for the A's, but they have really slumped since they traded away Cespedes & Malone. Too bad. We hope they can rebound. We keep watching them & rooting. We assume you & Tanis are still enjoying the games. Take care, Bill & Susan"

  2. Comment via email: "We sure have been enjoying our lemon cukes this year."Michael Stoyka

  3. Email comment: "Ooooo, that does look good Cathie! I only have a few lemon cucumbers left from the seeds you gave me but maybe I will have time to make it this week.Love,Katie"

  4. Comment via email: "Yum! Looks delicious. I keep buying lemon cukes at the farmer's market but they are never as good as yours! Maybe it's not quite hot enough here. Plenty of other tasty cukes though. Glad you're enjoying the mandoline. Leigh"

  5. Another email comment: "You are AMAZING, Cathie!! Thanks again for sharing...awesome updates & pics as always!! Vickie & Jason xoxoxo"