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Cucumbers, Pickles or Both?

July 21st, 2010

Some people love cucumbers, some people hate them. I don’t like eating cucumbers, they give me indigestion in the worst way, even the so called “burpless” ones. I grow them, however because I LOVE them made into pickles. Somehow the process of fermenting them makes them so much more digestible for me.

In my garden I have had great luck growing ‘Boston Pickling’ cucumbers. This year I’m also growing ‘Marketmore’ cucumbers to see what they’re like. Last year I grew lemon cucumbers, but wasn’t as fond of them as I am of the Bostons.

The problem with making pickles when you have a small garden is that you usually harvest 4-5 cucumbers at a time, and most recipes call for pounds and pounds of pickles. Last year, I found a recipe for Small Batch Dill Pickles in The Joy of Pickling. They were very tasty, and I ended up making a few batches. If you only have a few pickles I’d highly recommend using this recipe, it makes a zesty dill pickle.

I picked a few cucumbers on Monday to make into pickles. I debated using a recipe from last year that I knew I liked, but being an adventurous cook that loves loves to try new recipes, I decided to use the dill pickle recipe from the book Canning & Preserving with Ashley English.

I’ll let you know what I think of these pickles, they’re brining as I write this post and won’t be ready for eating for a few weeks. The hardest parking of making pickles is waiting for them to age!

What’s your favorite way to enjoy cucumbers?

27 Comments to “Cucumbers, Pickles or Both?”
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  2. Amy on July 21, 2010 at 8:45 am

    I enjoy making and eating lime pickles……but I also like them cut up with rounds of an onion floating in vinegar and sugar water with ice cubes……

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  3. Sense of Home on July 21, 2010 at 8:45 am

    We like cucumbers both fresh and pickled. I have the same problem as you though, too few cucumbers to make a batch of pickles, when you save them until you have enough they begin to get soft. I will check out the recipe in the book you mentioned. I also have Ashley English’s book, so I will be trying that recipe this year. So far we only have blossoms, our cukes are late this year.


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    • Susy on July 21, 2010 at 9:28 am

      Here’s the recipe for small batch pickles, I blogged it last year:

      Reply to Susy's comment

      • Amy on July 21, 2010 at 2:37 pm

        Susy~I have tried making dill and have put the grape leaves in to protect the crunchy texture…..but to no avail……they are still mushy….any ideas??

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      • Susy on July 21, 2010 at 7:35 pm

        Do you can your pickles? If you only process them for 5 minutes instead of the time allotted in the recipe. This is how I process my pickles and it works like charm. I also find that brining them helps a lot. Usually I use sour cherry leaves in mine instead of grape leaves since I have a sour cherry tree out front. If you’re looking for crisp sweet or bread and butter style pickles I have a fantastic recipe from an old farm journal cookbook I could blog. They’re super crispy and super delicious, picked as the favorite by anyone that ate any of the pickles I made last year!

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  4. MAYBELLINE on July 21, 2010 at 9:08 am

    I’m like you.
    Burp City.

    Reply to MAYBELLINE's comment

  5. Shannon on July 21, 2010 at 9:14 am

    I just made our 2nd 1/2 gallon of lacto-fermented garlic dill pickles. Yum. I love adding a bit of probiotic in the form of a tasty pickle!

    Reply to Shannon's comment

  6. Kelly on July 21, 2010 at 9:36 am

    One branch of my family hails from Germany, so I was raised on homemade pickles. I love pickles, deeply. I haven’t been able to make my own yet (this year is the first year I’m growing pickling cucumbers) so cucumbers are eaten fresh, sliced, dipped in a cider vinegar and salt mixture that I whip up. I can’t wait to try making my own. I have The Joy of Pickling, so I’m definitely going to try the small batch recipe!

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  7. Seren Dippity on July 21, 2010 at 10:37 am

    I love cucumbers. But can’t eat all I grow. I like pickles but we don’t eat a ton of them. This year I canned 10 pints of sweet pickle relish, using two different recipes, mostly because my daughter loves it in her chicken and tuna salads. Today, I will make a few jars of bread and butter pickles. Thanks for the small batch dill recipe, I might try a few of those too.
    I’m growing a variety called Tendergreen and one called Straight Eight. I also planted lemon cucumbers and although the vine is vigorous and blooming like crazy, so far there isn’t one sign of a cuke.

    Reply to Seren Dippity's comment

  8. Miranda on July 21, 2010 at 10:48 am

    I love to snack on them with some hot sauce and salt, or cream cheese. Last two nights i’ve made a salad of sorts using diced cucumbers, tomatoes, tofu and celery, a few spoons of sour cream and homemade serrano hot sauce, salt, pepper, basil, and chilly powder plus a sprinkling of sunflower seeds. Really tasty and satisfying. I also made a batch (about a quart) of fermented pickles. My lemon cukes are not so hot as pickles, i may grow a different variety next year for pickling. I made vinegar pickles last year and hated them – total waste of a huge crop of cukes. The fermented ones are so much yummier.

