Then we started seasoning them with a little salt and pepper. The salt and pepper turned out to be gateway seasonings, and before long, we had a full-fledged spice party in our cuke jars, with a splash of vinegar, dill, garlic powder, basil, and others to flavorful to mention. It was getting out of hand. Well, not really. It was actually pretty good, but we couldn't pretend we were just taking cucumber slices for lunch anymore. We had to admit that what we really had was some kind of cucumber-pickle hybrid monster thing. It tasted mostly pickled, but still had some fresh cucumber flavor, and definitely a fresh cucumber texture. But we needed a better name than 'cucumber-pickle hybrid monster thing,' so we started calling them 'instant pickles.'
Even though we don't have any cukes in our garden this year (since we're moving soon), it just so happens that Katie came home from the local market this week with a small bag of cucumbers. Looks like it's instant pickle season again!
|We've got four cukes and four canning jars. It's going to turn out that we need more canning jars.|
|If you anticipated that putting the cukes in the jars would be the next step, give yourself a pat on the back. They should be loosely packed in the jars so there's plenty of space for vinegar and spices to slosh around and flavor the cukes.|
|This gives an idea of the approximate amounts we added. For most of the spices, it was probably between a quarter and half a teaspoon, but some of the really strong ones were less. We estimate the amount per jar after the pictures below.|
Recommended amounts of certain spices per jar:
a pinch: cayenne pepper, cloves, allspice
quarter teaspoon: salt, onion powder, green onion powder, dry mustard, dill weed, celery seed, caraway seed, bay leaves
half teaspoon: black pepper, garlic powder, basil, thyme, oregano
one tablespoon: vinegar
Mix and match to find a combination you like! One of our favorites is salt, black pepper, dill weed, and garlic powder. Just about any combination of pickling spices works well.
How do you make use of surplus cucumbers? Do you have a favorite (instant) pickle recipe? Let us know in the comments section below!