First, the bad news: Our cucumber plants have succumbed to powery mildew. We tried to stave off this common disease with Neem oil and other organic remedies to no avail.
Now, the good news: Before their demise, our plants produced a bumper crop of cucumbers that we relished (get it?) throughout the season.
Today, we’d like to share some of our favorite cucumber recipes, including three easy and delicious ways to make pickles, plus the best cucumber salad you can eat for lunch from a recipe passed down through generations.
Here’s the 4-ingredient (no cooking involved) recipe:
- 8 larger or to 10 smaller firm, fresh Kirby (pickling) cucumbers
- 3 teaspoons kosher, coarse or pickling salt
- 1 to 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
- 1/2 cup white vinegar
Slice your cucumbers very thin and put them in a 1-liter jar.
Add 3 teaspoons salt and dill, then pour in white vinegar.
Close the jar and give it a few shakes to begin distributing the ingredients.
The liquid level will be very low, but don’t fret. Within a few hours, the salt will work its magic and draw out the moisture from the cucumbers to create a perfectly balanced pickle brine.
Put the jar in the front of your fridge and give it a shake a few times before you’re ready to eat the pickles. They’re ready in as little as 2 to 3 hours, but are at their best after 6 to 8 hours. They should last about three weeks in your fridge.
Next up are Elaine Rastocky’s Sweet and Spicy Bread and Butter Fridge Pickles, adapted from Martha Stewart Living:
- 3 pounds Kirby cucumbers or summer squashes, cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds (about 6 1/2 cups)
- 1 cup medium dice Vidalia onion
- 2 heaping tablespoons coarse salt
- 2 cups ice cubes
- 1 cups apple cider vinegar, 1 ½ cup distilled white vinegar, ½ cup water
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 teaspoon whole mustard seeds
- 3/4 teaspoon celery seed
- 3/4 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
- ¼ – ½ teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes or 1/8 cup (or to taste) jalapenos sliced crosswise with seeds removed.
Put your sliced cucumbers and onion in a large colander with the salt. Add ice, and toss again. Place over a bowl, and refrigerate, tossing occasionally, for 3 hours. Drain. Rinse well, and drain again.
Bring vinegar, sugar, mustard and celery seeds, peppercorns, turmeric, and red-pepper flakes to a boil in a saucepan. Add cucumbers and onion. Return to a boil and immediately remove from heat.
Ladle into 4 hot sterilized pint jars, leaving about 1/2 inch below each jar’s neck. Wipe rims of jars with a clean, damp cloth; cover tightly with sterilized lids and screw tops.
Let jars cool and refrigerate for 2 days before eating. Unopened jars can be refrigerated up to one month.
Third up is my favorite pickle recipe, Bread and Butter Pickles, adapted America Test Kitchen’s recipe. I make them each summer and enjoy them well past their recommended fridge storage time.
- 2 pounds pickling cucumbers, sliced 1/8 inch thick
- 1 onion, halved and sliced through root end into 1/8‑inch-thick pieces
- 1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut into 1/8‑inch-wide strips
- 1/4 cup Diamond Crystal kosher salt (see page 70)
- 5-7 cups ice cubes
- 2 cups cider vinegar
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds
- 3/4 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
Toss cucumbers, onion, bell pepper, and salt together in large bowl. Cover with single layer of ice cubes and refrigerate for 3 hours. Discard ice, then rinse and drain vegetables well.
Bring vinegar, sugar, water, mustard seeds, turmeric, celery seeds, and cloves to boil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add rinsed vegetables, return to boil, and immediately remove from heat.
Using slotted spoon, transfer pickles to jars with tight-fitting lids. Pour hot brine over pickles, evenly distributing spices, let cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate for 2 days before eating. Pickles can be refrigerated for up to 2 months.”
Finally, you’ve got to make this easy-as-can-be Dill Cucumber Salad shared by Sandy Almassy for lunch!
- 4 medium cucumbers
- 1 small chopped onion (red or sweet)
- Half a cup of sour cream (yogurt could be substituted)
- Fresh or dry chopped dill weed-1 to 2 tablespoons
- Salt and pepper to your taste
Here’s her recipe, which she remembers savoring during her childhood summers:
“Peel and slice cucumbers. Put into bowl, add salt. Let it stand a few minutes to release some of water from cucumbers. Pour off water.
Add onions, sour cream, dill and pepper.
You can cut recipe in half or double or triple. Keep in mind, it is hard to make mistakes with these wonderful ingredients!
Here’s some more good news: Our rooftop garden tomatoes are ripening up!
The miraculous moment when those green fruits turn red started occurring last week, when Elaine plucked a pint of cherry tomatoes (they didn’t last long!).
They’ve been coming ever since.
The garden has been abuzz with all sorts of pollinators, and recently we spotted a Monarch butterfly enjoying our oregano.
Here are some more photos of our Green Roof Garden: