Those of you with greenhouses or polytunnels may now be beginning to panic over what to do with all of the cucumbers that are growing thick and fast. Worry not - Rosie has a good wheeze for using at least four of them.
You will need a tall jar - the length of your cucumbers, as it were ( settle down, this isn't a Frankie Howerd sketch).
I found the 3 litre Le Parfait is ideal - let's face it, they have to be ideal for something!
Day 1. Take a V shape out of each cucumber without cutting through to the other side. Run a teaspoon down the cucumber and the cut-out to take away the seeds and the pulp.
Lay on a non-metallic dish and sprinkle liberally with ordinary salt. Cover with kitchen paper or greaseproof and leave overnight.
Next day the cucumbers will be all shrivelled and limp - that is perfect!
The stuffing is made by whizzing together in a processor:-
Small jar of capers, drained well
6 large shallots, peeled and roughly chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
1 red chilli, seeds in or out, just as you like
2 teaspoons yellow mustard seeds
small grating of nutmeg
You will also need some fine string - around 1 metre per cucumber
1-1.5ltrs/3 pints distilled malt vinegar, or cider vinegar
The stuffing will look like something the cat might enjoy but persevere mon braves!
Next, start to fill the cavity of the cucumber with the stuffing, allowing enough room to replace the cut-out.
Replace the V cut-out and reshape the cucumber to look whole again, wiping away any oozing stuffing.
Take one length of your string and tie around one end of the cucumber - fairly firmly - but be careful not to squash the flesh. Continue down the cucumber either winding the string around, or tie it at intervals.
Give them a last wipe and then turn your jar on it's side so that you can slide the cucumbers in without too much collapsing going on.Four cucumbers just fit into the 3 litre Le Parfait beautifully. Once in the jar, turn it the right way up and fill with the vinegar. Seal down and leave to mature for 2-3 weeks before serving. After 2-3 days check the level of the vinegar and top up if necessary.
These would be fantastic with rich charcuterie like salami, pates etc. You can remove one cucumber at a time and leave the rest in the vinegar. Remove the string carefully, then slice thickly to serve.
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