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cukes two ways

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Are the cucumbers rolling in where you live yet? I opted to plant zucchini and squash in my tiny garden instead, but I may plant cucumbers in a second round. For now, I am enjoying the bounty of inexpensive picking cukes at my local farmer’s market. I went a little overboard in my purchase last week so had to come up with creative solutions for using them, IE. I FINALLY MADE PICKLES!! How have I not done this before??

People who know me well can’t help but discover my intense love for pickles. Recently I also found out I love pickled carrots (will post a recipe soon if I find a good one), but my one true first love will always be the pickled cucumber. As a kid, I loved McDonald’s for two reasons: 1) small packages of honey (not entirely sure why I loved that…) and 2) they would give me a soft-serve ice cream cup full of–wait for it–pickles. What’s not to love about that?

My pickle recipe is super easy; I’ve adapted it from The Beekman 1802 to make it even easier. Ready? Here we go:

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quick fridge bread & butter pickles
makes about six cups

6 pickling cucumbers, skin on
1 palm-sized red spring onion (the kind they sell at the farmer’s market in a bunch)
2 1/2 c. white vinegar
3/4 c. sugar (cut down to 2 Tbs. if you don’t like sweet pickles)
4 tsp. salt
4 tsp. pickling spices from Penzey’s

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Heat salt, spices, and vinegar over medium until it comes to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for five minutes. Meanwhile, rinse and cut up your cucumbers and onion into thin slices (halve the onion first) and add to a large bowl. When your liquid is done, pour it immediately over the sliced veggies, top it with waxed paper, and weigh it down with a plate.image
Leave it on the counter until almost cool, then transfer to mason jars. I used a quart size and two cup size (for gifts). I say almost cool because when you screw on the top it will seal itself from the heat. Leave them in the fridge overnight before tasting one. They still need to stay in the fridge after that since this isn’t a canning recipe, but the seal should make them last longer in there. They’ll last about three months in the fridge.

My second quick cucumber side dish comes from my Aunt Marcia, who has whipped up this recipe at nearly every summer gathering I can recall. It’s a good thing too because I would miss it so if she ever stopped. By leaving these in the fridge for at least an hour, it’s almost like making a quick pickle, but it’s subtle enough that the lovely cucumber-ness is still front and center.

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Auntie M’s sour cream cukes
serves 4 (easily doubled and tripled too)

2 c. chopped cucumber (seeds out, skin off is best)
1/3 c. red onion, thinly sliced (optional)
2 tsp. sour cream
2 tsp. white vinegar
pinch of salt and sugar

Combine all ingredients to taste. Refrigerate 1-2 hours before serving.

Editor’s note: This post is part of the Cucumber Seasonal Recipe Round-UpMonday ManiaFreaky Friday, Fight Back FridayIt’s a Keeper ThursdayPennywise PlatterFrugal Days, Sustainable Ways, and Real Food Wednesday

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