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It’s Time to Turn Your Last Batch of Cucumbers into Pickles

1 3 0
03.09.2021

At the end of every gardening season, I tell myself to sow fewer seeds the following year and every spring I ignore my own advice.

I don’t listen well—even to myself—which means that come late summer, when the garden surges into its most fecund period, I am awash in produce. It is, of course, a fun problem to have. Tomatoes will be sauced, cayenne peppers frozen in large bags until I’m ready to ferment my yearly batch of hot sauce and pickles will be pickled.

This year in particular I’ve been swimming in cucumbers. I planted the unimaginatively and perhaps over-accurately named “Homemade Pickles Pickling Cucumbers.” If I don’t pick the cute cukes in the morning, the next day they weigh a pound-and-a-half.

Pickling falls into three general categories: Vinegar pickling, which is how you get bread and butter pickles and relishes; salt brining, which is how sauerkraut and kimchi are made, as well as the mother of all pickles, the sour; and the quick pickle. Bread and butter pickles are not my forte, and although I do occasionally attempt a new relish, I’ve never made anything worth crowing about. But sour pickles and quick pickles are my specialty.

You can move a lot of cucumbers with the simplest quick pickle of all. I like to slice an unpeeled cucumber at about hamburger chip thickness and drop the slices into a plastic pint container ,like the kind egg drop soup comes in. I sprinkle it with salt and turbinado sugar—probably a half teaspoon of each—put the lid on and shake them hard, like a cocktail, before letting them sit for about half an hour. You can do this in a bowl and just stir them if you don’t have a stack of takeout containers handy. They don’t need anything else, but sometimes I’ll gild the lily after draining the juice, adulterating with a few drops of sesame oil, some flecks of chili, or a splash of pale vinegar. They’re wonderful on salads, accompanying barbecue, or arrayed on pad Thai.

My favorite quick pickles this year come from a recipe my mom made when I was a kid out of Peter and Joan Martin’s 1970 Japanese Cooking, which calls it Kyuri Matsumae. Matsumae is a town from which a lot of pickles come and kyuri means cucumber in Japanese. Their recipe is a close relative of the shoyuzuke pickles that are part of the Japanese tsukemono........

© The Daily Beast


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