Alternative cucumbers for pickles
- The Librarian Oct 19, 2006 08:29 PM
This summer I made an incredible batch of dill pickles which now, tragically, are almost gone.I'm assuming that I can't get small pickling cucumbers until June or so, and I was wondering if anyone has made dill pickles using regular salad cucumbers or the almost seedless "English" cucumbers? I can't stand to wait for the summer! Thanks.
Well, the pickle gods must have been reading this board. I had Friday off, so I went to my favorite Old Oakland Farmers'Market, and lo and behold, found small crisp pickling cucumbers from the same people I bought them from in the summer. Their mostly Asian produce stand is about two thirds of the way down on the right if you have your back to the roasted chicken truck. I can only imagine what my late opinionated Hungarian pickle-making father would have to say about making pickles in November...I made the pickles this afternoon, so in about six weeks we'll see - miracles do happen.
Regular salad cucumbers do not pickle well because the flesh around the seeds practically liquefies producing a nearly hollow center. Lack of crispness is the least of the problems. Another consideration is that salad or slicing cucumbers are usually waxed unless sold pretty directly from the farm. Pickling cucumbers seem to tolerate low (but not freezing) temperatures better than the slicing types and so are more likely to be available in farmers markets late in the season provided some farmers are willing to do late plantings.