Cucumbers

At this point in the late summer here in Minnesota, your cucumbers are almost done. But if you are like me you still have some in your fridge from previous weeks. Sadly they don't freeze well due to their high water content, but there are many great techniques you can utilize to use up your cucs; pickling, refrigerator pickling, fermenting, and infusing. I have highlighted most of them below. Vodka refrigerator pickles are similar to regular dill pickles, but instead of canning them you store them in the fridge. I promise they won't taste like vodka and they will have a nice crunch to them. The cucumber infused vodka on the other hand does highlight the spirit with a nice cucumber flavor. I included a drink recipe that will be perfect for upcoming cool evenings on the deck. My final recipe is a simple cucumber salad. It is very close to a greek salad but without the olives (you're welcome Steve). 


Vodka Refrigerator Pickles

This recipe comes from my lovely Grandma Joyce

6 c water

1/2 c canning salt

1 1/2 c distilled vinegar

1 c vodka - I like Prairie Organic

cucumbers - as many that can fit in a 1 gallon jar

3 yellow chili peppers - if you like a little spice

6 cloves garlic

2 dill weed sprigs

Add water, vinegar and canning salt to a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Stir to dissolve the salt. Once dissolved turn off heat and let cool. 

Wash cucumbers and peppers; and slice lengthwise. Peel garlic and place in a clean 1 gallon jar (or ice cream bucket). Place 1 dill weed sprig at the bottom and begin to fill with the sliced cucumbers and peppers, filling up to 1 inch from the top. Pour cooled vinegar/salt mixture and vodka into the jar. Place remaining dill on top of the cucs and put the lid on the jar. Store in refrigerator for a few days before eating to let the flavors develop. Keep stored in fridge and enjoy.


Cucumber Vodka

2 c cucumbers

2 c vodka

Note* I recommend using a high quality vodka for this recipe, Prairie Organic is always my go to. 

Slice cucumbers into coins. Place in a clean quart-sized mason jar and add vodka. Screw on lid and place in the fridge for 1 week. After 1 week, your vodka will be ready. Strain the infused vodka into a clean jar. Discard cucumbers, unless you want to eat them as a shot. Store cucumber vodka in the fridge for up to 6 months (if it lasts that long).  


Cucumber Cocktail

Makes 1 drink

2 oz cucumber vodka

3/4 oz simple syrup

3/4 oz lime juice

cucumber slices

mint leaves

Place ice cubes in a glass and add vodka, simple syrup, lime juice and stir. Garnish with fresh cucumber slices and mint leaves. 


Cucumber Salad

This is a great side dish to any summer BBQ or picnic. If you are planning on eating it the same day you can skip the salting step, but if not I highly recommend taking the time. As mentioned above, cucumbers have a high water content. When using them raw they can turn any meal watery. If you salt them for 20 mins, you bring out extra water and can drain that off. 

1 lb cucumbers

1 tb salt

1 lb cherry tomatoes

1 small red onion

1/4 c olive oil

2 tb white wine vinegar

1 ts salt

1/2 ts pepper

thyme - as much as you like

Peel cucumbers or if you dont mind the skin, skip this step. Slice cucumbers into coins, if the cucumbers are large slice them in half as well. Place cucumber slices in a colander in the sink. Add salt and toss the cucumbers. Let cucumber mixture drain for 20 minutes. 

While cucumbers drain, slice tomatoes in half and cut the onion in thin slices. Combine olive oil, white wine vinegar, salt, pepper, and thyme in a bowl and whisk. Add all vegetables to a bowl and toss with dressing. For the tastiest results let sit for an hour before serving.