Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Wendy wonders what to do with 10 cucumbers?

This weekend I went out to harvest my garden. I had been a little lax- usually it is my husband who forages beneath the leaves for the few edible jewels we manage to grow. Our garden has been a disaster this year- the tomatoes and eggplants are finally succumbing to the deluge of shade from the surrounding trees. We had amazing lettuce, snow peas and cilantro before the weather warmed but now, the garden looks like a disaster zone of oddly miniature plants. The tomatoes that should be chest high are still only one foot tall.

So imagine my surprise when I started peeking under the cucumber leaves- one, two, three...ten cucumbers! Good size ones too...what the heck was I going to do with 10 cucumbers all at once. My husband, my daughter and I love the food fresh from the garden but this was going to tax us. The neighbors were all away or reeling from their own garden abundance. I couldn’t foist any off on my parents who dropped by for a visit. My brother traded me cucumbers for eggs from his own chickens but as he took them he started thinking about his own garden and what might be waiting at home— I pushed him out the door before he reconsidered.

So I was down to 8. I knew I could bring a few into Farm Aid on Monday but what about the rest?

Well.. I decided to make pickles. My father has used a refrigerator quick cure vodka dill pickle recipe that he swears lasts for 6 months in the fridge in unopened jars. Me.. 2 months tops is the longest I will keep them.

Anyway, the cucumbers have been pickled. I haven’t tried them yet but I might today when I head home. If you want to try the recipe for yourself here it is. I’m not sure who, if anyone, needs to be credited but my Dad got the recipe from somewhere many, many years ago.

This recipe makes a one quart jar of pickles.

3 med cukes sliced the way you like them put in the jar (I usually sterilize the jar in boiling water first)
Boil 2 C of water then remove from heat and add
1/4 C non-iodized Kosher salt (I find 1/4 C to be too salty so I add less)
1/4 C vodka
1/2 C vinegar
6 garlic cloves crushed
(a few hot chili peppers can be nice too!)
1 Tbsp picking spice (or some mix of peppercorns, mustard seed, cloves, coriander etc)
Fresh Dill (chopped if you like them to rest on the pickles or use the whole branch if you like your pickles straight)
Pour over the cucumbers in the jar and cap.

After 1-3 days in the refrigerator- Enjoy!

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