Monday, 26 August 2013

Cukes and Zukes

Normally this is a time of bounty in my own garden, but with the move this year we decided against trying to start a garden. In hindsight it was the right things to do--it was hard enough to help my mom with hers and I would never have gotten over here with the kids to do much. Luckily, my friend gave me some cucumbers and mom has too many zucchini (is there ever just the right amount of zucchini?) so I'm managing to do some pickling and thought I would share a recipe or two.

I make these sweet sliced pickles every year. We love them at Christmas with meat, cheese and crackers, and they are great in a sandwich or on a burger. I doubled my batch because my year and a half old boy devours pickles and I think we will be needing alot more this year! The Million Dollar Pickles recipe is from Jean Pare's Company's Coming: Preserves.

Million Dollar Pickles

6 cups thinly sliced cucumber, with peel

3 Tbsp coarse pickling salt

2 cups water

Place cukes in bowl. Stir salt into water until dissolved. Pour over cukes and add more water to cover. Cover and let stand overnight on counter, then drain and turn into large saucepan.

3 cups (approx) white vinegar, enough to cover cukes

2 cups sliced onion

2 green peppers, seeded and chopped

3 cups granulated sugar

1 tsp turmeric

4 1/2 oz pimiento

To cucumbers, add vinegar, onion, peppers, sugar and turmeric. Heat on medium-high, uncovered, stirring often until mixture comes just to a boil. Stir in pimiento. Using a slotted spoon, pack hot sterilized pint jars with vegetables to within 1 inch (2.5 cms) of top. Fill with hot syrup to within 1/2 inch (1 cm) of top. Place sterilized metal lids on jars and screw metal bands on securely. For added assurance against spoilage you may choose to process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Makes 4 pints.

Another wonderful recipe in the same cookbook is the Million Dollar Relish. I may use up the rest of my cucumbers in a batch--I'm waiting on my gas stove and perhaps hubby to return home and busy the children for an afternoon! If you like relish and are looking for a use for that glut of zucchini, there's a great recipe here

I receive the West Coast Seeds Newsletter , where I read the next recipe. I have not tested this, but with the amount of zukes we have hanging around I thought it would be worth a try. I'm passing it on so if you try and like it, please let me know!

1 medium zucchini, peeled, seeded, sliced less than 1/2 cm (1/4 inch) thick

1/2 cup each vinegar and water

3 Tbsp olive oil

sea salt to taste

After slicing the zucchini, soak it in vinegar/water solution overnight. Drain and pat lightly dry, then toss in olive oil with sea salt. Spread on baking sheet, sprinkle small amount more salt, and bake on lowest oven setting until crisp.

Once my gas oven is up and running I hope these will become a favorite treat for my kids, as kale chips did last year. Do you have favorite ways to use up excess zucchinis at this time of year?

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