Summer weekends are made for celebrating and a homegrown hostess gift is the perfect way to show some southern hospitality! Taking advantage of our garden’s plethora of cucumbers, I made a large batch of cucumber pickles.
Quick tip: Be sure to reference your cucumber variety for their growing needs and don’t be tempted to let them stay on the vine too long. Cucumbers are ready to be picked and have the best flavor when they are 5-8″. I learned the hard way — the larger cucumber in the photo was very bitter and dissatisfying.
Easy to prepare, cucumber pickles’ cool, crisp bite are a perfect antidote to sweltering temperatures. Use as a garnish, add to chutney, atop grilled fish, the possibilities are endless. Perfectly portable within a ubiquitous southern favorite- the Ball Jar, cucumber pickles are my favorite way to say thank you to all my summer hosts.
(Recipe for cucumber pickles ‘below the fold.’)
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 3 tablespoons mirin (rice vinegar)
- 1 tablespoon salt, preferably sea or kosher
- 5 cucumbers (5-8″ in length) or 2-3 larger English Cucumbers
- Handful of basil leaves
- Combine sugar, vinegar, mirin and salt into a non-reactive bowl. Whisk until the sugar and salt are dissolved.
- Slice cucumbers as thinly as possible; I like to use a mandoline. (I don’t remove the seeds with the cucumbers from my garden, but if you are using larger English cucumbers, to seed or not is personal preference)
- Finely slice the basil.
- Add cucumbers and basil to the marinade and stir. It’s okay if the liquid doesn’t submerge the cucumbers; cucumbers will get smaller as they marinate.
- Place in the refrigerator and let marinate for at least 4 hours.
- Serve, icy cold out of the fridge if you can.
- WFAEats | A Sour Day in Pickleville