I’ve always planted a few cucumber seeds, which have always produced a few cucumbers. The last few years have been quite hot and dry. This year, I planted a few cucumber seeds, but something was different than previous years. We’ve had days of epic, drought busting rainfall. I think it rained for 30 days straight, at least a little every day.
The cucumbers have flourished and produced more than I’ve ever seen. The vines have jumped out of their beds and spread out in the yard, and I’m literally tripping over cucumbers. So, with the first crop, I decided to make pickles. Having had bad luck pickling cucumbers in the past, and lots of mushy cucumbers I searched for a recipe with little canning time, in hopes for the crunchiest pickles possible.
I settled on this recipe with only 5 minutes of processing time.
For the cucumbers that were too long for the jars, I cut them down to size, then sliced the ends into disks for sandwiches. I think the spears make a neater looking jar and easier to pack.
In about half of the jars, I included a dried red chili to impart some heat. I also varied the spices in each batch, some adding pickling spice, some coriander, some simply black peppercorns.
And the cucumbers kept coming.
So I kept pickling them. I could have tried different pickling applications, but I really just like garlcky dill pickles, so I stuck to those.
I also acquired some Cornichons from a local farm and pickled those too, using a 4 day recipe given to me by my friend Stephanie. I trust her with all food things. Actually most of the interesting things I’ve ever done were inspired by her.
These were a little time consuming, having to scrape off the blossom end then puncture each little one.
I learned some lessons from my nearly non-stop pickling. The short 5 minute processing time makes a big difference in keeping pickles crunchy. However, the most important thing I’ve found, is pickling them immediately after harvesting. The pickles I made with cucumbers harvested that day are crunchier than those made after a couple days in the fridge. After about 2 days in the fridge, the cucumbers turn to mush when pickled. And finally, a big lesson. When planting cucumbers, also plant dill.