Gratitude Day 92 – Cucumbers

20180731_192544Wed., Aug. 1, 2018

Numbers 11:4-5 – Then the Egyptians who had come with them began to long for the good things of Egypt. This added to the discontent of the people of Israel and they wept, “Oh, for a few bites of meat! Oh, that we had some of the delicious fish we enjoyed so much in Egypt, and the wonderful cucumbers and melons, leeks, onions, and garlic!

One of Hubby Rick’s and my favorite aspects of summer: fresh veggies out of the garden. Our garden isn’t huge. Neighbors have often commented that we grow the most produce per inch they have ever seen. This is probably true!

In the last two weeks, we have had lots of fresh veggies. Earlier, we had radishes and lettuce. Now, we are reaping broccoli, beans, peppers and cucumbers.

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Ah, the cucumbers. I will can some pickles just as soon as I find some fresh dill (We neglected to plant dill.) For now, we are eating them fresh. And, I made some great refrigerator pickles.

These pickles are kept in the refrigerator. With a different flavor than canned pickles, I like them because they are crisp and crunchy.

My Mom used to make refrigerator pickles. I’ve put together a hybrid recipe that I like. They are really very easy. And boy, do they taste good!

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Gather some cucumbers, onions and peppers. I use whatever peppers I have in the garden at the time. Cut everything into bite-sized pieces. I quarter the onions and slice them. Basically, the same with the pepper. For the cucumbers, I like then thin. I don’t have a mandolin, but I cut them as thin as I can. My basic ratio is about 9-10 c. cucumbers, 2-3 peppers and 1-2 onions per batch.

Put everything into a large bowl. Sprinkle with 2 TBSP pickling salt. Cover with a generous layer of ice. If you have an ice maker in the your frigerator with the crushed ice option, use this. Let the bowl sit for two hours.

Some recipes skip this step. I think it is important. This is how the cucumbers become nice and crunchy, which is what I like.

Make the brine. Combine 1 ½ c. vinegar, 2 c. sugar and 1 TBSP celery seed. Bring to boil and remove from heat when sugar is dissolved. Let brine cool.

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After two hours, drain the cucumber bowl contents. Remove the remaining large pieces of ice. In a container with a lid, combine everything. Let set in the fridge for one day. Pickles are ready to eat!

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Here are couple of my extra secrets:

  1. When you have more cucumbers, just cut them up with additional peppers and onions. Let them set for 2 hours in the ice mixer. Drain and add to the brine mixture you already have in the fridge!
  2. These pickles will last for several months refrigerated.

I love them on salads, in sandwiches, as a side dish or just plain!

In the scripture passage from Numbers, the people are complaining because they miss the fresh food from their native land. I find summer much more enjoyable when we can walk out to the garden, see what is ready to harvest and make a meal based on what is found. It makes for so much enjoyment to take veggies right from the garden and make them into something we’ll enjoy.

For cucumbers and other fresh veggies out of the garden, I am grateful.

Almighty God – what a complete joy it is to eat fresh produce right out of the garden. Thank you for this abundance in our lives. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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