Simple Pickled Cucumbers

 You can soak just about anything in vinegar and I am probably going to like it. Vinegar is just one of those flavors that I can’t seem to get enough of. Some people like salty, most love sugary, but for me the more it makes me pucker, the more I enjoy it. I was very fortunate to grow up on a farm with a family that ALWAYS cooked. I lived on the same mile section in the country with 90% of my extended family and during the summers we would work together to dig, shuck, pluck, butcher, chop, grow, and prepare whatever food was growing or roaming.  So I learned from a young age age how to cook, bake, can, freeze, and do just about anything with whatever you had lieing around. My mema (my mom’s mom) was the best chef of all in our family. Regularly on the weekends, she would prepare some baked or canned goods, be it raisin pie, liver sausage, potato bread or baked bread and make her rounds to all my aunts and uncles houses dropping off their portions of this yummy treat. One of her best recipes (I always thought) was her Simple Pickled Cucumbers.

My mema passed when I was in college but before she did, we spent much time together cooking. I would learn her ways, a little bit of this, a pinch of that, taste it raw and figure out the flavor profile. She seldom to never measured and somehow just knew how much everything needed. But her most important tip was to taste everything while you are preparing. This even goes for raw liver sausage before she cooked it. Her stance was if it tasted good raw then it was going to be excellent cooked. Before she passed, when I was still in high school, I sat down with her and had her verbally walk me through all of her favorite recipes.  I wrote everything down, at least the best I could. She guessed on most of the quantities of ingredients and regularly would stop herself mid sentence and go back 5 steps where she had left something out.

To her, cooking and baking where an art form. As she was preparing food, she would flow around the kitchen so easily that it almost seemed like a dance. She just felt the food and would instantly know what everything needed. Holidays at her house were magical. And oh the table of desserts. Everyone would bring their own favorite recipe but it was always her desserts that were devoured first. We all miss her and her cooking. A couple years ago, I took all of her recipes and created a cook book out of them. I gave them to my family in hopes that her food will carry down through generations. Many of them were not simple. She was German and a farmer so she used everything she had to cook with. I’m still waiting to pull up the courage to tackle her liver sausage. The recipe starts by boiling a pigs head…

As for her pickled cucumbers, these are simply perfect. I share with you her recipe. I change it to meet my needs and in parenthesis you will notice my edits. Her pickled cucumbers where slightly sweet. I tend to make mine more vinegary. Hope you enjoy!

The Good Stuff:

  • 3 medium cucumbers
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (I used a little more)
  • 1/3 cup chopped onions
  • 1/3 cup cider vinegar (I increased this to 1/2)
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 2 tablespoons sugar (you can use palm sugar, reduce the amount or even leave it out for a slightly different flavor)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of paprika (you can even increase to a teaspoon if you like paprika)
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper

The How To:

  • Slice cucumbers into very thin slices using a mandolin or similar slicer and place in a strainer.
  • Sprinkle sliced cucumbers in strainer with 1/4 teaspoon salt. You want to cover all the cucumbers so you may need to use a little more.
  • Let stand for one hour, drain.
  • Mix remaining salt, onions, vinegar, oil, sugar, paprika, and pepper together and pour over cucumbers.
  • Toss and refrigerate for 3 hours before serving.

This is a great recipe to make the night before or the morning ahead of time. It will last for a while sealed in a jar int he fridge.


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