Monday, 30 April 2012

Buderim Ginger Factory

I have been playing tourist guide to my Mum and Auntie this week, but despite the name 'Sunshine Coast' all we have had is rain for a couple of days so we were looking for somewhere to go that wouldn't be too outdoors.

Blue Ginger
We chose the Buderim Ginger Factory which is always on our list when Mum comes for a visit and we take a wander around the gardens to see the beautiful varieties of ginger plants and their amazing flowers. A highlight of the visit is always morning tea where we have Ginger Scones with cream and ginger jam.  It is just gorgeous!
Another very large ginger plant and a birds nest fern in the tree

Lily pond 
 I'm going to try growing my own edible ginger as I have always grown ornamental ginger plants and they grow easily and well in our climate.  Growing my own will give me fresh ginger for cooking as well as ginger for making our own ginger beer at Christmas time.

Red Heliconia
Over the next few weeks my blogging will be mainly about touring around our local area of the Sunshine Coast as I show my Mum and Aunty around.  I hope you will enjoy being a virtual tourist with us.
Bee Hive Ginger

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Weekly Wrap Up

This weeks efforts towards a more sustainable life at Monarch Place.


A post about making my own yoghurt, from 2 tablespoons of a good store bought one, then following on from that to turn the home made yoghurt into Labneh a yoghurt cheese much like cream cheese.

I have only seen Labneh for sale at growers markets here in Queensland and it is very expensive to buy but oh so easy to make.  My 1kg of yoghurt turned into Labneh to produce about 1 1/4 cups of cheese cost me approximately $2.50.  According to the Woolworths online store their 1kg yoghurts cost over $5 so that is a 50% saving right there.  They had a Greek yoghurt on sale for $3.99 so even on sale you are better off making your own.  Home made yoghurt can be sweetened with jams, syrups, honey or just stewed fruit.

The amount of Labneh I made cost about the same as the yoghurt seeing as all I added to make it into Labneh was 1 teaspoon of salt, so lets say $2.60.  Store bought cream cheese costs $4.30 for 250g and I made about 600g which would have cost me more than $9.00 to buy.  A saving of $6.50.

Just by making these two simple items in your own kitchen can reap you a savings on your grocery bill of  nearly $10, that's quite a savings.  I know if I found 2 items on special in my grocery store that saved me that much I would be patting myself on the back and telling myself how good I did.


A patriotic look ANZAC day.  Marking the landing on the beaches of Gallipoli now named ANZAC Cove and remembering those who fought during all the wars and also our troops still in active duty.



A visual diary of what is happening in our backyard food production garden at the moment. There is an abundance of some crops, other vegetables growing well, lettuce bolting to seed and pests on the citrus trees.

Hope you have all had a good week


Thursday, 26 April 2012

In the Vegetable Garden

I thought I would write a vegetable garden update so that you can all see how it is growing but also my blog will act as a garden diary for my reference for next years planting.  I will be able to look back and see what works and what doesn't and which garden pests have been to visit and when.
Vegetable gardens in full production

I am still picking copious amounts of cucumbers from my 4 little vines and now with hindsight I know that next year I will only plant 2 and I will still have more than enough fruit.  I'm not really sure why I didn't pick up on this earlier in the year when I planted 2 Zucchini plants and had so many I didn't know what to do with.  Maybe I will win a 'Neighbour of the Year Award' with all the produce I have been able to give to others. 
Yet more cucumbers ready to be picked
When my kids visit I send them home with a box of fresh veggies.  Just last week I sent my daughter home with Lettuce, Cucumbers, Parsley, Basil, Kaffir Lime leaves, Spring Onions, Wombok cabbage and Choy Sum.
It is nice to be able to help them reduce their cost of living through my excess.  My son is at university and he also appreciates an armful of veggies to take home with him when he visits and I also know he is eating his greens :)
Clockwise from the top, Fennel, Spring Onions, Choy Sum, Wombok and Broccoli and there is still a little Pak Choy squeezed in there too.
Over the next 3 weeks I hope to eat down what is in the garden and be able to replenish the soil in readiness to plant out the next crops.  I have my mother and my auntie coming for a 3 week holiday so there will be 4 of us to feed instead of just 2.  Luckily my Mum just loves cucumbers!  We have had some warmer than usual weather in the past week, although with the cold breeze blowing in the window this morning you wouldn't know it, but that has given the lettuce reason to bolt so they need to be eaten quickly. There will be plenty of salads on our menu this week.
Lettuce have bolted and need to be eaten asap
The growth on the citrus trees has slowed now but a few weeks ago they were growing at an alarming rate.  I hope to get fruit in next seasons crop as this year there were only 2 limes and no lemons or oranges, but I actually didn't expected any fruit at all as I only planted the trees in December so they are just 5 months old with the Orange tree only being 2 months old and having to struggle against the hardships of the dog chewing on it for the first few weeks of it's life.

