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Growing Cucumbers Naturally

 
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Cucumbers are one of my favorite garden plants to eat and grow!

I wanted to make this thread to help me keep track of and document my cucumbers.

Hopefully it can be helpful to others also!
 
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These baby cucumbers were planted right before a rain, had great germination, and are planted closely together.

I plant them along the edge of my garden fence so they can grow on it as a trellis.

I really like sliced cucumbers in vinegar, and I want to grow dill and pickle some cucumbers this year.

Anybody have any good pickling recipes?
Baby-cucumbers-.jpg
Baby cucumbers!
Baby cucumbers!
 
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Steve, I do not have any good pickling recipes but I have a dish I love.

I like to cut up a mild onion, thinly sliced carrots and cucumber then douse with apple cider vinegar and a dash of olive oil.  If I have them I will throw in some pickled jalapenos and olives.  This is a nice fresh salad to eat in the heat of the summer.  
 
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I need to grow some cucumbers.
 
Steve Thorn
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Scott Foster wrote:Steve, I do not have any good pickling recipes but I have a dish I love.

I like to cut up a mild onion, thinly sliced carrots and cucumber then douse with apple cider vinegar and a dash of olive oil.  If I have them I will throw in some pickled jalapenos and olives.  This is a nice fresh salad to eat in the heat of the summer.



That sounds yummy Scott, thanks for sharing that!
 
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The small cucumber plants' first true leaves are growing.
Young-cucumbers-.jpg
Young cucumbers!
Young cucumbers!
 
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Steve Thorn wrote:The small cucumber plants' first true leaves are growing.


So much better than  mine. And, after a week of 30 + degrees, we are back down to 12 - 14 next week. Just as I've planted out my toms.
 
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Yeah the weather has been really weird here too recently.

It was 50 degrees F. about 3 weeks ago and we were getting rain pretty regularly, and then it changed almost immediately to 90 degrees and no rain on top of that. I know the plants were super confused, but most of them have weathered (pun intended) it pretty well.

Hope you get some tasty cucumbers soon!
 
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Steve Thorn wrote:
I really like sliced cucumbers in vinegar, and I want to grow dill and pickle some cucumbers this year.

Anybody have any good pickling recipes?



I do not like pickles at all, and last year (with an enormous cucumber harvest) I decided to make some home made refrigerator pickles for my pickle loving husband. I just used a cup of apple cider or white wine  vinegar, a couple cups of water, cut cucumbers, then threw them in the mason jar with a bunch of fresh dill, garlic, a bit of salt, and whatever peppers we had laying around (everything from jalapeno to Serrano to some super hot peppers I don't remember, basically whatever you have). You can also add whatever other spices you want. I sealed them up, put them in the fridge, and a couple weeks later had pickles that even me, a pickle hater, devoured.

There are a ton of recipes online, but the key for me was not adding sugar, or at most adding a teaspoon. I realized the store bought pickles are just full of sugar, and the pickles all floppy. It was hard for me to believe how easy it was to make them myself and how good they are! They won't keep as long as proper canned pickles, but the stayed good for me for a month of so after ready. They were so good though that they were eaten very quickly. This might be a good way to start.
 
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That's awesome Kali, thanks for sharing that!

It sounds delicious, definitely going to have to try that!
 
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More true leaves showing and starting to really grow fast now!
Cucumbers-with-more-true-leaves.jpg
Cucumbers with more true leaves
Cucumbers with more true leaves
 
Steve Thorn
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I love seeing cucumber plants growing, it reminds me of summer!
Cucumber-plants-remind-me-of-summer.jpg
Cucumber plants remind me of summer
Cucumber plants remind me of summer
 
Steve Thorn
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This is what most of my cucumbers are turned into, what we simply call cucumbers and vinegar.

I need to take a picture of the cucumbers I've harvested, but they usually don't last very long and are soon turned into this simple side dish we have with most meals during the summer.

All it contains is organic apple cider vinegar with the mother, ground sea salt, and ground organic black pepper with baby cucumbers sliced very thin and left to sit about 30 minutes to an hour.

The vinegar can be diluted with water to make it a little more mild, but I love the tangy kick!

