Sunday, September 15, 2013

Sugar Pickles

Otherwise known as Cucumber Salad!

If you have a big cucumber glut like we do, this is a really tasty recipe to use some up. The flavor screams summer.
I have memories of eating this stuff that goes way, way back. My Grandma Harber kept cucumber salad in her fridge all summer, and I remember how refreshing it was on a hot and sweaty day.

I enlisted Noah's help in the peeling. Just a hint; if you decide to give a 4-year-old a vegetable peeler to 'help' you with a task, make sure to give him the least appealing cucumber possible. There is a very good chance that said cucumber will end up as a fun science experiment rather than edible food.

It's all good, though...Noah was amazed when he kept peeling and peeling until he unearthed a stash of seeds. If that's not hands-on learning, I don't know what is! Promptly after discovering the seeds, the peeler became a sword and the cucumber a hapless monster needing killed. Ahh. At least the monster slayer had a taste for his kill; Noah began to pick up the peelings and cucumber guts and ate them, joyfully. Since these are home grown, organic cucumbers, I have no qualms about him eating all the peels he wants.

When we had finished with the peeling, I used a mandolin (quite possibly the most terrifying tool in the kitchen; adults only, please!) to slice them very thinly. We threw the rest of the ingredients together, and let the 'pickles' soak until the next day.

At lunch the next day, 4 out of 5 kids tried the cucumbers, and liked them enough for seconds and thirds! On a whim, I called them 'sugar pickles' for their subtle sweetness, and the name has stuck around here. I could eat the whole batch myself, they are that refreshing and delicious. You could leave the onions out if you want, but honestly, the kids didn't even notice them.

Sugar Pickles AKA Cucumber Salad

3 large cucumbers
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup white sugar
1/8 cup water
1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon celery seed (optional)
1/4 cup chopped onion

Peel the cucumbers and slice wafer thin. Sprinkle with salt. Let stand 30 minutes, then squeeze cucumbers to release moisture. In a medium size bowl mix sugar, water, vinegar, celery seed, and onion. Add cucumbers to mixture. Mix well. Refrigerate 1 hour.

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