Friday, October 1, 2010

Fresh Quick Sweet Cucumber Pickles

Pickling Cucumbers. See Shelley's recipe below for how to pickle them.

Spaghetti Squash. (In my fuzzy head it was a watermelon, sorry! Best I get back to flowers... Tara)

Here's what Farmer John had for us in Silver Lake this week:

Brown onions
Patty pan squash
Iceberg lettuce head
Green chard
Green peppers
Dandelion greens
Mixed herbs: sage, thyme and sweet marjoram
Garlic chives

And here's what Tara picked up from Underwood Family Farms today:

Sharlyn melon
Valencia oranges
Candy beets
Yellow zucchini
Green leaf lettuce
Purple carrots
Red peppers
Pickling cukes
Pink Brandywine tomatoes
Spaghetti squash (err, sorry, i called it a watermelon before Mr. Loewen straightened me out. Thank you Bret! Tara)

Fresh pickles, also known as quick pickles, are quite the rage now and for good reason. They're super easy to make and delicious to eat. They're quick because they don't involve any canning. This cuts the time it takes to make them, but also means they don't last for months on the shelf and they require refrigeration.

You can pickle many different vegetables, but cucumbers are among the most common. You can pickle some fruits, too, just make sure you select something that can stand up to the process without turning to mush.

Here's a simple recipe that I modified to use with the four cucumbers we got in our CSA box today. You'll probably get more brine than you actually need, but it's important that the cukes are covered with the brine during the pickling process. if you want to add more cukes, be sure to get pickling cucumbers, as the regular, eating variety don't work quite as well.

Fresh Quick Sweet Cucumber Pickles

Prepare the cucumbers:
4 pickling cucumbers, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 T kosher salt
1 C ice cubes

Place sliced cucumbers in a non-reactive bowl. Sprinkle with salt. Add ice cubes and enough cold water to cover. Let stand 2-3 hours at room temperature.

Prepare the brine:
2 C white vinegar
1-1/4 C granulated sugar
1 t each turmeric, whole cloves, yellow mustard seeds, black mustard seeds, and red pepper flakes (optional)

Combine all brine ingredients in a non-corrosive pot and bring to a boil. Drain and rinse cucumbers. Add to hot brine. Bring to a simmer, but do not boil. Turn off the heat and allow cucumbers to soak in the hot brine until they reach the desired pickled-ness. I like to let mine soak about 45 minutes. When done, drain and chill uncovered in the fridge until cold. Cover and keep in fridge up to 1 week.


Silver Lake Farms would be happy to host a class on pickling, either quick pickles, canned pickles, or both. We would need a minimum of eight people (though we'd happily accommodate more). The cost would be $48 per person. Let Tara know if you're interested. Home-made pickles look great on a holiday table and they make beautiful and delicious holiday gifts.


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