Does anyone else eat their cucumbers like this?
Cucumbers-and-vinegar.jpg
Cucumbers and vinegar
Cucumbers and vinegar
 
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Whenever I hear cucumbers and vinegar I think of Sairey Gamp in the Dickens novel eating her "cowcumbers" :)

I haven't made it recently, but I used to really enjoy a Doukhobour dish of grated cucumbers and radishes and finely chopped green onion and dill in a broth (they considered this a soup) of water, salt, and lemon juice. It's served cold. I kept a jug of it in the fridge and treated it like a beverage.

Sometimes I do a quick pickle like yours but with rice wine vinegar...but then I mix it with cold rice and sprinkle Chinese five spice and sesame seeds on top.
 
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I love cucumbers.  Probably my favorite vegetable.  Here is a simple recipe I look forward to every year!  Slice 2 medium cucumbers and one medium onion.  Mix up 1/2 cup of sour cream, 1 T. of vinegar, 1 t. sugar, and 1/2 t. of salt.  Pour over the sliced veggies and mix up well.  Allow to sit for at least a half hour before eating.  So yummy!  Enjoy.
 
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Heidi Kass wrote:I love cucumbers.  Probably my favorite vegetable.  Here is a simple recipe I look forward to every year!  Slice 2 medium cucumbers and one medium onion.  Mix up 1/2 cup of sour cream, 1 T. of vinegar, 1 t. sugar, and 1/2 t. of salt.  Pour over the sliced veggies and mix up well.  Allow to sit for at least a half hour before eating.  So yummy!  Enjoy.



As a born Wisconsinite, I laughed out loud seeing your recipe including sour cream, Heidi!  That sounds exactly like something my Norwegian grandma would have made.  

This time of year, cucumbers, peppers, and tomatoes abound, to I like to cut these guys up with a little onion put in a colander and sprinkle with salt and leave to sweat for 15-30 minutes.  I then add a mixuture of:

1 cup half-and-half

1/2 cup sugar

6 tablespoons cider vinegar

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon salt or more to taste  

Basically a creamy sweet and sour sauce.  This is what I remember as a child my German grandmother making in the summer months.  

Enjoy!
 
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Steve, I eat my cucumbers like this.   I usually cut up an onion and if I have them I throw in some pickled jalapenos or kalamata olives.  Don't forget the sea salt.
 
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Jan White wrote:Whenever I hear cucumbers and vinegar I think of Sairey Gamp in the Dickens novel eating her "cowcumbers"





I haven't made it recently, but I used to really enjoy a Doukhobour dish of grated cucumbers and radishes and finely chopped green onion and dill in a broth (they considered this a soup) of water, salt, and lemon juice. It's served cold. I kept a jug of it in the fridge and treated it like a beverage.



That's neat Jan! I've been looking for recipes to put some radishes to use, will have to try this!

Sometimes I do a quick pickle like yours but with rice wine vinegar...but then I mix it with cold rice and sprinkle Chinese five spice and sesame seeds on top.



This sounds really good, I love vinegar with rice, sounds delicious!
 
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Hey, Steve! Do you have a bunch of cucumbers ripening now? I'm jealous: Ours are just getting started with the late monsoon rains.

Did you say you have some dill, too? Have you tried pickling cucumbers without vinegar the old-fashioned way? Here's a recipe for old-school kosher dills that builds its own acid in the brine rather than relying on added acid in the form of vinegar. That initial amount of salt can be varied somewhat. The amount of salt by weight per pound/pint of veggies and brine is what makes a brined pickle "half sour," "full sour," etc. Sandor Katz's website has a good discussion of that as well as his recipe. I briefly had a fermented vegetable business and sold a range of brined pickles during cucumber season, some spicy with habañeros added, some zesty with horseradish (my favorite, I think -- I called these Polish because a customer said that's how her Polish grandmother always made them), some full sour, some half sour, etc. This site has a good discussion of salt percentages. I had fun doing things like trading finished fermented vegetables with other farmers to get stuff I didn't grow yet on my rented land in that first year, like horseradish, apples, hot pepper varieties I didn't have, etc.

I picked some wild fennel heads recently, which I've used before in place of dill heads in brined pickles, but I couldn't find any pickling cucumbers. But for some reason brussels sprouts seem to be available year-round at one of the very few grocery stores in the area now... So I made dillyfennely brussels sprouts in brine to get me through the cucumber-less season.
 
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Heidi Kass wrote:I love cucumbers.  Probably my favorite vegetable.

