By Dan RahnUniversity of GeorgiaCountless gardeners have planted cucumbers with one thought in mind: pickles. Volume XXXIINumber 1Page 6 Cucumbers are easy to grow, said George Boyhan, a Cooperative Extension horticulturist with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.”But they do require some space to spread out,” he said.A number of diseases and insects attack cucumbers, he said, but they’re still fairly easy to grow from transplants or seeds. They’re easier to grow in the spring and early summer. In the fall, insects can be troublesome.Males outnumberedIn packets of cucumber seeds, Boyhan said, 90 percent of the seeds may be brightly colored and 10 percent plain. The bright color indicates a seed treatment and a special type that produces only female flowers and yields more fruit. The untreated seeds produce female and male flowers, providing a pollen source.Plant the seeds an inch and a half deep, usually between April 1 and May 15, leaving 3 to 4 feet between rows and almost as much between plants, he said. Cucumbers need about 60 days to mature.Garden cucumber varieties come in two main types. If you want to eat them fresh, by themselves or in salads, grow a slicing type.”They have dark green rinds with tender, mild flesh,” Boyhan said. “Pick them when they’re about 6 inches long.” If they get much bigger, the seeds will get too hard to eat.The pickling kindIt’s the other type that people have used in pickling worldwide for hundreds and probably thousands of years. “When you think of pickles,” Boyhan said, “you’re thinking of pickled cucumbers.”This type, he said, will turn lighter green or yellowish as it matures. With a more bitter taste, it’s not as good for eating fresh. But its thin skin and spines help it absorb the vinegar solution used in pickling.As with the slicing type, he said, pick these cucumbers when they’re immature, before the seeds begin to harden. Once you’ve picked them, it’s time to pickle them.What began in ancient times as a fermentation process is now most often a fresh-pack or quick pickling process, says Elizabeth Andress, a UGA Extension food safety specialist and director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Center for Home Food Preservation.”Quick pickling is by far the most popular process,” Andress said. “Fermenting limits you to the dill types. But quick pickling allows many more choices of flavors.”With the vinegar brine of the quick pickling process, sugar and many spices can be added to make cucumbers sour, sweet, hot or mild with an almost endless array of flavors.Be carefulThere’s no shortage of recipes out there, but that makes Andress nervous.”If you don’t have enough acid in the pickles, there’s a danger of botulism,” she said. “Always use a recipe from a reliable source, and never substitute any ingredient that could alter the ratio between the amount of acid and the other ingredients.”Even if you’ve never pickled anything before, making pickles of your cucumbers is still an easy option, Andress said. If you can read a recipe, you can do it.”The easiest thing to learn is the quick-pickling process,” she said. “If you want to store the pickles at room temperature, you’ll have to learn at least boiling-water canning, too. You’ll need some jars and lids, and a canner. But it’s not hard.”A number of recipes and other instructions are on the Web at www.homefoodpreservation.com. Another great resource is the new edition of the UGA Extension book, “So Easy to Preserve” and a separate “So Easy to Preserve” DVD.The books are $18 and the DVDs $39.95, shipping included. You can get order forms for either at www.uga.edu/setp. Or contact the county UGA Extension office at 1-800-ASK-UGA1.(Dan Rahn is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)
MASTERFUL PERFORMANCE—“Pretty Boy” Floyd Mayweather Jr., right, connects against “Sugar” Shane Mosley during their WBA welterweight boxing match May 1, in Las Vegas. by Tim DahlbergAssociate Press Writer LAS VEGAS (AP)—Floyd Mayweather Jr. is usually content to just win a fight. This time, though, Money Mayweather wanted to earn his cash.Fighting more aggressively than usual, Mayweather overcame a near knockdown in the second round Saturday night to dominate the rest of the way and win a lopsided 12-round decision over Shane Mosley in their welterweight showdown.