Pickles or Cucumber Salad?

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I have another fun recipe to share. We have an abundance of cucumbers every year, mainly because we never want to run out. We’ve done all sorts of pickling, but our new favourite pickle, we cannot get enough of. We sometimes eat them like a salad, and you can add all sorts of other veggies, that I’m not convinced they are pickles, but rather a pickled salad.

I did the basic recipe yesterday for this blog, but will do a couple more batches with other goodies from the garden added in throughout the summer. By fall, I usually have a full weekend of canning in order to prep our haul for the winter months.

The ingredients are quite simple:

  • 3-4 mid to large cucumbers sliced thin
  • 2-3 mid to large onions sliced thin
  • 1/3 cup pickling salt
  • 3 cups cider vinegar
  • 1.5 cups white vinegar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 10 – 20 cloves of garlic
  •  2 tablespoons mustard seed
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons celery seeds
  • 1 teaspoon red chili flakes
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon tumeric

Optional ingredients:

  • 1-2 sweet peppers sliced thin
  • 3-5 carrots sliced thin
  • Cauliflower chopped into small flourets
  • 1-2 yellow beets sliced thin
  • Dill
  • Jalapeno
  • Anything else you think would taste good!

To start, pick or buy your cucumbers. We have straight eights, which are similar to an english up to a certain size, and then start to fatten out as they get really big. Give them a good rinse, as you are going to leave the skins on the cucumber.

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Let them dry, or you can towel them off.

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Next slice them in thin slices. You can do it with a knife or use a mandolin or food processor.

Layer them in a container with onion that is also sliced thin.

Once you have a container filled, add the pickling salt.

Make sure to stir the salt so that all the cucumbers and onions are coated. Let it sit in the fridge for a minimum of 4 hours. I prefer to leave them overnight. Once they have sat for the 4+ hours, you will see a lot of cucumber water in the container. Dump that water and give the cucumbers & onions a really good rinse.

In a large saucepan – it has to fit all your cucumbers in it – mix together the vinegar & spices.

Bring that mixture to a boil. Once it is boiling add your cucumber & onion mixture. If you are throwing in any of the optional or extra items, now is the time to do that. Make sure to stir so that the vinegar mixture coats all of your ingredients. Bring the liquids back up to a boil and let simmer for 5 minutes while stirring to continually coat the pickle/salad mix.

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Prepare your jars while the pickle/salad is simmering. I like to use a variety of sizes because sometimes we want to take our pickles on a picnic and a small jar is easier to pack than the larger jars. Other times, you are entertaining and need a large jar.

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Once the pickle/salad has simmered for 5 minutes, turn off the heat and grab some tongs. Now it is time to stuff your jars. I find it easier with a set of tongs rather than a spoon.

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Once all your jars are filled with your pickle mixture, grab your ladel and start adding the liquid to all of the jars. I fill it just below the top of the jar, making sure that the pickle mix is completely covered. If it all comes right to the top, take a little out to allow for some space. You can also use a canning funnel at this point to make quick and clean work of the liquids.

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Make sure to strain out all the herbs if you have any leftover juices. I like to add these to the top of the jar so that the herbs can keep adding flavour after the canning process.

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I like to tap the jars lightly on the counter or cutting board to help get the bubbles out and the liquids right through everything to the bottom. You can also use chopsticks, skewers, a butter knife or canning tool to rid the jar of any bubbles. Top up the jars if needed, then wipe down the rims to ensure that there is no juices, or pieces of the pickle that will get in the way of the wax seal.

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Put the jar lids on and prepare your hot water bath. You will want to let them soak for 20 minutes to seal.

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Once done in the hot water bath, let the jars cool, listen for the tell-tale popping of the snap lids, and enjoy the delicious smell of pickles.

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The good news! If any of your lids do not seal properly, just throw the jar in the fridge, let it marinate for 48 hours, and then enjoy. The pickles will last a while in the fridge, so there is no waste, and no hassle of trying to seal those difficult lids.

Bon apetit! These are so tasty, I guarantee a satisfied lip smack.

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