 

Me too Heidi, summer squash may be tied for first for me with cucumbers. I love summer veggies.

Here is a simple recipe I look forward to every year!  Slice 2 medium cucumbers and one medium onion.  Mix up 1/2 cup of sour cream, 1 T. of vinegar, 1 t. sugar, and 1/2 t. of salt.  Pour over the sliced veggies and mix up well.  Allow to sit for at least a half hour before eating.  So yummy!  Enjoy.



That sounds good!
 
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Joshua LeDuc wrote:

Heidi Kass wrote:I love cucumbers.  Probably my favorite vegetable.  Here is a simple recipe I look forward to every year!  Slice 2 medium cucumbers and one medium onion.  Mix up 1/2 cup of sour cream, 1 T. of vinegar, 1 t. sugar, and 1/2 t. of salt.  Pour over the sliced veggies and mix up well.  Allow to sit for at least a half hour before eating.  So yummy!  Enjoy.



As a born Wisconsinite, I laughed out loud seeing your recipe including sour cream, Heidi!  That sounds exactly like something my Norwegian grandma would have made.  

This time of year, cucumbers, peppers, and tomatoes abound, to I like to cut these guys up with a little onion put in a colander and sprinkle with salt and leave to sweat for 15-30 minutes.  I then add a mixuture of:

1 cup half-and-half

1/2 cup sugar

6 tablespoons cider vinegar

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon salt or more to taste  

Basically a creamy sweet and sour sauce.  This is what I remember as a child my German grandmother making in the summer months.  

Enjoy!



That sounds good Joshua, and a good way to put those three summer vegetables to good use!
 
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I think almost every culture loves cucumbers. Here are some I love:
Japanese cucumber salad - Kyuri no Sunomono:

1 cucumber
1 tsp dried seaweed (Wakame mix can be found at Asian market or online)
2 tsp salt

(Amazu) 2 tsp rice vinegar, 2 tsp Morin, 2 tsp soy sauce, sesame seeds to sprinkle

1 combine all Amazu ingredients in a small bowl, stir and set aside.

2. Slice  cucumbers very thin. Use small cucumber if possible.

3. Sprinkle salt to take out some of the moisture (important process to final flavor because allows more vinegar to be absorbed. Toss to cover cucumbers and Leave cucumber with salt for 10 minutes

4. Place dried seaweed in small bowl with 2 cups of water and let sit 10 minutes.

5. Drain and squeeze water out of cucumber and seaweed.

6. Pour amazu vinegar mixture over cucsliced cucumber. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve.
This is also good without the seaweed.

Hungarian cucumber salad - Tejfeles uborka salata:
Basically the cucumber salad with thinly sliced onion, salt and pepper that others have described. Many countries have their own form of this salad.  Let sit in fridge for an hour and Sprinkle with sweet Hungarian paprika and serve.

Greek salad - Horiatiki
2 cucumbers chopped in bite sized pieces (some people peel cucs)
4-6 roma tomatoes (any tomato will work)
1/2 a red onion sliced
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 Tblsp lemon juice
2 tsp dried oregano or use less if fresh
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

 
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Scott Foster wrote:Steve, I eat my cucumbers like this.   I usually cut up an onion and if I have them I throw in some pickled jalapenos or kalamata olives.  Don't forget the sea salt.



Sounds good Scott!
 
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Beth Wilder wrote:Hey, Steve! Do you have a bunch of cucumbers ripening now? I'm jealous: Ours are just getting started with the late monsoon rains.



Hey Beth! Ours had slowed down a little with the intense heat and little rain, but they are starting to increase production again with the recent rain we had and slightly cooler weather. That's awesome yours are about to get started!

Did you say you have some dill, too? Have you tried pickling cucumbers without vinegar the old-fashioned way? Here's a recipe for old-school kosher dills that builds its own acid in the brine rather than relying on added acid in the form of vinegar. That initial amount of salt can be varied somewhat. The amount of salt by weight per pound/pint of veggies and brine is what makes a brined pickle "half sour," "full sour," etc. Sandor Katz's website has a good discussion of that as well as his recipe. I briefly had a fermented vegetable business and sold a range of brined pickles during cucumber season, some spicy with habañeros added, some zesty with horseradish (my favorite, I think -- I called these Polish because a customer said that's how her Polish grandmother always made them), some full sour, some half sour, etc. This site has a good discussion of salt percentages. I had fun doing things like trading finished fermented vegetables with other farmers to get stuff I didn't grow yet on my rented land in that first year, like horseradish, apples, hot pepper varieties I didn't have, etc.



