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Cucumbers and Pickles

July 19th, 2011

All of those cucumbers I planted about six weeks ago have started producing. The Monticello inspired teepees have been working well for supporting the vines, they look really lovely now that they’re lush with cucumber and pole bean vines. I have had to train the cucumber vines to grow up the supports. I’m trying to think of a way to improve on this design next year. Last week I started harvesting cucumbers from all three varieties that I’m growing this season. I planted 12 vines of each in hopes of having a large flush of cucumbers for all those pickling recipes that call for pounds and pounds of cucumbers.

So far the ‘Boston Pickling’ are the largest and most productive. One day I harvested enough cucumbers to make a gallon of fermented full-sour dills. I have grown this variety of cucumber from the very beginning of my gardening career. I have always had great luck with them. They even produce a decent harvest is less than ideal conditions, like my shady back garden.

The ‘Solly Beiler’ have been less productive than the Boston Pickling, but the descriptions say they are heavy producers so I’m guessing they just haven’t hit their stride yet. They’re a much fatter cucumber than I expected, even when picked at the recommended small size.

The ‘Fin de Meaux’ seem to be producing nicely, although they’re a tiny cucumber so it takes a lot more to get enough for a batch of pickles (the one in the photo was picked a little big, most of them are much smaller). I’m looking forward to using my recipe for French Cornichon pickles from The Joy of Pickling:. I’m hoping to get enough to to give away small jars of these tiny cucumbers to friends this Christmas. If you have space I’d recommend a few of these as they’re wonderful little cucumbers. I think kids would especially love to eat pickles made with these tiny cukes.

I’ve already been making pickles with my harvests. I have a gallon of full-sour dills fermenting on the counter right now (they smell fantastic). Traditionally fermented pickles are a great way to get probiotics to enhance digestion and nutrient absorption of your meals.

I also have one jar of quick refrigerator pickles in the fridge, they’ll be ready to eat this weekend. They’re always the first kind of pickle I make so I can have pickles to eat right away. My recipe for these quick small batch pickles is posted over on the Your Day blog at Ethel so head on over there if you’re interested. My next batch of cucumbers will be some Crisp Pickles that are a favorite of everyone that tries them, I found the recipe in an old Farm Journal Cookbook given to me by Mr Chiot’s step mom. I’ll post the recipe with photos sometime soon.

I’m hoping that my cucumber vines will keep producing well for the next few weeks, then they’ll be replanted with hopes of another flush of cucumbers come fall. I want to make sure I have plenty of pickles in the pantry for winter as we love eating them with most meals.

Are you a pickle lover? what kind is your favorite: dill, sweet, bread & butter, mustard?

For more detailed descriptions of each of the cucumbers listed above head on over and read this post.

26 Comments to “Cucumbers and Pickles”
  1. pam on July 19, 2011 at 6:49 am

    I love quick refrigerator pickles, so I’m off to check out your recipe!

    Reply to pam's comment

  2. Andrea on July 19, 2011 at 7:49 am

    I enjoyed this post today!! I can’t keep up with mine this year!!

    I’ve canned a dill relish and am finishing up some bread and butter chunks this morning. I still want to make a sweet relish when I pick the next bunch.

    My son loves for me to just peel one and hand it over :) He loves them!
    I grew Boston pickling and Japanese Long, which I really like as well. A couple I don’t care for that I am growing are varieties called Parisian Pickling and Beit Alpha.
    I didn’t have any volunteers this year, but for the past several years we have had a variety called Sour Mexican Gherkins. We love them!! So, they will be on the list for next year.

    Reply to Andrea's comment

  3. Shannon on July 19, 2011 at 8:05 am

    Question: We harvested our first cucumber yesterday… small pickler… and it was very bitter. Yours look so round and plump and ours not so much. Is it that I haven’t been watering enough. How often/how much are you watering yours?


    Reply to Shannon's comment

    • Susy on July 19, 2011 at 8:47 am

      Most likely not enough water. Cucumbers like a lot of water. Since mine are planted close together I’ve been watering twice a week.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  4. kristin @ going country on July 19, 2011 at 8:18 am

    Refrigerator dills, all the way. With garlic. I was late getting the cucumbers in this year, and they were veeerrrry slow to germinate, so no pickles for me yet. Soon, though, I hope.

    Reply to kristin @ going country's comment

  5. Cam on July 19, 2011 at 8:27 am

    Your cucumbers and pickles look lovely!

    After fermenting, how long do the full sours usually last in the fridge? I’m the sole pickle eater in my house and won’t necessarily go through them quickly.

    For long-term pickles, do you typically ferment or can or both?

    My favorite is garlic dill but my sweet tooth sneaks in now and again and begs me for bread and butter!

    Reply to Cam's comment

    • Susy on July 19, 2011 at 8:48 am

      We were still eating up the last of our full sours in February of this past year. If you think about it in the olden days people simply left them in crocks in the cool cellars and didn’t even refrigerate. The probiotics keep them from going bad.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  6. Courtney on July 19, 2011 at 8:31 am

    Does anyone have tips on how to can pickles without them getting all mushy? Or is fermenting the way to go for long-term storage?

    Reply to Courtney's comment

    • Susy on July 19, 2011 at 8:59 am

      Partly it depends on when the cucumbers are picked. You don’t want them to get too big and overgrown or they aren’t as crisp. You can also add some sour cherry leaves or grape leaves to them when you ferment/process. Processing time has a lot to do with it when canning. When I’m canning pickles I only process of 5 minutes like the old canning books say not the 10 or 15 that the newer books recommend. I have a recipe in which you cover cucumbers with boiling water every day, drain the next morning and recover with boiling water for like 10 days. These pickles always turn out really crisp. I’ll be posting the recipe later.

