Sunday, 13 December 2015
I love how seasonal produce changes the menu from month to month. This month its all about home grown cucumbers and tomatoes and the other night I made a pasta sauce with one and a salad with the other. It is so satisfying to make an entire dinner with garden pickings and it was really delicious.
Around here we've been having those cucumber salads every other night. I just peel the cucumbers, take some of the seeds out, chop roughly and then cover them with a thai style lime dressing, or a squeeze of lemon, and grind of salt and a splash of olive oil (my go-to salad dressing).
Sometimes though with a glut of fresh produce its hard to keep up and its good to find other ways to use your excess bounty.
Another way to use cucumbers is this simple preserved pickle that I made for the first time last year. I made lots of jars but we went through them quite quickly, eating them on our sandwiches and having it with cheese platters until it was all gone. Luckily this is delicious, and quick and simple to make. I made my first batch the other day and hope to get another in before Xmas.
Here's how I do it.
Bread and Butter Pickles
7 lebanese cucumbers ends removed thinly sliced
2 onions brown or spanish thinly sliced
11/2 tbsp salt
1 tbsp mustard seeds
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tsp turmeric
2 cups apple cider vinegar
1 cup caster sugar
I use my MagiMix to slice the cucumbers quickly, but you could use any method. I sliced them and two onions, one brown one spanish for colour. I put the whole lot in a bowl and sprinkled them the mixture with a tablespoon and a half of salt. Then I covered it with my handy beeswax kitchen cover and put them in the fridge overnight. Took me abt ten minutes for this stage.
The next day is bottling day so put the cucumber onion mix in the colander to drain, squeezing down on it occasionally to get the liquid out.
Meanwhile put a large pot on the stove and add the apple cider vinegar, mustard seeds, coriander seeds, turmeric and sugar. Heat until all the sugar dissolves.
One the mixture is clear add the cucumber mix to the pot and bring it to a simmer.
Meanwhile get your jars ready. I like to put mine through the dishwasher to sterilise them or put them covered by water in a big pot which I boil for a minimum ten minutes.
Fill the jars with cucumber pickle mix and put the lids on tight. I choose jars with metal lids that have the sealing clickable lids. I then put them in a big pot submerged in hot water and boil for 20 minutes. A lot of the recipes don't call for this but I can't fit all my jars in the fridge and I like to know they will keep. When you take the jars out that clickable seal on top should be down. It should release with a pop when you open your pickles.