Salt and Vinegar Cucumbers start with firm, fresh slicing cucumbers. My absolute favorite is an English cucumber which is sometimes called a “burpless” cucumber. However, almost any good “cuke” will work!
Cucumbers Have Been Cultivated For Centuries
These glossy green cylinders were first cultivated over 3000 years ago in India and then spread in Europe and beyond. Not long after the Pilgrims arrived on our shores, cucumbers followed. Folks were growing them in America as early as the 1500s. They are among the most popular items at the farmers market. Surprisingly are classified as a fruit, not a vegetable. Cucumbers provide a pleasing crunchy texture any way they are prepared.
As a kid, I remember eating salty, crisp, refreshing cucumbers made this way at all the summer gatherings of the Danish side of my family. They are a cousin to pickles but are simply stored in the refrigerator where they happily keep for two or three weeks. There are several variations of this recipe but this simple, fat- free version has become the one we make.
Everyone Needs A Great Local Grower
When I want to make a batch of salt and vinegar cucumbers, Andy’s my guy. He’s raised fresh produce since he was a teenager. It all started with a school project in his home town of Funk, Nebraska. (Not kidding.) Today, Andy Erickson and his wife Megan have a full-fledged store right here in my town that’s open May to December. It’s even become a tourist destination! Love it!!
Thanks to massive greenhouses on their farm, I can buy cucumbers, peppers, asparagus, broccoli, tomatoes, splendid greens, cauliflower and (best of all!) fresh green beans in May!! I mean just-picked fresh! Vegetable heaven fresh. Make my granddaughters giddy good.
See the picture showing cucumbers with blossoms still attached? That’s how perfect the cucumbers are right now. And that’s why I’m an addict and and two-or-three-day-a-week customer! A vegaholic! I hope you have an Andy near you!!
Back to the cucumbers! First, cut of the ends and peel them!
Then slice ’em thin.
When I make a big batch, I use my food processor. If just for Papa and me, I grab my good old piggy cutting board and my chef’s knife.
Next, add some sweet onion, sliced paper thin, almost see-through!
Add salt and pepper. Stir it up, let it sit awhile while the salt draws out the juices.
Layer the cucumber-onion-cucumber-onion in a glass bowl, salting as you go. Glass is best because of the acidic vinegar you’ll be adding. The cucumber slices will shrink but stay crisp and crunchy.
Next, add sugar, vinegar, pepper, then stir and refrigerate, that’s it!
You can easily add more sugar, salt or vinegar until it tastes just right to you once you’re ready to serve them. They keep a week or more in the fridge and you can add more sliced cucumbers to the briny liquid if you end up with a cucumber-less bowl.
- 3 Long slender cucumbers
- 1 medium sweet onion
- 2 Tbsp salt, you can start with less
- 2-3 Tbsp sugar, or to taste
- 2-3 Tbsp white vinegar, or to taste
- 1-2 tsp black pepper, or to taste
- Peel and slice cucumbers thin. Peel and slice onion paper-thin. Layer cucumber and onions in a glass bowl, salting each layer as you go.
- Let the cucumber-onion-salt mixture sit while the salt draws the moisture out of the cucumbers. Do not drain. Add sugar, pepper, and vinegar and stir well. Cover and refrigerate 2 hours or more.
- If needed, add more salt, vinegar, or sugar until you are happy with the way it tastes.
- Cover and refrigerate leftovers. Can add more cucumbers to the brine. Keeps a week or more in the fridge.
These girls? They eat them by the bowlful and call them “cukies.”
Those girls are our grandaughters Breck, Baylie, and Julia. We’re raising them to love their veggies! GB’s cukies just scream summer! And, this version has no oil and only about 25 carbs in an entire batch. The crunchy texture and pop of flavor make it a great low-calorie side dish.
How about you? What are some of your summertime favorites?
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