by Lisa Giroday, Sandra Lopuch and Sam Philips | Cucumbers, the glorious fruit that we often consider a vegetable, originated in Nepal and has been cultivated for over 3,000 years by us humans. Apparently, they were loved so much during the Roman Empire that they were grown in greenhouses all year round. At Victory Gardens, our top three favourite cukes this year to grow are: Lemon cucumbers, Picolinos, and Marketmore. If you haven’t had the pleasure of growing them, consider doing so for next year, as these prolific cucurbits are worth the effort. Since they are comprised of 90% water, it’s always refreshing to bite into one fresh from the garden (pick in the morning when they taste best) or sliced into a garden salad. Wait…are we missing something? Oh, right…PICKLES!
Get out your canning supplies because cucumbers are in their prime right now. If you have just a few mere cucumber plants, you may be scrambling to find uses for them. The two easiest solutions to dealing with this abundance are to barter with your neighbour for one of their prized zucchinis, or, as mentioned, make pickles. While there are specific cucumbers grown for pickling, you can pickle any cucumber you wish – try it and find your own favourite. Get it done with a simple recipe after the jump…
Quick Refrigerator Pickle Recipe:
– 1 dozen sliced cukes (depending on size)*
– 8 cups water
– 8 cups white vinegar
– ½ cup salt (non-iodized)
– 2 tbsp peppercorns for jars
– 1-2 cloves of fresh garlic per jar
– 1 sprig of dill weed per jar
– 1-3 hot peppers; A few slices of fresh hot pepper per jar (we like the Hungarian Hot Wax type)
*You can scale this recipe down if you wish – just reduce the ratios; it’s easy.
1. Bring water, vinegar, and salt to a boil
2. In the meantime prep your sterilized jars by adding a sprig of dill, garlic, peppercorns, and peppers (hey, add a bay leaf if you want).
3. Add sliced cukes, pour liquid over cukes to fill jars
4. Seal and pop in the fridge for up to 3 months – OR,
If you want your pickles to preserve more than 3 months and out of the fridge, prepare your cans in a hot water bath first, and make sure the pickling liquid reaches the right temperature. Interested in fermenting pickles? Check out this link.
Victory Gardens is a team of local urban farmers for hire. Lisa, Sandra and Sam help transform tired or underused residential and commercial green spaces into food producing gardens. Their goal is to challenge the way communities use space and to participate in the change needed to consume food more sustainably. For the rest of the growing season, they’ve hooked up with Scout to share some cool tips and tricks on how to get the best from of our own backyards.