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  9. Amy on July 21, 2010 at 11:25 am

    Thanks for the small batch recipe! Last year was my second for growing pickling cukes, and I just couldn’t figure out how to have enough for a batch. Granted, I learned to make pickles from my mother-in-law, who picks five-gallon buckets full of picklers at a time and makes massive batches. Last year I didn’t have enough to make any, and we fed all the oversized ones to the cows, so I my MIL donated a 5-gal bucket full for me. This year I planted winter squash in place of the cukes, and after the chickens dug up the seedlings (darn fence hole!), I replaced them with lemon cukes. I’ll see how they do. I figure MIL will give me another 5 gal bucket of donations.

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  10. Stace on July 21, 2010 at 11:30 am

    I really dislike the taste of cucumbers for some reason, but am wild about dill pickles. My dill plants didn’t make it through the heat wave, and finding dill heads locally here in NYC is not so easy…

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  12. Kim on July 21, 2010 at 12:06 pm

    Our cucumbers rarely make it to be pickles. They get sliced up with onions and take a swim in a cider vinegar/water/sugar/pepper mixture. Then into the refrigerator for hubby to snack on. Yumm!
    I’ll have to try the small batch recipe. Thanks!

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  13. Jaspenelle on July 21, 2010 at 1:37 pm

    I cannot stand dill pickles but I do like bread and butter pickles on sandwiches (in an ideal world all my sandwiches would have pepperchinis on them though, which are also pickled.) I love fresh cucumbers cubed and tossed with fresh tomatoes and a lemony vinaigrette. I just like eating them like apples too (especially lemon cucumbers).

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  14. Laura on July 21, 2010 at 1:39 pm

    i like them best as pickles. i’m growing cukes for the first time and am having trouble getting them before they get too big. we didn’t make trellises for them so they are just spreading around the garden floor and i think that might be part of the problem. can’t wait to hear how the dills turn out.

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  15. warren on July 21, 2010 at 1:45 pm

    We only eat them as pickles…we make our own version of zesty pickles and they are hard to beat in my book!

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  16. Kaytee on July 21, 2010 at 2:23 pm

    I love cucumbers cut up and dipped in ranch dressing. Or sliced with sliced onions mixed with sour cream and vinegar. But I do enjoy pickles. Thanks for the small batch recipe. I only have a few plants, so I won’t get many at a time.

    I see you have your cucumbers on a tepee trellis. Do you stake them to the trellis or do they just climb right up without being pulled down by the cucumbers? I’d like to trellis mine next year to save space, but I’m just not sure how to do it.

    Reply to Kaytee's comment

    • Susy on July 21, 2010 at 11:02 pm

      It’s actually a double tepee with two tepees joined together by a bamboo pole across the top of them to join them together. Mine just climb right up, the Boston Pickling ones seem to have great little tendrils for hanging on. I do need to build a taller one as they’re already flopping over the top.

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  17. Morgan G on July 21, 2010 at 10:00 pm

    Definitely as pickles! I can’t get enough. Good to hear your feedback on the lemon cucumber. They look and sound so neat, but I always wondered what I’d do with them.

    Reply to Morgan G's comment

    • Susy on July 22, 2010 at 9:45 am

      Mine did not produce well and I wasn’t as in love with them as some people are. I’d rather grow some extra pickling cukes than grow the lemon cukes, but that’s just me.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  18. Seren Dippity on July 22, 2010 at 9:38 am

    Another problem I have with making pickles is growing dill! I had enough dill this year for one salmon dinner. That is after the black swallowtail caterpillars were finished eating the rest of it to nubbins! I planted SEVEN plants of bronze and sweet fennel just for them and this year they went for my parsley and dill FIRST. I kept relocating them to the fennel (a different bed even) but we had close to a hundred caterpillars. I love the butterflies so much I can’t “do away with them.” Totally different reaction to the white butterflies that come from the cabbage loopers. I see those and I want to KILL.
    Maybe I’ll find some dill at the farmer’s market this weekend.

    Reply to Seren Dippity's comment

    • Susy on July 22, 2010 at 9:45 am

      I know what you mean, the rabbits or groundhogs around here eat up my dill as soon as it sprouts. I’m glad people at the farmer’s market have it though. I may plant some at my mom’s next summer.

      I actually like the cabbage loopers, when I see them I see baby wrens. The wren parents seem to particularly love those for their babies. I also have those wasps that eat them and I love seeing them looking around the cabbages for the worms. So amazing how nature works.

      Reply to Susy's comment

      • Seren Dippity on July 23, 2010 at 12:09 pm

        I haven’t reached that balance yet. (I say yet with hope!) I’m seeing more wrens, but the one nest I was very aware of hatched out after there were no more loopers in the garden. The cabbage loopers went away when the heat cranked up, but the babies hatched the second week of July. I saw the mommy feeding them bugs and what I think was grasshoppers (lord knows we have a surplus of those monsters). We do have lots of wasps, but I’ve never seen them with cabbage loopers.

        Oh! And I found ONE lemon cucumber yesterday! So I’ll at least get to try them before I give up on growing them.

        to Seren Dippity's comment

  19. Rachel on July 22, 2010 at 6:55 pm

    Have you tried the cucumbers with seeds removed? I have burp issues with cucumber with seeds in, but not with those that have had the seeds scraped out with a spoon….. it also stops salads getting soggy.

    Reply to Rachel's comment

    • Susy on July 22, 2010 at 7:47 pm

      Interesting, I’ll have to give that a go.

      Reply to Susy's comment


This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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