This year I have been able to harvest almost 40 pounds of cucumbers. I must tell you there is only two of us so I needed a plan and had to find ways to use them. I made greek salads and cucumber water but still had more cucumbers than I could deal with. I shared cucumbers with family and friends but still had too many.
One day at the community garden a friend asked why I didn’t make ice cream bucket pickles. I looked at her puzzled. She offered to send me a recipe and I was happy to try it. It’s now become a staple in our fridge. The pickles are not only crisp but even people who don’t like sweet pickles, love these. My daughter has made them with less sugar and they turned out well.
Ice cream bucket pickles:
4 cups sugar
2 cups white vinegar
2 tbsp. pickling salt
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp mustard seed
1 tsp. celery seed
5 cucumbers with peel, sliced thin
1 large red pepper, seeded, cut in slices
1 large green pepper, seeded, cut in slices
1 large sweet onions, sliced
Method: Fill a tall jar ( I used a tall narrow jar about 2 litres in size for ease of storage) or clean ice cream pail with your sliced vegetables. I add sliced red and green peppers to the jar as well as chopped cauliflower if I have it on hand. Next combine the sugar, vinegar, salt and spices and blend well. Pour this brine over your vegetables in the pail and place in the fridge. If you notice vegetables above the brine, don’t worry. After a few hours they will shrink down. Leave in the fridge for a couple of days for the flavours to combine. Use as a side dish or on sandwiches and burgers. You will never buy a jar of pickles again. Okay, I now have three jars of ice cream bucket pickles in the fridge. It’s said they will last six months but each jar lasts us two weeks.They are delicious!
I stopped going out to harvest for a few days as we had heavy rains for the first time in months. What was I thinking? I ended up with 20 cucumbers! Okay I have already made relish and pickles, what could I make next? Another friend saved the day with her recipe for cucumber salad. It called for 12 cups of sliced cucumbers.
12 cups sliced cucumbers
2 large sliced white onions
2 tbsp. pickling salt
Place cucumbers and onions in a large bowl and sprinkle with pickling salt. Mix together and set bowl in fridge overnight.
3 cups of Real Mayonnaise
1/2 cup white vinegar
3/4 cup white sugar
Mix the mayonnaise, vinegar and sugar together in a bowl. Take cucumber-onion mix out of the fridge the next day and drain well. Pour mayonnaise mixture over vegetables and mix well to coat. Place in fridge overnight. Yes, again. Place in clean jars and store in the fridge for up to six months. Mind you it’s so good it won’t last that long.
By now I am probably considered the crazy pickle lady. I keep giving pickles to family members and they are too polite to refuse.
Even though I have made relish and two different kinds of pickles I have more cucumbers left in the garden. The vines are looking like they are ready to pulled after the night-time temperatures dropped to 6C last week. I almost want to sigh with relief.
I found an interesting recipe called Avocado Cucumber soup. I have never tried a cold soup so this was my first. I made it this morning and with the first batch I forgot to add the chicken broth. I could have added it at the end but changed my mind. I was left with a creamy delicious cucumber avocado dip. Who loves dip? I sure do. I have decided to use it with chicken, pita bread and a greek salad for tonight’s dinner. The second batch of soup was made adding the chicken broth and is in the freezer. Yes, you can freeze this to use later in the season. I like the dip so much I will make some to freeze for those fall and winter nights when we have guests over. After all I still have a few cucumbers and a huge crop of jalapeno peppers. If only I could grow avocados here. Here is the link for the recipe I used for the soup and my recipe for relish.
Have you any great recipes for cucumbers? One thing I do know is I will grow less cucumbers next year. One plant may do. I am tallying up how many pounds of food I have harvested in the garden this year. I think it will be a big surprise.