L to R Orange, Lemon, Kaffir Lime
Lately I have noticed the trees not looking as healthy as they should and saw two large black caterpillars on the lemon tree and also some black scale insects and leaf miners on all the citrus trees.  Three different pests at the same time, poor little trees.
Black Shield Scale
I am using a natural spray to discourage them from hanging around.  The caterpillars were easy I just flicked them off and squashed them.  The black shield scale and leaf miners are a little more difficult to deal with particularly at the moment when it is raining so often that I have to spray frequently, but I would rather take 2 minutes every day or so to spray with a natural spray than expose my family to a chemical that affects the nervous system of bugs and humans alike.  I will also spend some time physically removing the scale insects as the infestation is only small at the moment.

Leaf Miner damage
Scale Insect & Leaf Miner Natural Spray
1 tsp liquid dishsoap
1 tbsp cooking oil
2 cups warm water

Mix together in a 500ml spray bottle and spray both sides of leaves once a week or more frequently if it has rained.

The oil helps to smother the scale insects and get through their hard shield-like shells and the detergent discourages leaf miners from enjoying a snack on the leaves.  I have only made this small amount as my trees are very small at the moment and I like to keep the batch fresh.  This amount of spray will last me a week or two with regular applications.

I hope you have enjoyed our wander though the veggie garden this morning.


Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Lest we Forget

ANZAC's  - Australian and New Zealand Army Corps.

On April 25th each year we set aside this day in remembrance of our ANZACS who fought and died so we could live in freedom.  We also remember our troops who are overseas deployed on peace-keeping assignments, you are in our prayers.
'The Last Post' is played at every ANZAC Day memorial service.
It marks the day of the dawn landing of the beaches of Gallipoli.  The objective was to capture Constantinople which is now known as Istanbul in Turkey which, at the time was under Ottoman rule and an ally of Germany in the First World War.  Many men were slain on those beaches at dawn that day but for the ones that made it past the beaches the war in Gallipoli raged on for another 8 months leading to many more deaths and injuries. My husband and I both had relatives who fought and some died during those battles.

In Australia there is a surge from the media to spread discontent through our nation that we shouldn't celebrate ANZAC day because it is upsetting to people from other countries who choose to come and live here.  I don't agree with this.  Immigrants 'choose' to live in Australia and most adopt the Australian way of life while they live here. Many were Australian citizens at the time of the war and fought along side the Australian and New Zealand men as one.  I doubt this discontent is raised in other countries where ANZAC services are conducted we are at peace with our neighbours and largely with most countries, certainly most of those involved in WW1.

Dawn ANZAC Service in Doha overlooking the city and the Persian Gulf
Last year I was at the ANZAC service in Qatar, which was also under the Ottoman rule at the time of World War I and the Turkish ambassador gave a very moving speech about the connection between the Turkish people and the Australian and New Zealand people.

I think it can be best summed up in the words of Ataturk who was a military officer during WWI and later went on to become the first president of Turkey and bought his country to independence.

Those heros that shed their blood
and lost their lives.
You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country
Therefore rest in peace.
There is no difference between the Johnnies
and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side
here in this country of ours.
You the mothers
who sent their sons from far away countries
wipe away your tears.
Your sons are now living in our bosom
and are in peace.
Having lost their lives on this land they have
become our sons as well.

Mustafa Kemel Ataturk - 1934

Slouch hat worn by Australian troops laying in a field of flanders poppies which grew wild in the battle fields and trenches of the war zone.  

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.


Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Making Yoghurt and Labneh

Labneh is a yoghurt cheese eaten in the Middle East.  There are varying ideas about where it originated from, some say Turkey, others say Lebanon and I've been unable to clear that up.  What I do know however is that it is a very tasty soft cheese and so easy to make at home.
Camels on the beach at Sealine Resort, Qatar
I start by making my own yoghurt but you can also use a good store bought one like natural Greek Yoghurt.  I also have an EasiYo Yoghurt maker which is actually just like a large thermos but you don't need to use the EasiYo powders you can just use the method below.  If you don't have an EasiYo maker you could substitute it for a thermos or place the bowl of yoghurt in the oven (turned off) to keep warm. A large sterilized jar wrapped in towels works well too.

Homemade Yoghurt
1/2 cup natural yoghurt without added thickeners.
1/2 cup dried milk powder
3 cups milk

In a large saucepan slowly bring the milk to a light simmer and then turn off the heat.  Add the dried milk powder being careful to avoid lumps.  I stir in a little of the milk into the milk powder first and then add the creamed mixture to the saucepan.
Add the yoghurt and stir well to combine.
Place the yoghurt into your choice of container (EasiYo, thermos, jar, bowl and oven) 6 to 8 hours or overnight.
Thick yoghurt after being overnight in the EasiYo maker
Labneh (Yoghurt Cheese)
1 litre yoghurt (4 cups)
1 tspn sea salt

Mix the salt into the yoghurt and pour into a strainer that has been lined with cheesecloth or other open weave fabric like muslin.

Pull up the sides of the cloth and tie it off around the top with string leaving a long end so that you can use it to suspend the cheese while it drains.  I suspended mine in the kitchen for a few hours and then put it into the fridge just sitting in the cloth and in the strainer over the bowl.

Leave to drip for 24 hours and then unwrap your Labneh.  You can see in the photo below that it has become quite firm and holds it's shape.  Give it a bit of a knead and it is ready to eat.  It's amazing and it's that easy!

Labneh after 24 hours draining - about 1 1/4 cups
The liquid that drips from the yoghurt is the whey and it can be used in cakes, biscuits, scones, pancakes or many other recipes so don't throw that away.  You can freeze it for a later day.

Cucumber slices and celery spread with creamy Labneh
Labneh can be flavoured with herbs or spices to suit your taste.  Mint adds an authentic middle eastern flavour.  You can spread it on crackers, eat it with flat breads spread in on a sandwich, fill the hollow in celery sticks, use it as a dip with vegetables, it is really up to your imagination.  Use it where you would use cream cheese.  I have mixed in fresh chives and parsley straight from the garden and ate these for lunch.  Very nice but I prefer the celery ones to the cucumber ones.


Sunday, 22 April 2012

Weekly Wrap Up

I'm a bit late with my Weekly Wrap Up post today but finally here it is.


This was a little showcase of the socks I have knit over the past couple of years.  Socks for friends and family and for myself of course.  Lovely to wear around on cold tile floors.  I justified my spending on expensive yarns in this post but I'm not quite sure who I'm justifying myself too or if I'm just trying to convince myself that it's okay.
Updated photo of the guest room makeover with new mirror and fish photo frame on the wall, hand knitted nautical pillow finished just in time, and reflected in the mirror you can just see a little wooden pelican hanger on the window.

I have family from interstate coming to stay next week and desperately needed to do some decorating in the spare room.  I've added a couple more things to it today so above is an updated photo I took this morning.  I just need to add some family photos in the fishy frame.  I'm kind of sentimental and I love to have things spread around our house that remind me of places we have travelled to.  The picture above the bed was drawn for us by an old friend.  It is of Townsville in Queensland looking towards Castle Hill, we used to live there about 15 years ago.  The wasp light was bought on our trip to Thailand.  The picture of the boats on the end wall was bought in Qatar and is a painting of the Dhow's which are the traditional fishing boats there.


I loved recycling an old CD tower into a pot plant stand.  Now I'm on the lookout for more interesting pieces of furniture that I can use in the garden.  An internet search has lead me to some amazing ideas and given me lots of inspiration but I particularly love these below.  I would like to give credit to the original owners of these photos but I honestly can't find who they are.  I've followed the links as far as I can but it seems that others, like me, have borrow these beautiful photos.

I think this is perhaps one of the most beautiful things I've seen :D

Old piano used as a water feature.
I feel like I have accomplished what I wanted to this week, I hope you have had a good week too.


