We are talking about cucumbers, here—Armenian Yard Longs, in fact. The name suggests something quite more than a mouthful; and, indeed, they are. One of these monster cucumbers could feed an entire family.
My garden has had its failures this year, but one of its successes was producing these ribbed cucumber beauties. One cucumber would have been enough, but now I have a garden full. If your garden was as prolific as mine, and you aren’t quite sure what to do with them all, then pickling the extras might be a solution.
Pickling juice is a simple concoction of flavored vinegar, sugar, and spices. Your personal tastes can dictate whether the flavor pendulum swings to the sour, sweet, cool or hot. Sugar and honey will counter the pungency of the vinegar, herbs such as dill and mint will add a refreshing coolness, while garlic, jalapeno and peppercorns will turn up the heat.
Pickling isn’t restricted to cucumbers, either. Carrot, beets, baby corn and beans can also be added to the pickling pot as well. Experiment. The ingredients are inexpensive and it makes for a fun exercise in flavor building.
Here’s a simple pickling recipe:
Champagne Pickled Cucumbers
An original TPP recipe
1 cup water
¾ cup champagne vinegar
½ cup sugar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger
3 whole cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
1 teaspoon whole mustard seed
1 teaspoon whole peppercorns, crushed
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
1 large cucumber, sliced ¼” thick
Combine all ingredients except the dill and cucumber in a small sauce pan. Bring to a simmer then allow to cool. Strain and discard the chunky bits. Add the dill to the pickling juice. Add sliced cucumbers and allow to marinate at least an hour, preferably over night. Pickling juice can be used to pickle carrots and other vegetables or use as a slaw dressing.
Serve these pickles with the perfectly grilled hamburger (recipe here).
Patricia Bainter is a blogger and writer for 303magazine. She trained at Le Cordon Bleu London and shares her culinary musings and recipes at her own website ThePatricianPalette.com. Photos taken by Mark Woolcott Photography.