Fresh cucumber is a refreshing addition to salads, appetizers, and side dishes. Here are some suggestions for using this crunchy vegetable:
- Marinate cucumber slices with vinegar, sugar, celery seeds, and onion for a relish like side.
- Blend peeled and seeded cucumbers with water, ice, fresh mint, lime juice, and sugar syrup for a refreshing agua fresca drink.
- Top cucumber slices with cream cheese and assorted toppers such as fresh chives, crumbled bacon, quartered cherry tomatoes, or green onions for easy appetizers.
- Stir chopped and seeded cucumber with cooked orzo or couscous, chopped red sweet pepper, chopped red onion, oil, and vinegar for a simple side dish.
- Slice cucumbers to dip in ranch dressing for a snack.
- Toss chopped or sliced cucumber with romaine lettuce, sweet pepper strips, cherry tomatoes, and your choice of dressing for a quick salad.
Step 1: Prepare cucumbers
Thoroughly rinse 3 to 3-1/4 pounds small pickling cucumbers. Remove stems and slice off blossom ends. Cut cucumbers into thick slices (1/4 to 1/2 inch thick).
Step 2: Boil pickling solution
In a large stainless steel, enameled, or nonstick saucepan, combine 4 cups water, 4 cups white vinegar, 1/2 cup sugar, and 1/3 cup pickling salt. Bring to boiling.
Step 3: Pack cucumbers
Pack cucumbers loosely into 6 hot, sterilized pint canning jars, leaving a 1/2-inch headspace. Add 1 tablespoon dillseeds to each jar. Pour hot vinegar mixture over cucumbers, leaving a 1/2-inch headspace. Discard any remaining hot vinegar mixture. Wipe jar rims and adjust lids.
Step 4: Process pickles
Process in a boiling-water canner for 10 minutes (start timing when water returns to boil). Remove jars; cool on racks. Let stand for 1 week.