Saturday, 21 April 2012

Parade of Socks

Today's post is about socks,  knitted socks!  We've already established that I love to knit socks and that it is way more economical to actually go out and buy them, but knitting is my hobby and therefore I count the cost not in the clothing budget but in the 'entertainment' budget.  A pair of knitted socks can cost anywhere from $5 to $30 depending on the yarn you have used.  The top end being something like cashmere or alpaca socks of course!

Pattern - 'Tesserae Sock' by Anne Hanson
The entertainment goes on for a few weeks, being the time it takes me to actually produce a pair that can be worn, so I think that even at the top end of $20 to $30 a pair that is only about $8 - $10 a week for entertainment.  Quite a number of these socks have also been Birthday, Christmas or Mother's Day gifts making them even more economical and able to come from the 'Gifts' budget.

Here is a parade of socks I have knitted for myself, friends and family. I hope you enjoy watching the slideshow I put together.  It's my first time producing a slideshow that will merge with my blog layout.


This last pair of socks are knit from a yarn I hand dyed using some fresh Turmeric root.  I love their bright sunny look, enough to brighten even the dullest wintery day.

Pattern - 'Spring Socks Orla' by Andrea D 

To learn more about how to dye your own yarn with natural dyes sources from nature or your own garden you can check out this helpful website. All Natural Dyeing


Thursday, 19 April 2012

Decorating the Spare Room

We have a fairly large family with 2 adults and 4 children, who are now all adults themselves, and so having a spare room or guest room was never an option before now.  For years I have also dreamt of having a craft room but that too was impossible.  Over the last few months two of my children have moved away from home to go to University and so I have not one but two rooms free!

I wanted to keep the rooms available for the kids to sleep in when they come home so I have designed the 'Guest Room' around a boyish theme so that my son wouldn't have to sleep amongst all my pink, floral and lace stuff in his old room, and with the 'Craft room/office/spare room' I am letting my hair down and going wild with colour because I know my daughter will love it as much as I do when she comes to stay in her old room.

The 'Before' photo
I have been working on the guest room over the past few weeks, getting it ready for my Mum and her sister who are coming to stay for 3 weeks soon to help me celebrate my 50th birthday.

A Wasp light shade bought on holiday in Thailand
One of the things I had to put in this room was a 'wasp light' that we bought while we were on holidays in Thailand.  We saw these amazing light covers at the night markets in Chiang Mai.  They came in a small box completely flat packed and I didn't know whether I would ever be able to actually make it but in the end it was surprisingly easy.

Finished Light Shade
These are the after photos of the 'Guest Room', I've chosen a nautical theme which came about only because I found this 'Koo' bedspread on sale at Spotlight for $40.  I added a couple of $1 bunches of reeds in a cheap ceramic pot, some pictures we already had and painted an old chair white.

The 'After' photo
I've been looking around for a valance for around the bottom of the bed in either a navy or white but so far I haven't found one at a price I'm prepared to pay.  Then I saw a great idea online of covering the actual base mattress like you would if you reupholstered it so I'm going to find some fabric and try that instead.  I'm also knitting a nautical themed pillow for the centre of the bed to just finish it off.

Another 'After' Photo
The blanket box you can just see to the left of the photo is used to store all our Christmas decorations throughout the year and will make a great place for a suitcase to sit for easy access.

See the Wasp light shade hanging in the corner?  It's only being used as a decoration and not a light shade as is it's purpose but I like it.

I think next time I will get a daybed so that it can be used more during the day as a lounge or sofa and then turn into a bed for night time use.  There are some really lovely ones around and helpful websites to give you ideas on choosing furniture and budgets etc.


Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Garden Ornaments from Old Furniture

There seems to be a trend coming through at the moment where people are recycling old furniture into pots and ornaments for their garden.  If you so a search on Pinterest you will find some amazing ones.  I love the way they add bright splashes of colour to the garden when there are no flowers in bloom.  Now I say that this is a trend and not a 'new trend' because my mother has been doing this ever since I can remember.  In fact I must get her to send photos of the old boat she has turned into a frog pond so I can show you, it's wonderful.
Finished Project - CD Tower now plant shelf
You know I've been off searching at the recycling centre for odd things for pots and this was no different. I found a solid wooden CD tower for $8, and although I thought this was a bit pricey considering most things are a lot cheaper there, I wanted a really solid piece as I didn't know where it would end up, either under the patio out of the sun and rain or out in the garden fully exposed.

