|cucumbers | photo: pdh|
I've picked what I believe is the last cucumber of year from my garden. The heat and the lessening rain have done a number on the plant which is shriveling and not likely to produce any more fruit. Of course there are also no more blossoms, another pretty good indicator.
Although we treat them like a vegetable, cucumbers are actually a fruit, related to melons like cantaloupe. High in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory, cucumbers are a good source of vitamin K which is important to help the body properly utilize vitamin D.
Refreshing, hydrating, and delicious, cucumbers can be prepared a number of different ways, used raw in salads, creamy salads (such as raita or tzatziki), or pickled.
One of my absolute favorite ways to eat them is as a refrigerator pickle because in season I just keep throwing more cucumbers into the jar. They only need to sit for a few days to be ready to eat. It's important to remember that because these are not hot water bathed, they will not last outside the refrigerator and even stored in the refrigerator are probably not good to keep for more than two weeks, I confess I eat them so quickly when I make them that I'm not really sure how long they would last.
Refrigerator Cucumber Pickles
1/2 gallon jar – sterilized
2 cups raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar
6 cups of water
1/2 cup pickling salt
1 bunch fresh dill
3-4 cloves garlic cut in half
1 small vidalia onion, peeled and sliced – optional
Don't forget the cucumbers
In a medium pan combine vinegar, water and salt
Bring to a slow boil, stirring until salt is completely dissolved
Remove from heat and let cool completely
Add remaining ingredients including onion slices if desired
Wash and prepare cucumbers by cutting into slices or spears
Put as many as will fit into jar and still be submerged
Let sit 2-3 days before eating