I am harvesting so many cucumbers this summer that even after sharing with friends and neighbours, I am left with more than my family can eat! This has inspired me to preserve them this year and I have decided to make pickles.
So another batch harvested this week and I am going to try my hand at bottling them so that we can enjoy the cucumbers at a later date.
I have explored several recipes but decided to adapt them to suit my family’s taste. I started by washing the cucumbers before slicing them and then added rock salt. I covered the slices with a dinner plate, weighed it down with a heavy weight and then left the whole bowl in the fridge overnight. This helped to draw a lot of the water out of the cucumber slices. These slices were then rinsed in cold water and drained the next day.
I decided to use a variety of ingredients to flavour the cucumber pickle. Fresh jalepenos, chillies and bay leaves from the kitchen garden, garlic slices and crushed garlic, turmeric powder, dill seeds and split mustard seeds. Different combinations in four separate jars …this is so much fun creating!!
I made the main pickling liquid by boiling apple cider vinegar which I diluted with water as my family prefers a more mellow taste. To this, I added some soft brown unrefined sugar and turmeric powder too. The liquid was brought to a boil and was ready once the sugar dissolved. Meanwhile, I prepared the recycled jam jars by washing them in hot soapy water and then popping them in a low oven, 120c fan for 25 mins.
Once the bottles were ready, they were filled with the drained brined cucumber slices and the following were added in the four jars:
- sliced garlic and jalepenos
- crushed whole clove of garlic and whole Ring of Fire chillies (pricked at the top with a sharp knife)
- bay leaves with split mustard seeds and dill seeds
- whole green Aji Limon chillies (pricked at the top with a sharp knife) and split mustard and dill seeds
The jars were all filled to the top with the hot pickling liquid and the cleaned lids screwed on tightly. Now to leave them for a while … see how long we can resist opening a jar to have a little taste. A few weeks is a must to allow the vinegar and spices to do their job!
Are you tempted to make some this summer?
Spiced tangy pickled cucumber slices for a taste of summer anytime of the year!
- 1 kilogram cucumbers
- 80 grams rock salt
- 350 ml apple cider vinegar
- 350 ml water
- 70 grams soft brown unrefined sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 4 jam jars washed clean
5 small fresh bay leaves, 1 crushed clove of garlic, 1 sliced clove of garlic, 1/2 teaspoon of split mustard seeds, 1/2 teaspponn of dill seeds, 1 sliced fresh jalepeno, green chillies.
Wash and slice the cucumbers. Layer the slices into a bowl with rock salt added inbetween each layer. Place a plate on top and then a weight onto it like a tin of beans.
Keep overnight in the fridge to allow the cucumber slice to release their excess water. Rinse in cold water and drain the next day.
Place the washed jars in a low oven (120c fan) for 25 minutes to sterilise
In a saucepan, add the vinegar, water, sugar and turmeric powder and heat this mixture. Bring it to boil and ensure that the sugar is dissolved.
Once the jam jars are ready, place the drained cucumber slices in them. Add the flavouring ingredients of your choice. Top each jar with the hot pickling liquid and shut their lids tight.
Leave to cool before storing in a cool dark place. These pickles need time to mature. I am going to leave mine for a few weeks before I taste them.
This recipe requires overnight resting to allow cucumbers to release excess water. Once made, they need time to mature for a few weeks at least.
Flavour the pickles to your taste!