Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Cucumbers' Journey to Refrigerator Pickles

This is an old picture from July when the cucumbers were at their peak. Back then it was summer so I was outside all the time, and not on the computer. Unlike now that it gets dark so early I can't get off this thing. Boo I hate winter.

Anyhow, it was pretty exciting at the time. My first attempt at any sort of home preserving! These were just refrigerator pickles, that did not involve any actual processing, so they only lasted a couple weeks. But they sure were absolutely delicious!

On the left are the white cucmbers I got for free from Park Seed. On the right were long thin green cucumbers. I'm not sure what type exactly, but they were a nice healthy plug plant from the nursery.

Here is the recipe I used, from Stellamarie over at the ppk:
This is my friend's mom's easy and yummy recipe for some damn fine 24 hour pickles. It works with carrots, green beans, cucumbers (unwaxed), cauliflower, etc etc:
Boil together:
6 cups water

1 cup plus an extra splash or two vinegar (white vinegar)
1/4 cup kosher salt

1/2 cup sugar (it doesn't make sweet pickles this is just to mellow it out. if you want sweet pickles you need more sugar)

Boil til dissolved and cool fully (you don't want to cook the veggies when you pour this on them later) Meanwhile, peel a whole bunch of garlic cloves (6 or 8 per jar) and have your veggies washed and cut into pickle size. Also, plan on about 2 herb boxes (the boxes from the store) of dill for every three regular canning jars. Smash the garlic cloves a little bit with the flat side of your chef knife if you really like garlic. When the vinegar mixture is totally cooled off, put a few garlic cloves, small handful of dill and handful of veggies in the jar. Then more garlic, more dill, more veggies, making layers. Repeat layers depending on how big your jar is. Pour vinegar mixture on top to fill, then put in frig for 24 hours. Eat delicious pickles. You can re-use the brine 2 more times, just put more veggies in.

I used just regular course sea salt because it was all I had, plus a combo of fresh & dried dill + dill seeds, garlic, jalapeno, & peppercorns. I also added red onion sliced thin.

I made one other quart jar in addition to the two in the picture and gave it to my Dad. I think he was an unbeliever at first, but ended up loving them! He has mentioned how good they were several times since then.

Unfortunately I didn't realize that cucumbers will only produce for so long, and you should do successive planting if you want them to last all season. Mine died out at the end of August. Here are a succession of garden shots so we can see their progress over the season:

June 23rd: Getting There!
July 25th: Awesome!
July 27th: Yummy!August 16th: On their last yellowing legs.Sept 3rd: totally dried up. :-(


Jeni Treehugger said...

Mmmm...they sure look lovely! Unfortunately the Seeds for my cukes were meant to be Dutch Cucumbers (it's what was on the packet) but they weren't. Not sure what type they were but they only grew to about 5 inches - would have been perfect for canning - but they were fated to be in my Salad instead!
I'll buy some Seeds from a different supplier next year and sow both types.

Aubade said...

Hmm, I was just looking into this whole dying cucumber issue. I think they may have had bacterial wilt, and that's why they died!

Will have to watch out for cucumber beetles this year.

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