What to do with a cucumber glut...

11 January, 2015

I've actually hit a point where I simply cannot, no matter how much I love them, eat all the cucumbers the garden is producing.

What to do when you hit such a sad state? Why, get fermenting of course.

Ever since I read about Asparagus Pea's pickling adventures I've been planning to try a fermented cucumber pickle.

After a bit of google searching I decided to try grape leaves, which supposedly keep the pickles crunchier due to imparting their tannins into the pickle liquid, and which I so happened to have in the garden. Also from the garden was the garlic, however the peppercorns were not homegrown (its just a matter of time, surely). I figured for a first pickle I'd do a half brine solution (on seeing AP's results with a full brine) and so used 40g salt to 500ml de-chlorinated (by boiling) water.

The remaining cukes after I had my fill. I kept the slightly under ripe ones for the pickle. These are from kept seed so are probably a mixed breed of varieties.

I had some extra 'Mini White' cukes as well, so why not throw some of them in?

A few grape leaves.

Spices: homegrown garlic and peppercorns. Keeping it simple.

Final product! Now I just need to wait 4-7 days and then refridgerate.

And I still had some leftover cukes. So sad. I managed to just bring myself to eat those.

10 comments:

  1. Oooh how exciting - summer cucumbers seem so long ago now. I'm currently osessed with pickiling radishes. They go the most beautiful shade of barbie pink and have the umami quality of a good runny cheese

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    1. Oooh, I bought some radishes at the farmers market this weekend (bugs ate mine) so I think I'll be gaining a radish pickle a try for sure!

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  2. This is great to see! I haven't had a pickled cucumber since the commercial gherkins of my childhood. I'm pretty sure that rather than being lacto-fermented, they were preserved (perversed) in a vinegar solution (with sugar!, which can't have been excellent for anyone's health). These look like they'll be seriously superior.

    No chance of growing black pepper in Melbo until you sort out a greenhouse (and/or climate change turns us permanently tropical) ... I have been thinking about this, a hot, humid and big greenhouse that I could use to grow coffee, vanilla orchids, pepper vines and other not-too-tall tropical things. We kind of have space, if not the resources. Meanwhile, though, the red "pepper" from peppercorn trees is free for the foraging all over the place.

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    1. I still eat vinegar pickled cucumbers regularly! Love them! I'm not convinced myself that the small amount of sugar in pickles and chutneys would be a massive dietary problem in the context of someone who doesn't eat much added sugar in their diet otherwise, but the supposed gut benefits of fermented foods really intrigues me, although the science currently is pretty minimal.
      I have a greenhouse, well polytunnel actually, in the plans for this year so maybe it is a possibility. I reckon a vanilla orchid would be a higher priority but all that hand pollination biz seems a bit hard work. I well remember the red peppercorns from my childhood climbing trees - a hobby I totally need to revisit! Are they really peppery or not really? (e.g. Carob calls itself a chocolate substitute, but really it don't cut it.)

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    2. I take your point about sugar. Dunno why I got so sugarphobic on the topic of gherkins when I've been bottling a lifetime's supply of jam this week. Anyhoo. Red "pepper" - it's delicious, actually. Have a nibble on a seed next time you're in the vicinity of a peppercorn tree. They're sweet and a bit bitey. Not exactly peppery, but getting there. Polytunnel sounds exciting! You'll be able to overwinter your capiscum etc in style :-)

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    3. Cheers for the info. I will be sure to check out a pepper tree more closely next time I am in the vicinity of one!

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  3. I made pickles for the first time this year - and yum - never buying store bought pickles again!

    They were, however, regular pickles in a vinegar brine. Haven't tried fermentation yet. There is so much to learn - I want to jump ahead but always have to rein it in and remember it's usually best to go one step at a time.

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    1. I've been dabbling in fermenting this year and it has been totally worth it. I've tried sauerkraut and kimchi, water kefir and a sourdough bread started (that since died, sadly) and they have all been surprisingly easy. I reckon these type of small batch ones are a good place to start as they are low maintainence and in making small quantities if you have a less than tasty product not too much of your time and resources have been wasted. There are so many home producing things to do out there (fermenting, bottling, veg growing, raising livestock, keeping poultry, the list goes on...) that it is really hard to not just jump in and overcommit yourself. You're very wise to go slowly.

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