That is so cool Beth, great information! I will definitely have to try these! Dill pickles have to be one of my favorite foods!

I picked some wild fennel heads recently, which I've used before in place of dill heads in brined pickles, but I couldn't find any pickling cucumbers. But for some reason brussels sprouts seem to be available year-round at one of the very few grocery stores in the area now... So I made dillyfennely brussels sprouts in brine to get me through the cucumber-less season.



I love the idea of substituting for what you had, so neat!
 
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Loving the amazing yet so simple recipes in this thread! Might spend some time tomorrow whipping up some little fridge delights for the weekend. We've had a good start to our crop so far with a couple early seedling we transplanted.

Just wondering how you're finding your cucumbers are growing so close together? We thinned ours out a bit, as we had SO many germinate in the raised beds. We had to pull a few, and transplant a few for some container gardening on the balcony (which are managing very well! Growing right up the banister, beautiful leaves, but no fruit just yet. I believe my husband transplanted them in to coco coir, and I'm wondering how they'll fare in comparison to the soil guys), but my husband said even that might not be enough thinning. I'm noticing a couple rogues in the bunch who are trying to grow off in to the tomato patch, rather than compete for space on the trellis, despite it not even being too filled up. But yours are so tight! Not even a row. I love how they are looking all bunched up like that, but do you find it effects the yield at all? I've never grown cucumbers, so I was taking my husband's advice on this one.
 
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Wendy Smith Novick wrote:I think almost every culture loves cucumbers. Here are some I love:
Japanese cucumber salad - Kyuri no Sunomono:

1 cucumber
1 tsp dried seaweed (Wakame mix can be found at Asian market or online)
2 tsp salt

(Amazu) 2 tsp rice vinegar, 2 tsp Morin, 2 tsp soy sauce, sesame seeds to sprinkle

1 combine all Amazu ingredients in a small bowl, stir and set aside.

2. Slice  cucumbers very thin. Use small cucumber if possible.

3. Sprinkle salt to take out some of the moisture (important process to final flavor because allows more vinegar to be absorbed. Toss to cover cucumbers and Leave cucumber with salt for 10 minutes

4. Place dried seaweed in small bowl with 2 cups of water and let sit 10 minutes.

5. Drain and squeeze water out of cucumber and seaweed.

6. Pour amazu vinegar mixture over cucsliced cucumber. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve.
This is also good without the seaweed.

Hungarian cucumber salad - Tejfeles uborka salata:
Basically the cucumber salad with thinly sliced onion, salt and pepper that others have described. Many countries have their own form of this salad.  Let sit in fridge for an hour and Sprinkle with sweet Hungarian paprika and serve.

Greek salad - Horiatiki
2 cucumbers chopped in bite sized pieces (some people peel cucs)
4-6 roma tomatoes (any tomato will work)
1/2 a red onion sliced
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 Tblsp lemon juice
2 tsp dried oregano or use less if fresh
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
Salt and pepper to taste



Those recipes sounds delicious Wendy, so neat to see all the different recipes from different  cultures!
 
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Nutmeg Knox wrote:Just wondering how you're finding your cucumbers are growing so close together? We thinned ours out a bit, as we had SO many germinate in the raised beds. We had to pull a few, and transplant a few for some container gardening on the balcony (which are managing very well! Growing right up the banister, beautiful leaves, but no fruit just yet. I believe my husband transplanted them in to coco coir, and I'm wondering how they'll fare in comparison to the soil guys), but my husband said even that might not be enough thinning. I'm noticing a couple rogues in the bunch who are trying to grow off in to the tomato patch, rather than compete for space on the trellis, despite it not even being too filled up. But yours are so tight! Not even a row. I love how they are looking all bunched up like that, but do you find it effects the yield at all? I've never grown cucumbers, so I was taking my husband's advice on this one.



Glad to hear your cucumbers are doing well!

I've loved the cucumbers growing all close together like this! They will naturally thin themselves out, with the stronger ones blocking out the weaker ones, which I'm glad they do, saves the work of culling the weaker plants, leaving the stronger genetics. They grow fast also and block out most weeds too!

