Cucumbers in our house usually end up rotting into a slimy mess at the bottom of our produce drawer. Staring at the boxes and boxes of cucumbers (as well as tomatoes and green peppers!) and trying to think of what to do with them reminds me of Bubba from Forest Gump and the many ways he can imagine preparing shrimp:
“You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, saute it. Dey’s uh, shrimp kebabs, shrimp creole, shrimp gumbo. Pan fried, deep fried, stir-fried. There’s pineapple shrimp, lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp, pepper shrimp, shrimp soup, shrimp stew, shrimp salad, shrimp and potatoes, shrimp burger, shrimp sandwich.”
Except I’ve got cucumbers so my list looks more like this:
Cucumber gin and tonics, cucumber martinis, cucumber stir-fry (yes!), cucumber gazpacho, cucumber sandwiches, cucumber salad, cucumber pickles – hells yeah!
I experimented with making kosher dill pickles (through lacto-fermentation) and “bread and butter” pickles which (using vinegar) which are also known as sweet and sour pickles. My attempt at making kosher dill pickles was a disaster. I couldn’t find pickling spice in Dubai so tried making my own but the recipe that I used had too many cloves for my taste and all I tasted was clove pickles.
But these bread and butter pickles that I adapted from this food.com recipe turned out to be a winner. They were simple to prepare so a great introduction to the world of pickling and canning.
This was my second batch and Wee Scotch, who would always pick out the pickles from of his hamburgers (to give to me because I love pickles), actually tasted my homemade pickles and proclaimed, “These are the best pickles EVER, Mama!” and asked for more. LiL Ginger will eat them too because she adores her brother and will eat practically everything she sees him eat.
Below is the recipe with the proportions that I used. The original recipe calls for equal parts vinegar and sugar but that was too sweet for my taste so I scaled back the sugar a little. I sterilized my jars and lids by running them through the dishwasher or boiling them in a large pot of hot water. If you want to store your pickles outside of the fridge, you will need to properly sterilize and process them first. This recipe from Elise at SimplyRecipes.com has thorough instructions on how to do that.
So if you ever find yourself with an abundance of cucumbers like us, make your own pickles! Less preservatives and you can tailor the taste to suit you and your family.
Thank you for reading and enjoy!
Bread and Butter Pickles
- 1 kg (2.2 lbs) cucumbers
- 1 large onion , thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons coarse sea salt
- 2 cups of ice
- 2 cups cider vinegar
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon mustard seed
- 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
Thoroughly clean and rinse cucumbers.
Cut cucumbers into slices and/or spears or however you like them. I left the skin on otherwise they get too floppy when pickled.
Combine cucumbers, onions and salt in a large bowl and mix well. Add the ice on top so that the cucumbers are covered and try to weigh the cucumbers down (I used a heavy large plate). Allow mixture to stand for 3 hours.
Rinse and drain the cucumbers and onions thoroughly. (I actually discarded the onions at this point because I did not want an overly oniony taste but most recipes pack them in the jars with the cucumbers).
Combine vinegar, sugar, turmeric, celery seed and mustard seed in a large pot and bring to a boil.
Add the drained cucumbers and bring just to a boil then remove from heat.
When the cucumber-vinegar mixture are cool enough to handle, pack the cucumbers in sterilized jars (use tongs, slotted spoon, or chopsticks). Pour the pickling liquid into the jars, wipe the jars clean, seal and store in the refrigerator.
This recipe had enough cucumbers and vinegar solution to fill one jar that was 0.5L in volume and one jar that was 1.0L in volume (purchased from IKEA) so 1.5L in total.