CD Tower before
I gave the CD Tower a light sand all over and then wiped it down with a damp cloth, let it dry and then gave it 2 coats of the bright blue paint. Then I sanded it back in places to give a slight distressed look.  I chose blue because it contrasts so well with the terracotta pots I also bought at the recycle centre for only $3 and then I picked up a few succulents to go in them.  Some I bought and others were donations from friends.

Collection of small terracotta pots 
Because these pots are tiny and don't hold a lot of soil I didn't want plants that were going to be bothered if they dried out from time to time.

Succulents for potting into the terracotta pots
The entire project, including sanding, painting and drying time for the CD Tower, plus the potting of the plants, took me an afternoon to put together and I think it was an afternoon well spent.  I have decided to put it in our patio area surrounded by other potted plants and love how it adds a great big splash of colour to an otherwise dull corner.  The little ornaments nestled amongst the plants are odds and ends that I already had.


Sunday, 15 April 2012

Weekly Wrap Up

It's that time again, time to see what actually has been accomplished at Monarch Place this week.

Looking through this post it doesn't seem that I've really done much, especially in the gardening or crafty side but I promise you there is craft happening but the projects are just not finished yet and so I can't show you.  I think there may be some to blog about this coming week though.

As I write this there is paint drying on a gardening project that I have in store for a future post and the wonderful smell of Chicken and Vegetable Soup simmering on the stovetop and it's raining outside.  It creates such a lovely cozy and homely feeling just having the aroma of the soup wafting though the house.  
Beaded Braids from the Souks in Qatar


This was a post showing another of my crazy patchwork projects.  This time a bucket that I am using to keep braids and ribbons in, many of which were bought from the souks (market places) in the Middle East.  The photos are some of the more exquisite ones and probably destined for more crazy patchwork projects but there are just not enough hours in the day at the moment.

Beautiful embroidered and beaded braids

Monarch Place is alive with cucumbers and here is the recipe I used to make Bread and Butter Cucumber Pickles.  These taste great mixed into a potato salad, served on the side with a green salad, spread onto a sandwich or burger and eaten with cheese and crackers.  Very versatile and they keep well so a good item to stock in the pantry.

Cheese with Bread and Butter Cucumber Pickles on Crackers

More about what to do with cucumbers, including a recipe for Tzatziki dip and a Tomato and Cucumber salad and dressing we ate many times in Turkish restaurants.  It is fresh and tasty.  I even froze some of the Tzatziki dip and thawed it to see how the consistency holds up.  Turns out it is okay so I'll definitely be making some more and freezing it for later.  Yes there are many many more cucumbers yet to be picked.

Thank You
I also want to thank my regular readers and also those who come across the blog accidentally through either a google search or other site like Pinterest, Facebook etc.  It is nice to know that you drop by and I welcome your comments, I love reading them.  Please consider clicking on the 'Followers' button down the right hand side if you are a regular reader too.  It makes it easy for me and others to follow your blog if you have one and if you don't well it's nice to know who my regular visitors are.


Saturday, 14 April 2012

What to do with Cucumbers

Cucumbers Cucumbers Cucumbers!
There are cucumbers everywhere here at Monarch Place.  Who would have thought that 4 little plants could produce so many fruit.

I had to set about finding things to do with them as cucumbers don't last a long time even when refrigerated so here are some of the ways I have been using them.

Salad often served in the Middle East
We ate the salad in the photo above many times while out to dinner when we lived in the Middle East.  It was most often served at Turkish restaurants.  The recipe below I created from memory and it tasted pretty good.

Cucumber and Tomato Salad
2 tomatoes diced
2 cucumbers diced
small amount of lettuce or parsley cut finely (I've used both)

Juice of 1/2 a lemon
Drizzle of Olive Oil

Mix together all the vegetables in a bowl.  Combine lemon juice and olive oil and mix into the salad.

Home made Tzatziki Dip

I love Tzatziki dip but had never made it from scratch.  I googled some recipes and found this one that worked beautifully.  It was devoured within minutes on our family Easter picnic.  

