I’m starting to think that maybe – just perhaps – I have planted too many cucumbers this year. I’ve never grown them before, and I had no idea what kind of yields, I’d get, so I put 3 “tomato” cages in a 3’x6′ bed and planted 2 cucumber plants (var: Little Leaf from Johnny’s) on each side of the square cages. Not all 24 plants came up, but I’d guess 15 or so did.
We are now harvesting, on average, a quart of pickle-sized cucumbers a day. I only harvest every 2-3 days, so I’m usually getting at least 2 quarts every time I pick. We eat very few cukes fresh, so we’ve been making a LOT of pickles. Here are a few we’ve liked:
- Half-sours – probably our favorite, definitely our “go-to” pickle. Just cukes, garlic, bay, peppercorns, and dill, covered with salt brine and fermented.
- Hungarian summer pickles – not bad, once we added some garlic, but they often taste…fizzy. Literally like there’s carbonation inside the pickles.
- Vinegar garlic dills – first batch had a little too much vinegar and haven’t tasted the second batch yet, but these are closest to Scott’s favorite store-bought pickles
- Mustard/horseradish dills – FABULOUS. Maybe my new favorite pickle…my sweetie hasn’t tried them yet and I hope he hates them. 🙂
The following were Pickles of Desperation, made when we just couldn’t think of what else to make. We actually haven’t tried most of these yet…I’ll let you know if they’re any good.
- Curry pickles – these were actually quite good. Fermented in salt brine, with a tablespoon of curry powder and a teaspoon each of whole corriander, cumin, and black pepper
- “Kitchen sink” pickles – faced with too much vinegar brine and too many jars with spices already in them and not enough cucumbers, we frantically searched the kitchen for anything we could pickle. The result? A pint of pickled kohlrabi, and two mixed pints of kohlrabi, cabbage, carrots, and apples. We plan to serve it with pork.
- “Thanksgiving” pickles – fermented with garlic, sage, rosemary, and chives.
- Thai basil-chili pickles – lots of Thai basil, 2 chili peppers, and garlic
- Cherry tree leaves work better than grape leaves for keeping pickles crunchy
- We like them sized 2-3″ best. At 4″, they can’t keep their crunch, and larger than that, you really have to cut them into “coins.” (I do flavor experiments with these bigger pickles. If the flavor works out, we’ll do it again with tiny premium cukes.)
- If fermented pickles don’t taste fabulous after 3-4 days, just leave them out of the fridge another couple days. The flavors will continue to develop a *lot*.
- Wear sturdy gloves when picking cucumbers!