Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Summer Cucumbers

Did you have to help in the garden as a kid?  Boy we did.  In a family of 12, gardens became a large source of our food, ALL year.  My mom canned and froze dang near everything.  Tomato sauce, juice, spaghetti sauce, diced tomatoes, whole tomatoes.  She would can, 200 qts of dill pickles and some bread and butter pickles.  Green beans, carrots and relish were also canned.  Green peppers, corn, and onions were frozen.  Picked beets were canned.  I could go on and on.  Fruits were canned and frozen as well.  We had to hoe, weed, dig, water, and pick.  I knew how to snap green beans before I could talk I think! 

Cucumbers were always my favorite.  We would sneak them out of the garden and eat them in vinegar and with salt.  We would take a salt shaker to the garden and steal tomatoes too!  What great memories.  I have grown into less of an outdoor girl but none the less I enjoy vegetable gardens!  Oh we even had potatoes a few times.....I had forgotten that until now.

This recipe is so much a part of my childhood.  My mom had one bowl in particular she would put the cucumbers in to sit with a random plate and huge bottle of vinegar to force out the liquid.  I can remember meals where we had sliced tomatoes, cucumbers, corn on the cob, maybe some green beans.  and that was it!  That was a summer meal at my house!  I loved it and I still do.

I know that this is easy.  It is very simple, but sometimes the simplest things are the tastiest.  I like to put up recipes for beginners, and readers in other countries.  I think more than anything it is the method with this recipe that makes it so good.  I can remember my mom slicing these SO thin.  No, she wasn't OCD at all.  I swear each slice had to be the same thickness and the actually had to be the same THIN-NESS.  She was meticulous about crazy stuff like that!  Sorry ma......but we both know it is true!

I used about 10 medium sized cucumbers.  Much of this recipes is to taste but I will give you the amounts I used on these "cuc's" as we call them at our house!

10 medium cucumbers
1 onion sliced
1/2 cup vinegar
1/2 cup sour cream (optional)

Peel cucumbers and slice.  I use my food processor but if you don't have one no worries.  Use a big bowl and slice a few then put them in the bowl, put on a layer of onion, salt GENEROUSLY and keep going.  Do this until all cucumbers are sliced and use all the onions.  (I went light on the onions, I don't like raw onion but I like the flavor it lends)

You will think you are going to die from high blood pressure with the amount of salt you are using but remember, we are drawing out liquid and you will drain that liquid off so you are good.  Put a plate of the top facing down, one that fits close to the edge and then put something heavy on top to weigh it down.

I let these sit for a good 3-4 hours, draining off the liquid as it accumulated.  They can go a lot longer with no problem.  It makes the cucumbers crunchy but limp which I love!  After you have drained them you simply add your vinegar and mix.  You can use any vinegar you want, I prefer apple cider.   You will know if you didn't use enough salt, because the bite of the vinegar will be overpowering so USE ENOUGH SALT!!   If vinegar is all you want on them which is the way I eat them you are done!!!  ENJOY!

Creamed Cucumbers
Do not add vinegar, add 1/2-3/4 cup sour cream and then just 1 tbsp vinegar.  Mix until thoroughly combined!  Now, you can enjoy YOUR version!!

And can I just warn you the longer these sit in your fridge the better they become!!!  I am certain most people have their own versions of this exact salad but the Smith version!!

Your "cucumbers make the world go 'round" chefwannabe


  1. I forgot about these. Thank you, I will be making these right away. :)

  2. My parents gardened and we were the "free" help. However, I discovered that the easiest way to pick green beans was to pull up the plant, turn it upside down, and pick off the beans that were now much easier to see. (This also kept them from producing more and thereby my need to pick them.) And then my Dad caught me and sent me into the house. "Okay!!!" :)

    I also just saw a cucumber salad today at work that looked really good. Looked very similar to this, but I can guarantee it was full of sugar. Interesting that your recipe doesn't have sugar.