Midsummer (def): the point where the inflow of seasonal produce exceeds your ability to consume it.
Cucumber solution: Hamburger Dills
I have been a CSA subscriber for over 15 years and have learned a lot about how to deal with boxes of vegetables. Instead of composting the excess, I turn kale into chips (I can personally eat an entire bunch once it is salted and dried to crisps), freeze bagfuls of spinach and even can late season green tomatoes in chutney.
But there are a few vegetables whose consumption has eluded me. Life would be easier if I like cucumber salads (alas, not) but even then–at up to 6 large fruits per week (since I do double CSAs)–I’d likely be swamped.
This year I decided to something other than search out hungry friends or resort to the compost bin; I decided to make hamburger dills. I was told that large cucumbers aren’t good for standard pickles and I’m not a sweet pickle fan, so I always thought I was out of luck. (Although I recently read a different take on this.) Finally the light went on (some light bulbs are slower than others). Why not do sliced hamburger dills?
When it comes to canning, I usually recommend searching out a university extension website. Food safety recommendations change and you are more likely to get updated instructions. (For example, as more low acid tomatoes were developed, recipes needed to be modified to keep the contents acid enough to deter microorganism growth.) Note that the recipe that I used is for low altitude (under 1000 ft) and at higher altitudes cooking time must be extended to maintain safety.
I took a recipe for standard dills and applied it to cucumber slices. Complete instructions are located here (pg 21) but this is the process I followed:
1. Cut cucumbers into slices.
2. Pre-soak cucumbers in salted water.
3. Prepared a brine solution (leaving out the pickling spice since I didn’t have any).
4. Put Black pepper, dill, garlic, mustard seed and sliced cucumbers in jars.
5. Topp with brine, add hot lids, then process in a boiling water bath.
6. After checking seals set aside for a couple of weeks to allow flavors to infuse. (One of my jars didn’t seal, so that is curing in the refrigerator instead of the pantry.)
Result: 8 pints of pickles in my pantry and EMPTY SPACE!!! in my refrigerator!
Now all I need to do is hold back from prematurely opening a jar–I can hardly wait to taste!