No matter how hard I search, I'm always able to miss a few cukes that have grown to huge sizes. Is there any way one can utilize these big boys instead of tossing them out? Many thanks for any help.
I call it "cucumber blindness". I can't see them until they are blimps. One day it's a gherkin, next day it's a blimp. There is a similar ailment called "zucchini blindness".
Cucumbers really are best when picked at a medium size. But, in dishes where they are chopped, you can get away with using the larger ones, although the flavor won't be the best. Peel and quarter them. Cut out the entire seed cavity and chop up the rest. This can be used for making cucumber yogurt soup, raita or a cucumber sauce if you don't happen to have the better, medium sized cukes at the moment.
Harvesting at the right moment and taking proper care of the produce is so important in reaping the benefits of home gardening. Too many times I've lost out, after many weeks of garden work, by my unpreparedness when the veggie was at its prime.
Two words - cucumber salad!!
For every 2 large cukes - peel (or not or partially for decoration-the choice is yours) and thinly slice into a glass bowl - salt slices and allow to sit for about 1/2 hour. Rinse and drain. Add 1 cup water, 1 cup regular vinegar , 1/2 cup sugar and one large sliced onion. I also like to add chopped scallions. Stir well and pack into large containers - preferably glass, and refrigerate. You can start eating this as a side dish starting the next day - under refrigeration it will last for at least 1 week.
If you have a lot of cukes you can double or triple the recipe, but be prepared to hand out lots of cucumber salad to friends.
Pink, I use those big cucumbers to make Grandma's cucumber relish, we got through jars of it every year. Dad loves it, David and Amanda love it, I like it for burgers and pulled pork. It uses up all those "too big" cukes so I don't feel guilty when I miss them!
CUCUMBER RELISH (GRANDMAÂS RECIPE)
4 cups ground cucumbers
4 large onions, ground up
4 green peppers, ground up
1 or 2 red peppers, ground up
1 tbls. Salt
4 tsp celery seed
2 tsp. Turmeric
Â½ tsp. Pepper
4 cups vinegar
4 cups sugar
Combine veggies and salt and let stand for 2 hours. Drain well, add rest of ingredients and cook slowly for 1 hour. Pack hot into hot jars and process in boiling water bath 15 minutes for pints.
Makes 6 Â 8 pints
Do those "big boys" get bitter?
Taste first. Ours (Japanese) don't get bitter when they get big but they do get sour and seem to loose any cucumber flavor at a certain size. And the big ones had only a thin rim of flesh around a big core of seeds even though this variety has small nice seeds when it is reasonable size.
those big cukes often do get bitter, that's why I make relish. Everything gets ground up, so the big seeds don't matter and by the time you mix all that sugar/vinegar/spice it doesn't matter if the cuke is bitter.
I use 'em every year and no one ever knows the difference.
Overgrown cukes make the BEST cucumber chunks.
Just scrub the cukes, cut off the stem end and tip.
Cut in half length-wise, then into quarters, length-wise.
Cut away the seeds.
Cut into small chunks. Add diced green pepper and onion.
Follow instructions of basic brining for 3 to 4 hours.
Mix up a simple bread and butter pickle syrup: Equal parts of water and vinegar. A couple cups sugar. Some pickling spice.
Bring mixture to gentle boil. Add drained cucumbers chunks.
Bring to boil then remove from heat.
Portion into clean jars.
Cool and store in fridge.
Or process in cold water bath canner in order to store in pantry.
I just made some, deliberately using the larger cukes and they turned out great.
Sorry Foodonastump. We just got back from a week away and I've missed much since DS #1 monopolized the laptop.
We have our own monster cucumbers. They have been keeping me very happy.
Maybe I'll even post a recipe or two.
You could also save the monster cuke for seed, provided you don't have too many monsters. It's hard to get mature seed from a cucumber. When the seeds dry they're not filled out like what you get in the seed package and they don't germinate. I'm told if there are too many over-ripe cukes on the vine, the vine will stop producing.
There's also "green bean blindness" I have that.
Annie, that looks like a great recipe! That one's going in my file.
Many thanks to one and all. Recipes look yummy.
To save seed of cucumbers, they should be not just ripe but over ripe. They should be left on the vine as long as possible, making big orange blimps. Just one will give you more seeds than you can possibly use.
I have a good salad that uses cucumbers as a "basket". Slice just a little off both ends off a large round cucumber. Then cut about three inches from the end. You should have two large pieces that sit flat on a table, plus the "middle" which you will not need right now. . Scoop the seeds out of the two ends with a spoon. This will form your two cucumber baskets. Next cut a fully ripe tomato into quarter-inch dice. Also peel and cut cut an avocado into quarter inch dice. Loosely mix the avocado and tomato, then pour on three tablespoons lime or lemon juice, and one tablespoon canola oil. Spoon the avocado-tomato mixture into the cucumber baskets. Served chilled. I made this for my DH last Sunday and he was delighted. He picked it right up and ate it like an apple. I saw the cuke baskets in my newspaper cooking section and took it from there.
I want to use mine to make dill pickles but I don't have a dish large enough th hold them. Can I make them in a stainless steel pot or will the metal react with the vinegar?
These are my favorite recipes for "big" cucumbers. I make Cinnamon Cucumbers for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Peel and core large cucumbers. Slice a gallon cucumbers into 1/2 inch rings and cut in half. Let stand 24 hours in 1 cup lime powder and 4 1/2 quarts of water. Rinse and drain. Soak in cold water 3 hours. Drain. Throw away liquid.
1/2 c. vinegar 2 t. alum
1/3 bottle red food coloring Enough water to cover
Simmer cucumbers for 2 hours. Discard
1 c. vinegar 4 cinnamon sticks
5 c. sugar 1/2 pkg. red hot candies
1 c. water
Heat and pour over cucumbers; let stand overnight. Reheat the liquid 2 more times, letting stand overnight each time. On last heating, place cucumbers in jars, pour hot liquid over and seal jars.
Cucumber relish is fresh tasting on hot dogs, sandwiches and any dish using pickle relish.
1 gal. cucumbers 5 c. sugar
6 onions 1 t. tumeric
5 bell peppers 1 1/2 t. celery seeds
3 c. vinegar 1 T. mustard seeds
Grind cucumbers, onions and peppers in food processor. Mix together. Sprinkle heavy with salt. Let stand three hours. Drain well and rinse salt from mixture. Put in large pot, add vinegar, sugar, tumeric, celery seeds and mustard seeds. Let the mixture get hot until it turns a green relish color. Pour into jars and seal.
liza, the vinegar may indeed react to an aluminum pot but your stainless steel should be just fine.
thank you Annie, I'll do that tomorrow.