It’s about this time of year that the air starts to change. Evenings cool off and breezes pick up. Put another way: it is a time to put some food by, as the old phrase goes, the season for trying to make freshly harvested vegetables last as long as they possibly can. We’ve already explored the sweet end of the food-preserving spectrum, so we thought it only fair to look at the savory side as well. Thus we arrive, happily, at the wonderful world of pickling.
Pickling, if you’ve never done it before, can seem a bit intimidating. We thought we’d provide a gentle introduction, a recipe for something not fully a pickle, but somewhere along its way there. These cucumbers are refreshingly tart and vinegary, but without the hot packing, worry about shelf stability, or waiting for the darn things to get, well… pickled. This dish is half salad, half condiment, which you will find goes with everything from barbecued chicken to a quick snack of hummus and pita. It’ll keep in the fridge for several weeks, so feel free to double or triple the recipe and nibble on it whenever the mood strikes.
Vinegared Cucumber Salad
- 4 small cucumbers
- 1 teaspoon salt
- a pinch of sugar
- 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup distilled water
1. Cut off and discard the tips of the cucumbers. Slice the cucumbers very thinly on a mandolin, or as thinly as you can with a knife.
2. Combine salt, sugar, vinegar and water in a large non-reactive container, such as a glass jar. Add the cucumbers, cover, and leave to marinate in the refrigerator. You can serve the salad in as little as a few hours, or keep it in the fridge for up to several weeks. (Try to only use clean utensils when you dip into the jar – this will substantially increase the salad’s shelf life.)