If you grow your own vegetables then you know that from time to time you get a bumper harvest that will need preserving, freezing or using fast. It’s a bit of a joke shared by greenhouse gardeners and allotmenteers, about what to do with a glut of courgettes or cucumbers? Of course you can give them away, but when you’ve gone to all of that effort to grow them then finding a way to not just preserve them but to transform them into a really delicious dish is a real bonus.
This recipe was shared with us at a chef demonstration at River Cottage in Devon. With thanks to Chef Richard using local ingredients and cucumbers growing in the polytunnels at River Cottage under the care and attention of the land team. Traditionally known as bread and butter pickles, this recipe creates a tangy sweet dish, which was quite simply divine. You can replace cucumbers with courgettes and adjust the sugar and ingredients to suit your taste buds.
2 or 3 ripe cucumbers (or courgettes)
About 500 ml of quality cider vinegar
About 500ml of water
200g of sugar
Dessertspoon of turmeric
Dessertspoon of celery seeds
2 fresh sprigs of thyme
Dessertspoon of wholegrain mustard seeds.
One large onion sliced finely.
One clove of garlic crushed and peeled.
- Slice the cucumbers at an angle into 2-3mm thick slices.
- Place them into a large bowl. Add the onion and garlic to the bowl.
- In a pan mix the tangy sweet cider vinegar and water and gently heat bringing it to a simmer. Add the sugar and dissolve it well by stirring.
- Now add the turmeric, celery seed, mustard seed and thyme.
- Stir thoroughly and gently bring to the boil. Add a little salt.
- While hot pour over the cucumber and onion and garlic and allow the mixture to soak in and soften them.
- If you want to store the pickle then pour the mix while hot into sterilized jars and seal. Leave it a couple of weeks before you use it to ensure that the flavour has seeped in thoroughly.