“I wanted to give the fans what they wanted to see, a toe-to-toe battle,” Mayweather said. “It wasn’t the same style for me but I wanted to be aggressive and I knew I could do it.” Boxing’s biggest box office draw remained undefeated in 41 fights, but not before giving his fans and his corner a scare when a right hand to the side of his head buckled his knees a minute into the second, and he had to grab Mosley to avoid going down. Mosley landed another right later in the round, but the rest of the night belonged to Mayweather.If he didn’t please everyone, it was because he couldn’t knock out Mosley. But Mayweather won every minute of every round after the second and the normally defensive-minded fighter kept after Mosley until the final bell in a masterful performance that earned him every dollar of his guaranteed $22.5 million payday.“I think we could have pressed the attack a lot earlier, and then we could have got the knockout,” Mayweather said.Fighting before a star-studded crowd that included Muhammad Ali, Mayweather never came close to dropping Mosley, but landed so many more punches that the outcome wasn’t in doubt past the middle rounds. He had an answer for everything Mosley tried to do, landing right hands to the head seemingly at will as the fight progressed.By the end of the night, Mayweather had put so many rounds in the bank that the only question was whether he would stop Mosley or be content to win a lopsided decision. Mayweather kept moving forward and continued to press the issue in a fight that wasn’t in doubt.Two ringside judges scored it 119-109 for Mayweather, while the third had it 118-110. All had him winning every round past the second.The Associated Press had Mayweather winning 117-110.Ringside punch statistics were as one-sided as the scorecards. They showed Mayweather landing 208 of 477 punches to 92 of 452 for Mosley.Mayweather made Mosley look every bit his 38 years as he landed sharp punches to his head, dominating a fighter who had vowed to turn the bout into the fight of the decade. Mosley tried his best, but couldn’t match the speed of the 33-year-old Mayweather, who grew more comfortable with each passing round.Mosley was a substitute for Manny Pacquiao, who was all but signed to meet Mayweather until a dispute over drug testing derailed the megafight. Instead, Pacquiao beat Joshua Clottey on March 13 in Dallas and is campaigning for a seat in Congress in his native Philippines.“If Manny Pacquiao can take a blood and urine test then we have a fight,” Mayweather said. “If not, no fight.”Pacquiao, who watched the fight in the Philippines, told Manilla radio station DZBB that he would agree to blood testing, but only if it is not taken within 24 days of the fight. That is basically the same stance that derailed the fight the first time around.“For me, as long as the drug test is not done close to the match, I’ll agree because if they’ll get blood from me close to the match, it will be a disadvantage for me because I’m smaller and he’s big,” Pacquiao said.Mosley almost ruined a lot of Mayweather’s best-laid plans when he landed the big right hand in the second that brought the fans at the MGM Grand Arena to their feet. They chanted “Mosley! Mosley!” as he followed Mayweather around the ring, landing another good right hand before the bell rang to end the round.“It’s a contact sport, and you’re going to get hit,” Mayweather said. “But when you get hit, you suck it up and keep on fighting. That’s what I did. I’m happy we finally had a chance to fight. This is a fight the fans have been looking forward to for a long time, and they deserve it.”Mosley’s second-round flourish was his last hurrah. Mayweather came out in the third and began landing some shots of his own, while Mosley couldn’t find his mark.“I caught him with my big right hand and I tried to move around but by that time he was too quick and I was too tight,” Mosley said. “After the right hand I thought I needed to knock him out and I needed to do it sooner than later. But I couldn’t adjust and he did.”Mosley said he thought the 15-month layoff since his last fight hurt him, as did a stiff neck. But Mayweather had a lot to do with his ineffectiveness, too, fighting his fight and refusing to allow Mosley to dictate the pace.Mosley’s corner kept imploring the fighter to throw his jab more and fight his way inside, but Mosley was content to try to load up to hurt Mayweather with a big punch that didn’t come.“You can’t wait for one big shot, you’ve got to wake up,” Mosley’s trainer told him after the seventh round.By the 10th round, Naazim Richardson was even more frantic, telling Mosley he needed a knockout.Mayweather, who earned $2,500 in his pro debut 14 years ago, was guaranteed $22.5 million but probably will end up with much more once the final pay-per-view buys are added up. Mosley was guaranteed $7 million, and also had a share in the television revenues.