Cheap Recipe: Faux Pickles

11 Aug

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An easy use for all of those harvested cucumbers everyone is sharing.

An easy use for all of those harvested cucumbers everyone is sharing.

Are you running out of places to put locally-grown cucumbers in the summertime? You never want to turn down free produce from friends and family, but sometimes the wealth can be overwhelming when everyone harvests at once!

Faux Pickles are a staple around our house every summer. They’re a cinch to prepare, you can keep adding to the same pot over the course of several days, and they make an easy, refreshing, and ready-made snack or side dish to see you through the hottest days of the year. And they’re both Atkins Diet– and South Beach Diet-friendly!

I call them “faux” because you’re really not pickling the cucumbers in the end. Nothing winds up boiled, cooked or canned. But they’re a delicious stand-in for the much more time consuming (or expensive) standard pickle, and an added bonus is that virtually any kind of cucumber out there will make a pleasing faux pickle with this recipe.

Your compost pile will thank you for that big bowl of cucumber peels!

Your compost pile will thank you for that big bowl of cucumber peels!

First, begin by peeling a large pile of cucumbers♥. You can really make this recipe as small as you like (with just one or two cucumbers), but they tend to disappear fast, and they’re soaked in vinegar that keeps them fresh for days and days, so you may as well go nuts.

♥Chef’s note: My grandmother and mother always said that when chopping cucumber ends off, you can keep your cucumbers from being bitter by making three cuts instead of two: First you chop off the stem end, then you chop off the blossom end, and then you cut another slice off the stem end to be discarded. I think it has to do with allowing time for the bitter juice to ooze out of the first end. I can’t prove scientifically that this works, but Mom’s never served me a bitter cucumber, so I don’t ask too many questions. 🙂

Slice the cucumbers into thin slices (about a quarter of an inch thick or less) and pile them into the bottom of a big bowl. Keep in mind that plastic bowls will absorb the pickle smell and aluminum bowls will chemically react with vinegar; it’s best to stick with a glass or china bowl. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and add any other seasoning you like. You can add onion (sliced or powder), garlic (gloves or powder), mustard seed, dill weed or anything else

Make sure you add enough liquid to cover all of the slices.

Make sure you add enough liquid to cover all of the slices.

 you like to make it taste more like regular pickles if you wish. (I usually just add dill and stop there, but it’s a matter of taste). Pour one part vinegar and two parts water over the slices. I don’t measure this, I just eyeball it until there is enough liquid to amply cover the cucumbers.

Cover bowl with lid or cling wrap and set on counter or in refrigerator for at least 4 hours. The longer the cucumbers sit in the juice, the more flavor they will absorb and the softer the slices will become. Serve on hamburgers or sandwiches, or just set on the dinner table with a slotted spoon as a stand-alone side. Be warned–they’ll disappear quick! The good thing about the vinegar base, however, is that you can slice up more cucumbers and just throw them in the bowl before you go to bed each night. We only change out the juice about once a week. Keep chilled when not in use. Enjoy!

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2 Responses to “Cheap Recipe: Faux Pickles”

  1. Linda August 12, 2009 at 5:36 AM #

    They make bologna sandwiches really super. I always add salt and coarse-ground pepper to mine. You can add whole peppercorns too.

  2. redforkhippie August 13, 2009 at 11:42 PM #

    If you boil the vinegar and water with a pinch of alum and some pickling salt and then pour it over the cucumbers while it’s still boiling, the pickles will keep longer and taste exactly like Claussen pickles. Your grocery store will probably have premixed pickling spices with all the 99-cent spices.

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