      Reply to Susy's comment

    • Corrie on July 19, 2011 at 10:16 am

      Other tips for crisp pickles are to be sure to cut off the blossom end when slicing (if you aren’t sure which end that is, you can cut off both ends), and to use a product like pickle crisp (made by Ball) or alum (1/4 teaspoon per quart jar). I have had good luck with crunchy pickles doing these things.

      Reply to Corrie's comment

  7. Sherri on July 19, 2011 at 8:43 am

    Oh my word, those cukes look fantastic! This is my first year growing cucumbers and as we aren’t big pickle eaters, I’m only growing long english for fresh eating. My mouth actually watered though when I saw that picture of your pickles fermenting! I will buy some pickling cucumbers at the farmer’s market and give it a go – I bet homemade tastes nothing like store bought (which is all I’ve ever had).

    Reply to Sherri's comment

  8. Allison on July 19, 2011 at 9:07 am

    I just noticed yesterday I have 2 Fin de Meaux ready to be picked. I usually make a dill, but this year I am hoping to have an abundance of pickels so I can make some bread and butters and possibly try some of the recipes you have mentioned :)

    Reply to Allison's comment

  9. Barefeet In The Kitchen on July 19, 2011 at 9:39 am

    I love seeing pickling in progress like this. Our cucumber harvest was pathetic this year, but the pattypans are still going crazy. I have a recipe for pickled pattypans that I am looking forward to trying next week!

    Reply to Barefeet In The Kitchen's comment

  10. MAYBELLINE on July 19, 2011 at 10:39 am

    I do not like pickles. In fact, I will request that no pickles be put on my plate at a diner. The flavor just permiates everything. I must be super sensitive to pickles. Weird.

    Reply to MAYBELLINE's comment

    • Susy on July 19, 2011 at 10:45 am

      Perhaps you just haven’t found a pickle you like yet. I’m that way about the pickles that come from the store – I find them a bit cloying in all thing pickle. I find that fermented traditional ones are far superior and actually quite good and not overpowering. That’s the beauty of making them yourself – you can make them however you like them!

      Reply to Susy's comment

  11. Kathi on July 19, 2011 at 11:49 am

    Thanks for the recipe! I have about a dozen pickling cucumbers ready and was looking for a small batch recipe for refridgerator pickles and couldn’t find one on line that didn’t require a huge amt of pickles. Can’t wait to try it. Next year will try the boston pickle.

    Reply to Kathi's comment

  12. Seren Dippity on July 19, 2011 at 1:50 pm

    I was late getting my cukes planted this year and I may end up paying for it. They are struggling in the heat and not producing nearly as many as they have in years past.
    We don’t love pickles that much and so go through them very slowly. I wanted to try new recipes this year now that I have discovered fermenting. I still have plenty of bread and butter pickles and sweet relish put up from last year.
    What we do LOVE is fresh cucumbers straight from the garden. I love them on salads, but have been known to just peel them and eat them one right after another. Fresh cukes and tomatoes just scream summer to me.

    Reply to Seren Dippity's comment

  13. Kristen @ More Than Mulberries on July 19, 2011 at 5:47 pm

    This is my first year planting pickles and I have great intentions for jars and jars of bread and butter pickles as well as dill in my pantry. I need to find some really good recipes for these – I have no clue what I’m doing. But I figure if I could tackle salsa for the first time with success last year, how hard can pickling be? (Don’t answer that!!!)

    Reply to Kristen @ More Than Mulberries's comment

  14. Tommy on July 19, 2011 at 6:03 pm

    Sounds great. I’d love to see your other favorite pickle recipe for the ones that you want to water-bath can.
    I’m going to make the quick batch recipe today that you posted on your Ethel Gloves blog.
    Thanks as always!

    Reply to Tommy's comment

  15. VivLyn on July 19, 2011 at 8:28 pm

    Would you share your recipe for the full-sour fermented dills? They look wonderful! I have never heard of these or had any. Sounds like something I would like to try when the cukes start coming.

    Reply to VivLyn's comment

    • Susy on July 19, 2011 at 9:18 pm

      I’ll try to get that done in the next week or two.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  16. jim on July 19, 2011 at 9:07 pm

    My wife and I have noticed our garden in the last week or so is taking off.We have had so much rain here on the east coast but this warm spell we are getting has done wonders for the garden.

    Reply to jim's comment

  17. Sarah@Espresso Makers and Machines on July 19, 2011 at 10:56 pm

    Yes I am definitely a pickle lover! :) Though I prefer it plain and salted or with vinegar with some pepper. Anyway, I adore your backyard garden. The harvest is good. I really wanted to have a garden like that.

    Reply to Sarah@Espresso Makers and Machines's comment

  18. Mary S. on July 20, 2011 at 5:09 pm

    I planted the ‘Fin de Mieux’ for the first time this year. Looking forward to trying the cornichon recipe!

    Reply to Mary S.'s comment

  19. Casey on July 21, 2011 at 2:42 pm

    is that a pampered chef strainer in the picture??

    Reply to Casey's comment

    • Susy on July 21, 2011 at 2:44 pm

      I think I got it at Target a long time ago.

      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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