Monday, July 5, 2010

Cucumber Time!

Marinated cucumbers are a summer staple of every Southern refrigerator I’ve ever known. Mr. Kim came home from the farm stand with a pile of cucumbers Saturday, so I knew it was cucumber time.

Sliced cucumbers:

I use the little pickling cukes – the skin is a little tougher, but they hold up better and are less wet than regular salad ones. I confess that one thing is missing from this ‘tutorial’ – onions! I did these in between making a bunch of things to take to the Independence day celebration we attended and somehow they got left out. I didn’t realize it until this morning and will go up and slice up some onions and dump them in.

LOTS of pepper:

These need huge amounts of freshly cracked pepper. That might not be enough.

Then dump on sugar (or in this case Splenda):

Lots of sugar, too.

Cover with vinegar:

I have always used cider vinegar, but some of my eGullet friends use white vinegar or rice wine vinegar. I’m going to try a small batch of rice wine vinegar cukes this year. I love radishes done that way.

I’ll taste these every day for a week and adjust the sugar and pepper – you never add enough at the beginning. Slowly they “pickle” and turn into a sweet, sour crunchy addition to a nice dinner plate of corn, tomatoes and some meat (meat and threes, indeed!). Every week or so I’ll add another sliced cucumber and maybe some onion, and finally at the end of the summer, we’ll eat the last one and sigh for the loss of them on the plate, but by then our appetites will be running to stews and braises and casseroles! These cucumbers, along with tomatoes, corn, crab and grilled meat and fish just mean summer to me.


  1. As many times as I've made these bits of ambrosia, I've never added in fresh as I went along---used the juice in other concoctions like Homemade 1000, but no fresh cukes entered the TUP.

    We've had these twice since the new ones came in---a little bit more tart than these, I think, for there's also a 1/2 gallon of B&B's, with lotsa black mustard seeds and a jar of paminna for color, in the fridge, as well.

    Caro makes a FINE radish slaw with the RW vinegar---lovely with any Southern or Asian meal.

  2. That's summer- a just pickled cucumber!

  3. Rachel - re: the radish slaw - I make that too and wonder if y'all have noticed a distinctly unpleasant stinky quality a couple days with leftovers? I try to only make what we'll use in one meal because of that. Is it only me?

  4. Kim, does the Splenda really work with the pickling? I mean do all the chemical reactions happen that you want without real sugar?

  5. Yep, the Splenda actually works just fine. I honestly can't tell any difference in texture.