With so much lovely produce this season, there is no shortage of fresh fruits and veggies.
Please note: lemon cukes were purchased from Small Potatoes Farm – their stall is right next to Ever Laughter Farm at Wednesday market.
Having found a busy weekend on schedule, it was a treat to stop by the Durham Farmers Market one Wednesday evening between 3:30 and 6:30!
This was a nice alternative to the crowds on Saturday and allowed more leisurely shopping.
Stopped by Small Potato’s stand and picked up some lemon cucumbers.
Also got some regular slicing cucumbers to satisfy that summer craving.
At first glance the lemon cucumber is a bit of an odd duck, frankly. Pale yellow or cream-colored and just a bit prickly like the cucumbers we’re used to. Cucumbers in general are members of the gourd family Cucurbitaceae, which includes squash. They originally came from India and there are now numerous kinds: Armenian, Persian, English, Dosakai, Kekiri, Apple Cucumbers from New Zealand, and now a “c-thru cucumber” which apparently does not require peeling (or spelling?!).
Nevertheless, we are fortunate to know where these little fruits (technically) at our market come from directly. Scroll down below the recipe for some fun pickle facts!
The lemon cuke makes a great pickle – it had a slightly tougher skin and seeds enclosed. The seeds are a bit more tender than the slicing cukes we may be accustomed to – and the skin held up well but was more tender after treatment. One can eat them raw however.
Also on hand were banana peppers at Ever Laughter; tomatoes were the Tomimari Muchoo variety from Flat River Nursery.
My quick recipe (1-3 days in fridge) for Quick & Spicy Lemon Cuke Refrigerator Pickles:
This goes without saying, but make sure all utensils and containers are pristine, (properly sanitized/sterilized).
Yield is about 4-41/2 cups pickled product with juice.
3 large lemon cucumbers sliced in half lengthwise, quartered, and chopped into 1 inch pieces
2 medium slicing/pickling cucumbers chopped in 1 inch pieces
2 large tomatoes chopped in 1 inch pieces
2 large banana peppers sliced across in 1 inch pieces
1/2 cup water mixed with: 1/4 cup salt, 1/2 cup demarara (brown) sugar or honey
1TB whole cloves
2 tsp whole peppercorns or 1 tsp freshly cracked pepper
2-3 sprigs fresh dill
1TB zante currants (optional)
a few dashes (or 1/2 tsp) of cayenne (optional)
White vinegar to cover in an airtight container.
Let sit overnight in fridge or 1-2 days. The skin and veg meats will be slightly tender with a crunchy bite.
If you don’t like crunching down on cloves or peppercorns use dried spices. You can shake them up or stir them vigorously and whole spices will settle to the bottom.
FUN FACTS from How to Pickle.com!
The English word ‘pickle’ derives from the Middle English pikel, first recorded around 1400 and meaning ‘a spicy sauce or gravy served with meat or fowl’. This is different to, but obviously related to the Middle Dutch source, pekel, meaning a solution, such as spiced brine, for preserving and flavouring food.
The earliest known examples of pickling are cucumbers, that are known to have been pickled some time around 2030 BC in Mesopotami, when inhabitants from northern India brought cucumber seeds to the Tigris valley. In Europe in the 16th century, there was a large increase in food preservation stemming from the arrival of new foods in Europe. Today, pickling is still performed by millions of people, and enjoyed by nearly everyone in the world.
Notable pickle-lovers from history include: Emperors Julius Caesar and Tiberius, King John and Queen Elizabeth I of England, Samuel Pepys, Amerigo Vespucci, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Napoleon Bonaparte. Today, with a little help, we can carry on the great tradition of pickling, and pickle just about anything our heart desires.
Happy Local Pickling!