First, a Cucumber Salad recipe. This is easy to make, and can be frozen in containers (I like to use 2-cup-size containers, since I like this salad but don't like to eat a lot of it at one time). This is one of my mom's staple recipes, and I turn to it when I have extra cucumbers and need to preserve them quickly and easily. It's a convenient side dish at a meal, and always goes over well at picnics and potlucks, too! I like it best fresh, but it's still good after being frozen. I don't have a photo of this recipe (when I get one, I will be posting the recipe in the "vegetable" and "salad" categories on this website; for now, it's only located here!).
A medley of fresh cucumbers, onions, and bell peppers in a light vinegar dressing
7 cups thinly sliced peeled cucumbers
1 cup thinly sliced bell peppers, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup thinly sliced onions
2 cups sugar
1 cup vinegar
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1. In large mixing bowl, stir together the cucumbers, peppers, and onions.
2. In a separate bowl, stir sugar, vinegar, salt, and celery seed until sugar is dissolved. Pour over vegetables and let stand for 2 hours.
This cucumber salad may be frozen or refrigerated for up to one week.
Makes 10 servings
Next, one of my personal favorites, which I consider to be a real treat in the summer when we have fresh tomatoes and cucumbers, Tomato Cucumber Salad. We haven't had fresh cucumbers from the garden this year, so I haven't been able to make it (hence, again, no photo, and the recipe is only located in this post for the time being). I created this recipe after trying some other tomato and cucumber salads. It's quick and easy, and so colorful and delicious!
Tomato Cucumber Salad
A medley of fresh tomatoes and cucumbers, tossed with seasonings
2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
3 cups chopped fresh cucumbers (peeled)
1/4 cup chopped onions (can be green onions OR regular)
2 Tablespoons Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon basil
2 teaspoons vinegar or lemon juice
Pinch of pepper
Dash of garlic salt
1. In mixing bowl, toss together tomatoes, cucumber, and onions.
2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the seasonings and lemon juice (or vinegar). Pour over cucumber and tomato mixture, and stir to coat. Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes before serving.
Makes 8 servings
Now, for a real family favorite. This is my mom's tried-and-true garlic dill pickles recipe. She has canned hundreds of quarts of these dill pickles, and anyone who is the recipient of a jar of these pickles raves about "Linda's dill pickles". I have seen people single-handedly finish off a quart of these pickles when we serve them with meals. The garlic clove inside was always fought over among my siblings and I when I was younger, since there's only one, and we all wanted to be allowed to eat it (it's pickled and tastes just like a dill pickle!). To top it all off, this is a really easy recipe, and produces great-tasting, crispy homemade dill pickles.
Garlic Dill Pickles
10 quarts of cucumbers*
10 cloves garlic
10 sprigs of fresh dill, washed
10 fresh grape leaves**
3 quarts water
1 quart vinegar (5% acid)
1 cup canning (non-iodized) salt
1/2 teaspoon powdered alum
1. Heat washed cucumbers with brine until heated through well and turned a dark green in color, but not boiling.
2. Have jars hot in a canner, and lids hot in a pan of water on the stove. Pack hot cucumbers into hot jars with one clove of garlic, one sprig of dill, and one grape leaf in each jar. Set jars back into hot canner as they are filled, to keep hot.
3. When all the cucumbers are out of the brine, bring the brine to a boil. Pour brine into jars of cucumbers to 1/2-inch from top. Screw hot lid on, and set jar aside to cool. No further processing needed!
*Smaller cucumbers make the best dill pickles!
**The fresh grape leaf in the jar reportedly produces crisper pickles!
Here are two relish recipes. I don't use a lot of relish, but it sure is handy to have for adding into tuna salad, potato salad, or macaroni salad! You can serve relish with hot dogs, or in place of pickles with hamburgers. It's easy to make
10 cups ground cucumbers*
1 large red bell pepper, minced
1 large green bell pepper, minced
4 medium onions, finely chopped
5 Tablespoons non-iodized (canning) salt
2 1/4 cups vinegar
1 1/8 cups sugar
1 Tablespoon dry mustard
1 Tablespoon turmeric
2 teaspoons celery seed
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1. Soak cucumbers (ground), peppers, and onions overnight in salt (mix well to coat).
2. Drain well, and add 2 cups of the vinegar, the sugar, mustard, turmeric, and celery seed. Mix well.
3. Bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes. Mix cornstarch with the remaining 1/4 cup of vinegar, and add to boiling mixture, stirring to prevent lumps.
4. Continue boiling to process by open kettle. Directions for open-kettle canning can be found here! Or, you can fill hot jars, (leave 1/4-inch of space at the top), adjust canning lids, and process for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath.**
*May also use zucchini. Grind through a hand-operated meat grinder, mince, or shred finely.
**Processing in a boiling water bath means you set your hot jars of food (with canning lids in place, of course) in a canner filled with water that reaches about 3-4 inches from the lids of the jars. You then heat the canner until boiling, and continue boiling for the recommended minutes; in this case, 10.
Makes 4-5 pints
Sweet Zucchini or Pickle Relish
10 cups chopped unpeeled zucchini (about 7 medium) OR cucumbers
4 cups chopped onion (about 4 large onions)
1 large sweet red pepper, chopped
4 ounces green chilies
3 Tablespoons non-iodized (canning) salt
3 1/2 cups sugar
3 cups vinegar
1 Tablespoon ground turmeric
4 teaspoons celery seed
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1. In a large container, combine zucchini, onion, pepper, chilies, and salt. Stir well. Chill overnight.
2. Rinse thoroughly; drain. In a large kettle, combine remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil and add zucchini mixture. Simmer for 10 minutes.
3. Ladle hot relish into hot jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Adjust lids and process for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath.*
*Processing in a boiling water bath means you set your hot jars of food (with canning lids in place, of course) in a canner filled with water that reaches about 3-4 inches from the lids of the jars. You then heat the canner until boiling, and continue boiling for the recommended minutes; in this case, 10.
Makes 5 pints