Today we celebrate cucumbers which will soon be in the peak of their season and dirt cheap! Cucumbers are not only delicious when prepared well, they are packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties.
Home gardeners would do well to anticipate and plan for a big harvest because cucumbers, like zucchini, have a way to multiplying beyond expectations. Then producing even more. Farmers’ markets are always evident in this truth, where recently I saw a full box for just $5.
One thing to know about cucumbers: When grown in extremely hot temperatures, the cucumber skin can get bitter. You can deal with this by either removing the skin prior to slicing or soaking the cukes in salt water to remove the bitterness.
Personally, I love cucumbers so much, I would be happy eating them in a salad, as pickles, in a sandwich or just straight up with a sprinkle of salt and I mean every day of my life.
Today I have one recipe for you that may take you back to your childhood. It does for me because this is the way my grandmother made cucumber salad. Followed by the easiest refrigerator dill pickles ever!
My Grandmother’s Cucumber Salad
- sweet white onion
- sour cream
- apple cider vinegar
- sea salt
If you are worried your cucumbers may be a little bitter, but you do not want to peel all of that nutritious skin away, place the sliced cucumbers in a colander in the sink and sprinkle with salt.
(By the way, don’t worry about the color of my salt. It’s been years since we switched from ordinary table salt in our home to using Redmond Real Salt, exclusively. I buy 10 lbs. of Redmond Real Salt at a time, which keeps well, and lasts us for up to three years. It is such amazing salt, I’ve been accused of being a gourmet cook. It’s not me, it’s the salt. Real Salt is my secret.)
Mix gently with your hand so that all of the slices are salted. Let stand for about 30 minutes. The salt will remove any bitterness from the skin and also leech water from the cucumbers to keep your salad from getting all watery.
I drained nearly 1/2 cup of liquid from these 5 cucumbers.
My Grandmother's Cucumber Salad
- 4 cups sliced cucumber about 4 to 5 cucumbers
- 1 to 2 tablespoons sea salt
- 1 sweet white onion sliced
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 tablespoon white granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- Place the sliced cucumbers in a colander in the sink and salt generously.
- Mix gently with your hands so that all of the slices are covered with salt. Let stand for 30 minutes. Rinse very well and pat the cucumber slices dry in a towel.
- In the meantime, in a large bowl, mix the remaining ingredients—onion, sour cream, sugar and apple cider vinegar.
- Add the prepared cucumbers, stirring to cover completely.
- Cover and chill for at least an hour before serving.
Easy Refrigerator Dill Pickles
If the idea of making pickles reminds you that you don’t have the time or the equipment to making traditional canned pickles where you have to boil the jars and worry about poisoning your family come winter because you didn’t quite do it right, have no worries.
Refrigerator pickles will deliver all you want in a great pickle without any of the hassles involved with canning. You’ll want “pickling cucumbers” for the best pickles. This type of cucumber has more tender skin than those grown for “slicing.” If you are concerned, ask the grower, look on the seed package if you planted them yourself, or read the label if you buy cucumbers in the supermarket.
You will need:
- small canning jars with lids
- apple cider vinegar
- pickling salt
- peeled garlic cloves
- crushed red peppers
- dill seed
- black peppercorns
- red pepper (optional, mostly for looks)
- sprigs of fresh dill weed (optional, same thing)
Easy Refrigerator Dill Pickles
- 3 pint-size (or equivalent) canning jars with lids
- 2 pounds cucumbers for pickling well washed
- 1 ½ cups apple cider vinegar
- 1 ½ cups water
- 2 tablespoons pickling salt
- 6 cloves garlic, peeled
- ¾ teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 3 teaspoons dill seed
- 1 ½ teaspoons black peppercorns
- 1 red pepper sliced (opitional) mostly for looks
- 3 stems fresh dill (optional) also just for looks
- Wash and dry 3 pint-size canning jars that have lids and rings.
- Into each jar drop 2 garlic cloves, 1/4 teaspoon crushed red peppers, 1 teaspoon dill seed, 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns, and optionally 1/3 sliced red pepper and 1 stem fresh dill.
- Cut off the ends and slice the way you like your dill pickles (chunks, spears, chips).
- Pack the prepared cukes into the jars, fairly tightly.
- In a cooking pot, combine vinegar, water and pickling salt. Bring to a full rolling boil.
- Pour hot liquid into the jars up to with 1/4-inch of the top of the jar.
- Apply lids and rings. Tighten as tightly as you can. Allow jars to cool at room temperature.
- Place in the refrigerator. Do not leave in a cabinet or on the countertop.
- Remember: You did not “can” these pickles. They do not have a long shelf life–up to two months in the refrigerator. I wouldn’t worry about this, because it would be a miracle if there are any left by then anyway.
- Wait for at least two days before diving in.
Jar Photo Credit: Kary Osmond
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