I am fortunate to get my hands on past prime fruits and veggies on a regular basis, and the thing is, they have to be used up quickly before they spoil. They don't necessarily have to be eaten immediately, but they should be cooked, frozen, or put in another environment that preserves, to either kill any spoilage going on, or to slow it down. The thing is, often I get cucumbers that aren't in perfect condition, but I can't freeze them or cook them because I have yet to find a good recipe using cooked cucumbers.
So I'm usually at a loss as to what to do with those cucumbers, and usually I either don't take them, or I take them and they spoil in my fridge because I didn't know what to do with them.
Sometimes I turn them into gazpacho or Korean cucumber soup, and sometimes into cucumber agua fresca but even those need to be eaten up quickly, because they don't include any ingredients that would retard spoilage. I've thought about pickles, but I'd been disappointed in the past when trying to make fermented veggies from past prime produce. Since pickling with lactic acid bacteria (pickles in brine) is a sensitive process, it is a bad idea to use any produce that isn't 100% fresh, as it'll likely ruin the batch because of mold. And the pickling process also takes a few days, and sometimes you don't want to wait that long to eat your pickles.
That's why this pickle recipe is so good. Because it's made with boiling vinegar, the boiling liquid kills spoilage causing bacteria, and the vinegar stops it from spoiling later, which makes this recipe the perfect one for past prime cukes. Additionally, it takes less than 12 hours for them to be ready, good for when you don't have half a week or more to be able to eat them.
Surprisingly, unlike most vinegar pickles I've eaten, these don't taste very vinegary- they actually taste nearly identical to regular lacto-fermented (salt pickled) cucumber pickles. And they're also missing the sugar that you find so often in vinegar pickles.
Give these a shot- if you like pickles, this is sure to be a hit in your home!
They're vegan, GAPS legal, Paleo/Primal friendly, and perfect for every diet.
12-20 small cucumbers
6-10 cloves of garlic
1-3 tablespoons dried dill
1 cup vinegar (apple cider vinegar or white vinegar)
2 cups water
1/4 cup salt
1. If your cucumbers are thicker, cut them in quarters so their thickness is no thicker than that of a man's thumb. If they're thinner, leave them whole.
2. Slice an onion into a few thin circles, and cut garlic cloves in half.
3. Pack a large mason jar with cucumbers, onions, and garlic. Sprinkle with dill.
4. Heat vinegar, water, and salt until boiling.
5. Pour boiling liquid over the cukes, making sure they're entirely submerged. I found using a slice of onion on top of the cukes helped them all stay beneath the liquid.
6. Leave on the counter until fully cooled.
7. Eat after 12 hours of marinating. You can put this in the fridge and let it marinate longer. It will keep for a while now.
8. Note that the garlic will likely turn blue/green. That's just a chemical reaction that happens with some of the components of the garlic mix with acid- they're totally fine.
Have you ever made pickles before? How do you make yours?
What do you do with past prime cucumbers?
Does this look like a recipe you'd try?