Friday, August 19, 2011

Fresh Cucumber Pickles

Cut Glass Bowl of Pickles
Mom is Gone but her Recipe & Bowl Still Come to the Table

 Recipe by Mom

When my family moved from the country to suburbia, my parents continued to cultivate a vegetable garden, unlike the neighbors. While keeping the lawn neatly mowed and green, in compliance with an unspoken code of conduct for the neighborhood, my parents could not comply with accepted practice of using the back yard for only social purposes. They kept a garden—not for showy flowers, but for food, and I am a better person for it.

Since Mom and Dad both had fulltime jobs, they concentrated on vegetables that were easy to grow in limited space during New England summers: tomatoes, lettuce, spinach, green beans, squash.

Cup of Salted Vinegar, Bowl of Sliced Cukes, Big Sprig of Dill
Just a Few Ingredients & Simple Preparation
There were two farms in town with roadside stands that sold more time-consuming crops, and this is where my mother and I first learned about herbs. One farm was famous for giving out samples of such oddities, and this is how my mother came home with fresh dill along with her “cukes,” as she called them. She made a dill pickle recipe to taste, using vinegar, salt, and water, which I have more or less quantified. Feel free to make some adjustments to your taste! Make these pickles before dinner, and they will marinate to perfection while you prepare the rest of your dinner.

I am happy to give a shout-out to Morris Farms and Anderson Farm in Wethersfield, CT. Both farms are still in business after all these years, and if you live nearby you might treat yourself to some corn, and see if they still sell herbs.

Adding the Dill
Mom’s Fresh Cucumber Pickles

1 large or 2 small cucumbers
small or partial bunch of dill
¼ cup white wine vinegar or rice vinegar
¼ cup water
1 - 1 ½  tsp. salt

Use scissors to de-stem and snip up dill. (You can do this by hand or chop with knife if you prefer, but scissors save time). Use about 2 heaping tbsp. to ¼ cup or more lightly packed, or to taste.

Peel cucumbers if waxed or cucumber is large. If using small or pickling cucumbers you may partially peel them (see photo). Cucumber skins are too tough for vinegar to penetrate so it’s best to remove at least half the peel so the pickles have uniform crispness.

Slice cucumbers very thinly.

Stir together water, vinegar, and salt until salt dissolves.

Mix together cucumbers and dill, and put in bowl. Pour vinegar mixture over. It’s not necessary for liquid to cover cukes, as they will shrink when pickling. Marinate 30 minutes or more, stirring up cucumbers from bottom of bowl every 10 minutes.

We’ve kept these up to two weeks. Drain off the liquid before storing the pickles in the fridge. The liquid can be reused with another batch of cucumbers and dill. Because the pickling solution draws out water from the cucumbers, it will get weaker with every batch of cucumbers. Feel free to zap it up with some more vinegar and salt as needed.


  1. I've never done anything pickly before, but this sounds so fresh and good I'll have to try it--and soon! Thanks for the fast and easy recipe.

  2. Hope you like them. The first time Mom made them, us kids doubted that she could really make pickles without a jar. But we loved 'em!

  3. Fresh cucumbers work well for the recipe added with pickles.

  4. Wow, great idea, Ginseng. Combining pickles with cucumbers is a fun variation.

  5. I'm now hooked on this dish. I add carrots sometimes, too. And I've taken to adding the dilled cukes and carrots to my mixed green salad as well. It adds a nice zip.

  6. What a delightful surprise when you served them to me at dinner! Especially since I didn't recognize the dish at first...the carrots are an excellent addition.

  7. Lovely salads alternative and makes dinner more interesting with a variety of flavours.