Monday, August 22, 2011
This is the season for an abundance of cucumbers in my garden. We have been eating these with tomatoes so many meals, and I was looking for an easy pickle recipe that could use a lot of them at once without getting out the canner and heating up the kitchen. Unfortunately, the extreme heat during July adversely affected my pickle cucumbers, causing the plants to die out before I was able to get more than a few off the plant. I had tried a couple long cucumber varieties, but was disappointed to find that they would grow much larger around on one end, having a larger seed section. Anyways, since I have so many of these larger cucumbers, I decided to try using them in the pickle recipe.
My sister-in-law shared this recipe with me, and I did not see how they would have flavor and be crunchy. However, they turned out very well- crunchy with a nice slightly tangy/sweet flavor, resembling the bread and butter pickles. The onions look like they would still be raw but they have a crunch with the flavor of the pickle juice- nothing like a raw onion. In addition, I did not add in the green peppers but added some mustard seed to the mixture. After storing these in the refrigerator and stirring them everyday for 4 days, you can put them into freezer containers, or I have just kept some in the fridge and they are still great indefinitely. I also used a crinkle cutter blade and even removed some of the seeds on some of the larger cucumbers and simply cut them into some chunks.
7 cups sliced cucumbers
1 cup onions, sliced (may use sweet or cooking onions)
1 cup green peppers, sliced (optional)
Place the following ingredients in a large 4-5 quart bowl with a lid:
1 cup white vinegar
2 cups sugar
1/2 Tbsp salt
1 Tbsp celery seed
1 Tbsp mustard seed (may use less, optional)
Combine ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil about a minute or until the sugar has completely dissolved, stirring well. Cool it down somewhat. (The recipe says cool completely, but I poured it over while still warm.) Pour syrup over the cucumber mixture and stir around. (The cucumbers will be higher than the liquid.) Put in the refrigerator.
Once a day, remove from the refrigerator and stir cucumbers, bringing the cucumber slices on top to the bottom. You will note that the cucumbers will add to the liquid and eventually the liquid will cover the cucumber mixture. On the fourth or fifth day, you may put them in freezer containers and then freeze. When ready to eat them, remove from the freezer and allow to thaw before serving.
The challenge with this recipe will be having enough pickles left at the end of the 4 or 5 days to actually freeze- if you can resist nibbling along the way!