Quick Pickled Cucumbers: An easy and very quick pickled cucumber recipe, which is ready in 24 to 48 hours. Perfect for that summer glut of small cucumbers. Serve these pickled cucumbers with cheese, charcuterie, sandwiches, smoked fish, hot dogs or burgers.
Using your Summer Glut of Cucumbers
I can almost sense and smell autumn in the air, and much though autumn if my favourite season, I’m not quite ready to relinquish summer just yet. There’s a definite cold nip in the early morning and evening air, and the swallows have left us already in North Wales, leaving a perfectly formed empty nest for next year, hopefully. The sun seems to be lower in the sky, and the leaves are just starting to change colour on the Virginia Creeper that covers the back wall of the house. But, as I say, I am not quite ready to let go of summer just yet, and we are still enjoying “al fresco” dining when it’s warm enough, with many meals being cooked over charcoal on the BBQ. Lammas Day has come and gone, which is traditionally the first day of harvest, and we are harvesting a few fruit and vegetables from our garden, despite only moving in seven month ago. We have had spuds, lots of herbs and the apples look to be a bumper crop this year.
We didn’t manage to get around to planting any cucumbers this year, but, I did manage to scoop up some lovely baby cucumbers in the supermarket a few weeks ago, at a discounted price too. We love pickled cucumbers, and I often make a batch for Sunday tea time, just as mum used to do. You simply slice a cucumber, add some malt vinegar with a teaspoon of sugar to cover them, stir and wait for about an hour before serving. It was a simple and easy pickle that was then served with our Sunday tea which usually comprised sandwiches, fresh bread rolls, cheese, eggs, sliced ham with an assortment of cakes such as fruit tea loaf or a fresh orange cake. There were always scones on the table too, either fruit scones or my favourite, cheese scones. Nowadays, I’m usually enjoying a cheeky glass of wine on the Sunday afternoon, but the only beverage on the tea time table in those days, was a big pot of tea, which if I am honest, is the only way to go with afternoon (or high) tea.
But lets not stray away from today’s recipe for Quick Sweet Pickled Cucumbers. These are based on mum’s recipe but use whole baby cucumbers. I have used white vinegar in this recipe too, and I’ve gone a bit spice mad and have added coriander seeds, fresh red chillies and some bay leaves for a bit of extra zing. These are what I call a “refrigerator pickle” and are not suitable for laying down in the pantry. They take but minutes to make and assemble and are ready to enjoy after a day or two. You need to use them within two or three weeks, but that’s never an issue for us as they have all gone by then anyway. You can of course slices them into rounds, but I wanted to create a sort of “gherkin” or “cornichon” appearance, as I had these lovely little cucumbers to play with.
These Quick Sweet Pickled Cucumbers are delicious, and although I have suggested serving them with cheese, charcuterie, in sandwiches, with smoked fish, hot dogs and burgers, I could quite happily eat them straight from the jar, with a long spoon! You can of course add your own spices and herbs, such as star anise, black peppercorns, cinnamon or allspice berries. And by all means experiment with the vinegar, such as cider apple vinegar, red wine vinegar or white wine vinegar. Make sure you take time to salt the cucumbers first, as this will result in a crisper and crunchier cucumber for longer. The recipe is shared below, and do let me know if you make these, and how they went down with your family and friends. Enjoy the rest of summer whilst you can, Karen
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