Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Cucumber Recipes

Ok, so obviously if you have pickling cucumbers... make pickles.  There are literally thousands of different recipes for pickles, some involve crocks, some don't, some involve dozens of spices and herbs, some don't.  Pickle recipes are easy to come by.  I recommend starting out by trying the recipes in the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving (the link to it on Amazon can be find on the sidebar -->).  It will give you a basis from which to begin your pickling adventures.

More importantly what are you going to do with the overproducing slicing cucumbers?!  They are really meant for fresh eating, but honestly you need to come up with other ideas unless you want a stomachache from cucumber over-indulgence.

So here are the recipes I use when I am sick of fresh sliced cukes:

Tsatsiki:  greek dip

2 single serve containers plain greek yogurt (I used Chobani nonfat and it turned out great)
1-2 cloves fresh garlic, peeled
1 slicing cucumber (half of one if it's large), peeled
1/2 tsp lemon juice
Pinch of dill weed, fresh or dried is fine
Pinch of mint leaves, fresh

You can chop these items all together and then stir into the yogurt, but if you have a food processor you can save a lot of time by throwing the garlic, mint, and cucumber in and giving it a whirl until it's well minced.
In a bowl combine the minced ingredients with the rest and stir well.  Refrigerate an hour or two, serve with veggies, pita bread, pita chips, or falafel.

Refrigerator Pickled Veggies
(this is a recipe for cucumbers, but other veggies can be thrown in as well, like peas, cauliflower, broccoli, etc.)

In medium bowl with tight-fitting lid combine:  1 part white or apple cider vinegar, 4 parts water, 1 part sugar.  This is the basis of refrigerator pickles.  Soak sliced cucumbers with onions (or other veggies) in this solution in the refrigerator.  For variation in flavor add salt, pepper, pickling spice, dill, etc. to taste.  These pickles will keep for about a week and make a zesty side salad for any meal.

For an Asian take on refrigerator pickles try using rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, a few splashes sesame oil, and a dash of Tabasco or Rooster sauce.

Pickle Relish
While most pickles are better made with pickling cucumbers, relish is a chopped pickle and is a great way to make use of over ripe cucumbers.  Just spoon out the seeds and then shred the cucumber flesh. I use a combination of slicing and lemon cukes for this recipe.

2 lbs. cukes, peeled, seeded, and shredded or finely chopped
1 large sweet onion, shredded or finely chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1/2 cup salt

Toss the vegetables together with salt in a large bowl, set aside 2 hours, drain thoroughly.  (To save time, use your food processor for finely chopping all the veggies).

3 cups cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup water
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp. ground allspice
1 tsp black peppercorns (I prefer ground)
1 tsp celery seed

Combine above ingredients in large non-interactive pot and bring to a boil, stir until sugar is dissolved.  Add vegetable mix and return to boil.  Simmer five minutes.  Remove from heat.
For canning:  Boiling water method.  Ladle hot relish into half pint jars covering solids with 1/4 inch liquid.  Leave 1/4 inch headspace.  Process for 15 minutes, turn off heat, let jars rest 5 minutes.  Remove jars.

Two things to note about this recipe: it tends to be a bit watery, if it is too watery for your taste add in 1 tsp. corn starch while simmering, or you can simply drain off some of the liquid in each jar when you open it.  Also, this relish looks brownish rather than the clear green color of store bought relish.  I would imagine the color would improve by substituting distilled white vinegar for the cider vinegar, but I haven't tested what effect this would have on the flavor and I like the flavor enough not to want to mess with it.

I hope these recipes have given you a few ideas to help manage the influx of cucumbers from your garden.  Please, if you have other recipes for using garden cucumbers up, post a comment to share it with the rest of us.  Enjoy!


  1. My limit on cukes is about 3. Then the neighbors start to get drive-bys--LOL!

    1. Yeah, me too. My mom gets a lot of my extra stuff too, but even she has limits on how much she can handle.

  2. Thanks for the relish directions! I have been looking for a good one to try.

    1. You're welcome, Christy. It's probably not the best of recipes, but I liked it well enough. It gets a B because of the wateriness and color. I'd love to find a tested one with similar flavor but a little better appearance.