Cucumber conundrum? Make quick work of cukes

Cucumber conundrum? Make quick work of cukes

Coming up Thursday, August 22, on Joel in the Garden: What to do with your cucumbers.

Do you have a favorite cucumber recipe? Share your tips in the comments or on Facebook

EUGENE, Ore. — Gardeners are picking plenty of cucumbers off the vines. But those green veggies don’t stay fresh for very long. That means gardeners have to work fast in order to make pickles.

The heat of summer may be winding down, but one of my unexpected success stories of 2013 in the garden has been lemon cucumbers. I picked around a dozen of them so far.

Some are about as big as my fist.

But rather than canning them like a regular pickle, I wanted to try making a brine solution. To do that, I need a handful of ingredients, including vinegar, salt, peppercorns and some dill.

First, heat up about two cups of water in a pot, and stir in about a fourth cup of salt. It doesn't need to boil, just needs to be warm enough to dissolve the salt. Next, combine that with two cups of vinegar. Then, I added in my dill, peppercorns and some red pepper flakes.

Now it's time to clean up your cucumbers. Make sure they're thoroughly washed. I've sliced off the ends and then sliced them into pieces thinner than a quarter inch. Now you can add them to your solution. You can add as many as you like until the bowl is full.

Before you close the lid, force out as much air as possible to create a vacuum type seal. Now, you can put them in the fridge to ferment for about a week, or until they reach the crispness and flavor you're looking for.

Brine Recipe:

2 cups water
2 cups white vinegar
¼ cup sea salt
Red pepper flakes
2-3 ripe dill leaves
1 clove of garlic
2-3 sliced lemon cucumbers

Directions: In a pot, heat up water and stir in sea salt. Once the salt is dissolved, combine water and vinegar into a bowl. You can add your cucumbers directly to the bowl, but the process works better if you place the cucumbers and dill into a jar or bowl first, then pour the vinegar solution on top. Your red pepper flakes will add a little spice, and the garlic will add flavor.

Seal the bowl or jar, leaving cucumbers fully submerged in the solution, any exposed cucumbers will not completely ferment. Place the container in the fridge and allow it to sit for about a week. But you can sample them after 3-4 days.

What are your cucumber recipes and tips? Post a comment