We love cucs around our house. Our cucumber plants did just alright this year. I talked to other gardener friends, and many of them said that their cucumber plants didn’t fare so well either. The plants did well, just didn’t produce much. I’m wondering if it’s just another consequence of the crisis facing our bees (and other pollinators). It’s one of those things that we need to address as communities, not just individuals. Most likely, pesticides play a significant role in the problem, but all of our neighbors use pesticides, so not using chemicals on our yard doesn’t help the bees much (although I do notice much more insect diversity in our yard than we had when we first moved her and were weaning off the pesticides and fertilizers).
At any rate, we find all sorts of things to do with the cucumbers that we did get from our garden – and the ones from Victory Acres too. Our favorite way to eat them is as cucumber sandwiches. I like lots of butter, cucs, and red onion on mine; Grant likes them with my tomato jam (recipe coming); Jasper likes one my way and one Grant’s way. I also love my mom/grandma’s cucumber salad – summer isn’t complete without it. I also make lots of jars of refrigerator pickles. I do can a few as well for the winter months, but the canning process makes them a little less crispy than I would like so I prefer the refrigerator method (plus, let’s be honest, I eat them so fast that canning them isn’t really worth it). You can even use the brine from your pickled veggies, or try this recipe below that I’ve been using.
Adapted from Food in Jars
8-10 small cucumbers
4 cloves garlic, sliced
1 small onion, sliced
1 jalapeno, sliced (keep the seeds if you want it spicy, leave them out for a milder version)
1 cup apple cider vinegar (or white vinegar – I used white this last batch because I ran out of ACV)
1 cup water
2 tsp dill seed
1 tsp peppercorns
2 tsp sea salt
Clean jars. This makes about three pints worth of pickles. Clean the cucumbers and chop off the ends. Slice them into spears (or slices if you prefer) and put them in the jars. Add the garlic, dill seed, peppercorns, onions, and jalapeno to the jars, splitting them up evenly among the cars. Combine the vinegar, water, and salt in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil. Pour the brine into the jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace at the top. Put the lids on and let them cool on the countertop before putting them in the refrigerator. They will keep in the fridge for a month (or three days at our house).