Polski Ogórek – Or what to do with an abundance of cucumbers

My cucumber has gone nuts. The  variety I chose to grow was called mini-white. In my head when I ordered the seed all I could think of was making pickles...

My cucumber has gone nuts. The  variety I chose to grow was called mini-white. In my head when I ordered the seed all I could think of was making pickles with mini-cucumbers. The cucumbers themselves are just half length really. They are fat, and yellow and brimming with seed. While the skin is very thin, its also very firm, so when we have been eating it in salads I have been peeling it and then cutting it. It is also part of the burpless variety, so I have not been cutting out the seed.

Above is an early picture of the cucumber and its climing frame. While it has gone nuts, it isnt very long, and I am training it up a frame I built. It is at the end of my root vegetable bed. It’s spikey and currently having a mould problem on the leaves that I am trying to fix with a 1 to 9 part mixure of milk and water. One of the joys of living in queensland.

Early picture of the vine just starting to spread.

I harvested 10+ cucumbers the other day, and sat looking at them in my sink realising that now was the time, pickles were to be made, there is no way we could eat all of those in salads before they went off.

Here is a closeup of the female flower with the little cucumber bulb waiting to be fertilised and grow.

Having the cucumbers all I needed to do was assemble the rest of the ingredients. I looked at quite a few different recipes online, and most had a very similar ratio, so I went with that, adding some extra pickling spices, garlic and chilli.

I washed and scrubbed all the cucumbers in the sink and picked 8 of my rainbow chillies from my plant, 2 per jar.

Next I cut all the cucumbers into 6 or 8 batons depending on their size.  This was about 3/4 of the amount I picked. Let’s just go ahead and ignore all the crap on my table.

Here I am making use of most of my hotplate. The top right is the brine, 3 jars of water, 1 jar of distilled white vinegar and 1 cup of sea salt all boiling. In the bottom left, are the jars boiling to sterilize, and in the bottom right are the lids simmering.

Carefully, one at a time, using tongs and clean tea towels I removed a jar, to stuff. I put in 2 springs of dill scrunched up, a battered garlic clove, a chilli halved and some pickling whole spices. Next I jammed in the cucumer batons. When the jar was mostly full I topped each with the same amount of dill, garlic, spices and chilli. The boiling brine is then poured in and filled to the top. I then gently tapped each jar to get any air to the top, retrieved a lid from the simmering pot, and screwed it on (using teatowels as the whole jar is pretty hot at this point). I then turned each jar upside down, as I think it was somewhere on one of the many Jamie Oliver shows I had seen, putting the air to the bottom, helps seal the lid properly and stop any bacteria, keeping it sterile and meaning you dont have to overfill with brine. I will keep you posted to how this worked and if my memory was any good.

I repeated this process for all 4 jars I could get my hands on (I took all the ones the supermarket had).

I am fairly impressed with myself, and for these jars it ended up costing me about $5 worth of spices, and dill. I did have to buy the jars, but obviously they will be reusable in my lifetime, so they were more an overall investment. I am dying to try one when im over this flu thing, and my mouth has some taste senstation back, but also I want to give them an opportunity to pickle.

My grandmother used to make these every year, they used to have a large home garden and making these were a yearly activity, they would have 10-15 jars in the celar and would have them with every meal. Some batches would be very salty and my grandfather would make sour faces. So this feels very cyclic, growing my own cucs, and making these pickles. I plan to give a jar to my brother (you know if the brine recipe actually worked and they taste good).

So this is an experimental pickle. So far untasted, so try at your own risk, or simply do a google search to find any number of better written recipes, or do like me and just have a go.