Creating a Life of Plenty

The Summer Harvest: Cucumbers


The cucumbers have started to mature and ripen and I collecting one or more every day now. I think (and hope) that that yield will increase as the next few weeks pass. I grew a new variety this year and I am uncertain I will grow them again.

These are an English Chelsea pride cucumber. English cucumbers are the longer, sometimes thinner cucumbers you see in the grocery store wrapped in plastic and they are usually quite a bit more expensive than standard cucumbers.

Perhaps it is my lack of familiarity with this variety and their preferred growing habits, but the plants are not vining up the trellises like I had hoped, instead they are bunching in vines…this leads to cucumbers that bend and twist as they grow, not what I was hoping for…the flavor on the other hand is marvelous so perhaps I can adjust they way I grow them next year…that I will decide on later.

Last night I determined I had enough cucumbers to eat for a few days so I decided to use the extra and make freezer pickles. I could have canned some, but these are equally good on burgers and as relish (sweet) if they are frozen and keep for more than 6 months which will get me to February of next year with cucumbers from this year’s harvest. I may can a few jars up for friends and to extend until next summer, but for the most part, the cucumbers will be eaten fresh or made into these crisp, delicious chips!

Freezer Pickles

2-3 cucumbers sliced medium to thick on a mandolin (I like my Japanese Benriner for this job)
2 shallots or 1 small onion (also sliced on the mandolin)
2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt
½ cup cider vinegar
1/8 cup granulated sugar
Pinch of ground turmeric
Pinch of celery, dill or mustard seed (or a combination)

Slice the onion/shallot and cucumbers into a large bowl and sprinkle with salt and mix. Cover the bowl and allow to sit at room temperature for 2 hours to draw out water. Drain and rinse the cucumber onion mix and rinse in a colander or sieve. Rinse and dry the bowl.

Return the mix to the bowl. Add the vinegar, sugar and spices and mix to ensure that the sugar has dissolved. Cover the bowl and allow to sit in the refrigerator overnight.

Transfer the pickles to smaller containers (serving size or slightly larger) and freeze. Allow to thaw to room temperature before serving and use within a week of thawing.

Happy Gardening!

Leave a Reply