Tzatziki Dip
2 Cucumbers with seeds removed
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups Greek Yoghurt
2 - 3 cloves garlic
2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp ground cumin
Freshly ground black pepper

Half the cucumbers and scoop the seeds out with a spoon and discard.  Grate the cucumber on the course side of a grater, place in a small bowl and sprinkle with the salt.  Mix together and leave while you prepare the other ingredients.

Combine the other ingredients in a large bowl and mix gently.  Take the cucumbers and lightly squeeze the moisture out of them with your hands.  Add to the yoghurt mix and stir well.

Seeding the cucumbers
 I wanted to know if I could make Tzatziki and freeze it so that I could save it for another time but after quite an extensive search all I could fine was that a lot of other people also wanted to know the same thing but no-one really had the answers.  So I experimented and froze some of my mix for a couple of days and then defrosted it.

Freezing the Tzatziki
It seems to be almost the same as it was originally with 2 slight differences.   First it is a bit thinner than before it was frozen.  Not so much that you can't eat it but if it was a bother you could leave it to drain for awhile before serving.  The other difference is that the garlic taste is stronger.  I think I would cut the recipe back to just 2 cloves of garlic.
Defrosted Tzatziki

I also used some cucumbers to dip in the Tzatziki.  I just seeded them, as above, and cut into strips along with some carrots.
Cut vegetables to dip into the Tzatziki Dip
Tomato and cucumber slices on crackers for lunch are yummy, healthy and quick to prepare.  I can see there will be a lot more lunches like this in my future.  Add some cheese for variety.
Tomato and Cucumbers on crackers
And finally I have added to my pantry stockpile.  My daughter and I preserved some by making Bread and Butter Cucumber Pickles as per my post on Thursday this week.

What ways do you use cucumbers.  I'm going to need some more ideas as there are plenty of small fruit on the vines.


Thursday, 12 April 2012

Bread and Butter Cucumber Pickles

I had such an abundance of cucumbers from the garden this year and despite giving them away to friends and family, and eating them ourselves in all sorts of different ways, I still had way too many.  I also like to stockpile the pantry so I knew that making Bread and Butter Cucumber Pickles would be the way to go.

Bread and Butter Cucumber Pickles

My daughter was keen to come and join me so we spent a lovely afternoon together in the kitchen, preparing food for our families.

Prepare the ingredients (note: the Cummin powder in this photo was not part of this recipe)
 Bread and Butter Cucumber Pickle
12 lebanese cucumbers
sea salt
4 cups White Vinegar
1 cups Raw Sugar
1 tbsp Yellow Mustard Seeds
1 tsp Tumeric Powder
1 tbsp Coriander Seeds

Wash and sterilize your storage jars in any method you choose.  I boil the kettle and fill the jars up and their upturned lids and leave them until ready to be used.  You could also put them in the oven for about 20 minutes.

Slice the cucumbers thinly and sprinkle with salt.  Leave for a few hours or overnight and then rinse and drain.  Pack lightly into sterilized jars.

Place all the other ingredients into a saucepan and heat over a medium heat and cook stirring for about 3 minutes.  Turn off the heat and cool slightly.  Pour over cucumbers in the jars and seal tightly.

Slicing the cucumbers
I picked up this handy slicer at a second hand shop, then when I bought it home put it through a hot wash on the dishwasher and also poured boiling water over it to sterilize it.  It only cost me $3 and works so well, especially for this job that I consider it $3 well spent.

Salting and resting the sliced cucumbers
I left the cucumber slices sprinkled with salt for about 2 hours before continuing with the pickling.  This is the longest part of the process as the rest is very quick and easy.  You could leave them overnight too.  The salt softens the cucumber and draws out excess moisture.

Simmering the pickling brine 
Cucumber slices packed into sterilized jars
 My 12 cucumbers and the qualities in the recipe above made these 7 jars.  The cucumbers are not packed tightly because I wanted all pieces covered with the pickling brine.

Pouring on the pickling brine
I pour the pickling brine on while it is still quite hot so that once the jars lids are on tightly the pressure from the hot liquid causes a vacuum inside the jar and the freshness pop seal on the lids 'pop' back in.  If one doesn't seal like this I will use that one first and keep it in the fridge.  The others I have stored in my pantry.

Leave the cucumbers to pickle for a few days before using.

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