Over the winter, English cucumbers came into season and were on sale at the supermarket. Before I knew it, my daughter had grabbed an armload of them and deposited them in our cart.
“That’s a lot of cucumbers,” I said with a smile.
And it was. But as long as those were eaten (and they were!), I was game for buying them. Cucumbers are so good for you, so if that’s what my kids wanted to snack on … well, snack away!
Cucumbers, a relative of melons and squashes, are a “valuable source” good-for-your-health antioxidants, according to World’s Healthiest Foods, an authority on nutritional information about foods.
Cucumbers don’t stand a chance in my house. With a family of cucumber lovers, we eat them often and in so many different ways.
Delicious sliced (or peeled and sliced), cucumbers are also great in salads, delightful in smoothies, fun in water and tasty on sandwiches.
And, now that they’re coming into season, several varieties of cucumbers are also available from Maine farmers at farmers markets (I spotted some at the Bangor Farmers’ Market last Sunday!).
Nothing beats the flavor of produce grown close to home and allowed to ripen naturally.
So, grab some of those Maine-grown cucumbers and whip up a batch of these easily, tasty pickles for your backyard gatherings this weekend. No one needs to know how simple it was to make them.
The secret to these pickles is in how they are prepared. By slicing them into thin, round slices, the warm pickling liquid can penetrate them relatively quickly. Unlike spears, there isn’t a lot to them, beyond surface area. These are flavored with dill, and have mustard seed, garlic, salt and pepper for a nice, robust flavor.
Of course, the longer you cure these pickles, the more pickle-y they will become (at about 45 minutes, they retain some of their cucumber flavor). So while these are designed for eating soon, they get better the longer you leave them.
Eat these pickles alone, or — better yet — pile a few on your freshly grilled burger (or hot dog … toppings on hot dogs turn an ordinary sandwich into something special).
- 1 cucumber, thinly sliced (about 2½-3 cups of slices)
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh dill
- ½ tsp mustard seed
- ⅓ cup white wine vinegar
- ⅓ cup water
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- Add the cucumber slices, garlic, dill and mustard seed to a bowl or quart-size canning jar.
- In a small saucepan, heat the white wine vinegar, water and salt to a boil. Pour over the cucumbers, and seal. Shake to combine.
- Let the cucumbers sit, shaking occasionally, for at least 45 minutes. Enjoy.