Monday, November 1, 2010

Easy Refrigerator Pickles

As of early October we had a goodly pile of lemon cucumbers in the refrigerator, the last survivors after our one very prolific plant had succumbed to mildew and been removed. For months we had been eating the cukes fresh and giving them away. We were tired of them and so were our neighbors.

I had never made pickles out of anything but it seemed worth a try if it didn't take too much time. As usual, a little internet sleuthing yielded some good suggestions.

The recipe I ended up following was compiled from several sources. It had to be easy and not sweet -- no sugar. Mostly it had to be easy.

The cucumbers sliced up nicely into six cups worth. To this was added some chopped cilantro and some chopped green onion.

I brought to a boil two cups of vinegar, plus spices (1 tablespoon each of celery seed, mustard seed, and turmeric) and pickling salt (2 tablespoons), and let it cook for a minute or two.

However, this ended up being way too little liquid to fill the seven pint jars I had crammed the cucumber slices into. Perhaps I hadn't packed in the cucumbers tightly enough, or perhaps removing sugar from the recipe reduced the volume of the mixture. Anyway, I just boiled up four more cups of vinegar with more spices and salt and hoped for the best.

The filled jars were allowed to cool down and then put into the refrigerator where they will stay until all used up. Supposedly they will keep for months, but we won't get a chance to test that out since we are going through them pretty fast.

They are crunchy, spicy, and delicious, although a bit strong for eating more than one or two out of hand. (Next year, I will try diluting the vinegar mixture with water or packing the jars better.)

We've been enjoying them in salads, cut up into small pieces, or, best of all, as a garnish for veggie burgers along with garden tomatoes and lettuce.

Mmmmmm. And so easy. Even with the mistakes, making the pickles took not much more than an hour.

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