It’s that time of year again – Cucumbers are in season, and are in abundance in our CSA box, and even in my garden! After a year in my garden when all my (3) cucumber plants died, and we hadn’t bought a share in a CSA, because so confident was I that I could grow EVERYTHING (lesson learned. Interdependence = good), I had been missing cucumbers. Then I remembered back to two summers ago, when our CSA box was so heavy with cucumbers. It is fast approaching that time again!
Don’t get me wrong – I love cukes. But, there’s only so many of the typical ‘cucumber salad’ I can eat, and that my family will eat.
So, what to do?
I opened up my ‘Ball Blue Book of Canning’, and mulled the option. I tried brining with some farmer’s market cukes last year. But, it didn’t go so well. I thought maybe this years I’d can dill pickles.
After hauling up my water-bath canner, my canning box, jars – I was already exhausted. Canning, around here, gets done AFTER the kids are asleep, and when the house is a little cooler. Was pickling cukes into the wee hours of the night going to be a good option, if toting a few jars up the stairs already winded me? Nah….
Lacto-fermented pickles can be made in a jar, though — I googled a recipe and came across a lovely site that had a recipe that I used. I tried one this afternoon, and while it had absorbed some flavor, and was a little softer, it still had a crunch. I think by tomorrow at this time, they’ll be perfect and ready to go in the fridge. Its very simple: spices go in empty jar, ends are cut off smallish cukes and put in jar tightly, brine is boiled, cooled, and added to the jar, and I topped the works with a horseradish leaf as a ‘cap’ to keep out air, though I did also put the jar top on, and just gave it one turn, so it wouldn’t be air-tight. Sometimes gasses and liquids may escape during the 2 – 3 day fermenting process, so you might want to play it safe and tuck them in an ice cream bucket or left-over salad shell.
Lacto-fermentation provides good probiotics to your system, which keeps just about everything running smoothly. I feel that, at this time in my life, not only do I need all the good bugs I can get, but I also need time to sleep, and not can stuff that I only eat occasionally (like pickles).
Once they’re done, I plan to make a recipe from my mom’s group cookbook: Pickle dip! Simple – just throw a brick (or two) of cream cheese in a blender or food processor, then add pickles, and a little of the pickle brine’. I think this would also work with yogurt (probably the thicker Greek yogurt would be better) and/or sour cream. Yum – awesome with homemade thick cut fries!