As far as yield, I've actually seen a small increase, as long as I find them and pick them in time! With more plants, they make more cucumbers and shade each other a little bit, which is really nice with our really hot summers.

I've had some escapees too , and I usually try to guide them back to their designated area. But I've noticed that they usually seem to be the healthiest plants, probably because they're putting out roots along where the vine is touching the soil and they're growing up amongst other plants and benefitting from the polyculture. I've let a few more go wild after seeing this.

Hope you get some tasty cucumbers soon!
 
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The cucumber vines are starting to get bigger in the food forest, and some yellow flowers are starting to show up.
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I found the first baby cucumber of the year in the food forest this week.

They're one of my favorite veggies, can't wait till they start producing soon!
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I love this! Cucumbers are one of my favorites. I've harvested three already! They were started indoors in April and planted outside mid-May, and have really taken off despite the drought we've had.

I pickle the aforementioned old-fashioned way, with brine. My two favorite varieties are one with just bay leaves, and one with fennel seeds and mint. So refreshing and healthy!

 
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A double cucumber!
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Sanna Heijnis
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Location: Limburg, Flanders, Belgium
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Twins! How cute!

Mine are doing well too:

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Steve Thorn
master gardener
Posts: 1920
Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, Eastern NC, US
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They look great Sanna!
 
Steve Thorn
master gardener
Posts: 1920
Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, Eastern NC, US
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This young cucumber is thriving in pretty poor soil. It hasn't been watered and nothing else has been done to it since planting the seed.

It's got a nice healthy dark green color and sturdy form. I'm excited to save the seeds from it to carry on its great genetics!
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pollinator
Posts: 482
Location: N. California
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I like the Japanese cucumber.  last year I would have said it's the only cucumber I have had success with. but this year I grew Muncher Cucumber and it is doing very well.  The raised bed I'm growing it in is a hugel beet I started this winter.  Even though it is immature for a hugel beet the veggies in this bed are doing very well.  The cucumber in this bed is even doing better then the Japanese cucumber which is very prolific.
I picked a cucumber the other day and set it on the kitchen counter.  My daughter came in and asked if it was from the garden? I said it was, she asked if she could have it, and I said sure.  She sat in the kitchen and ate the cucumber just like that.
I love to grow things, any thing really.  I enjoy picking and eating fruit and veggies I have grown myself.  There is just something extra special about seeing my children enjoy the fruit and veggies I have grown.  I don't know what it is.  I like knowing that they are a lot more nutritious than anything I can get in the store, but it's more, something that just warms my heart.  It makes the failures, the backaches, and the hot dirty work worth while.
 
Steve Thorn
master gardener
Posts: 1920
Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, Eastern NC, US
728
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I've been harvesting cucumbers lately, always forget to take pictures of them.
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gardener
Posts: 453
Location: Ontario - Gardening in zone 3b, 4b, or 6b, depending on the day
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Most years, my cucumbers suck so i pickle zucchini. This year, my zucchini didnt germinate, and my cucumbers are trying to outrun me.

Was away for 3 days, came back to these monsters and a bunch of babies. Hmmm.... wonder how many cucumbers I can foist off on my neighbours??? And how many consecutive days can cucumber salad be eaten for breakfast, lunch, and dinner?
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Monster Cucumbers!
Monster Cucumbers!
 
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heres' a no vinegar dill pickle recipe
in a clean glass 1 gallon glass jar, don't use plastic or pickles will spoil
1 tbsp pickling spice
2-4 cloves garlic
2 pieces fresh or died dill
pack cucumbers in jar, cut off stem end and wash thoroughly


make a brine by mixing 1/3 cup corse salt in 1 quart water
pour brine into jar make sure all cucumbers are covered

cover the jar, brine may seep out as they ferment, so put an old towel underneath
they will be ready in a week

the brine will get murky after a few days this means they are getting stronger, not that they are spoiled.
 
Steve Thorn
master gardener
Posts: 1920
Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, Eastern NC, US
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This cucumber on the right from the photo above, is my favorite size for using for slicing. They are excellent for making cucumbers and vinegar, my favorite use for cucumbers (recipe mentioned above, pretty self explanatory ).

The thickness of it is about the size of a quarter, maybe a little bigger. They grow so fast, it's hard to catch them at the perfect size!
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Solar Station Construction Plans by Ben Peterson -- ebook
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