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Cucumbers In Vinegar and/or Sour Cream

I'm looking for a recipe from my youth, made by a Polish lady who didn't speak English. She made two varieties, one with vinegar and onions, the other with sour cream and onions.

I've tried to replicate her version but haven't been successful. Her vinegar version was tangy, slightly sweet/sour and her sour cream version was sour/tangy/peppery. The cucumbers remained firm and crispy in both versions. I just can't seem to find the balance.

Any ideas?

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  1. I'm not Polish but I my grandmother originated from that European region (south of the Ukraine) and she taught me several cucumber salad recipes that are very similar to what you describe. While researching you post I found a creamy cucumber salad and a spring onion salad that might be what you're looking for.

    http://www.polamjournal.com/Library/R...

    or

    http://www.polishpotteryonline.com/po...

    1. Coming from an Eastern Euro background we also did both, so maybe my observations will help.

      Vinegar style: slice peeled cukes & onions on mandoline (or unpeeled if English/Japanes or Kirby). Sprinkle lightly with salt and let sit out covered until a lot of liquid leaches out. Pour off most of the liquid, sprinkle generously with sugar and add plain white vinegar to cover half way. Refrigerate. After a while the cukes will give up more liquid so eventually they will be covered. If not, add a little more vinegar.

      Sour cream style: Same method as above to the point where you have poured off most of the liquid and sprinkled with sugar. Then add just enough vinegar to thoroughly moisten, and stir in sour cream add black pepper to taste. Let sit in fridge a while, stir up, taste and adjust seasoning. Serve with dusting of paprika.

      1. i like this recipe:
        http://www.tasteofhome.com/Recipes/So...
        i just ate it for dinner tonight.

        1. We live on this in the summer. My mother, of Polish-Jewish extraction made it when I was a child.
          Thinly slice (on a mandoline, if possible) 2 English cucumbers, salt liberally and set in a colander. Slice - thin, again - one medium yellow onion. When cucumber is wilted, drain and rinse off the salt. Mix 3/4 cup white vinegar, 3/4 water and 1-2 tbs. of sugar, to taste. (I use 1 packet of Splenda when being good!) Combine all ingredients together and add some snipped dill - 1 tsp. or so, and some ground pepper. VERY refreshing on hot days.

          1. My mother-in-law does the onion-cuc in vinegar salad constantly. She peels the cucumbers and slices them into 1/8" slices (use a mandoline to help with this if necessary). She salts the slices and lets the moisture leach out; drains them and then throws 2-3 TBS of sugar atop the cucumbers. She adds Italian red onions slices (also thinly sliced) and covers everything with vinegar. She refrigerates it for several hours, minimum 4 (sometimes over-night). She switches off between red wine or distilled vinegars, depending on how much zing she wants to taste. I've dropped the sugar step and like using rice vinegar with positive results.

            1. Thank you Posters ----- these recipes and tips are very helpful. I see that one step I've been missing is setting the sliced salted cucumbers aside to drain for awhile. I usually let them drain for only a few minutes and that evidently isn't long enough.

              I'm on the road to the recipe I remember from my beloved neighbor thanks to you.

              2 Replies
              1. re: eartha

                I use a recipe for bread and butter pickles.Combine cucumbers, with onions,green pepper and whole clove garlic in a bowl.Add salt;cover with cracked ice;mix thoroughly and let stand 3 hours;drain well. remove garlic.Combine with granulated pickling salt, sugar. cider vinegar,turmeric,celery seed and mustard seed. Bring to boil.fill jars leaving 1/2" space. Adjust lids, and process 5 minutes.Start timing when water comes to a boil.

                1. re: eartha

                  My Grandmother always refered to salting cucmbers like this as "getting the poison out"..it is a critical step....you may want to also try adding some fresh dill to this recipe for a slight variation

                2. Posters, I feel spoiled with the riches of your recipes and knowledge! I'm going to try all your versions until I get it right.

                  Funny thing this morning: I had given a large bowl of my latest attempt to replicate Mrs. Duda's recipe to a friend (enough to feed a family plus their assorted relatives) and this morning in church I was rewarded with the husband and wife both saying the cucumbers & onions were so good they ate up the entire batch in one sitting.

                  I didn't think it was that good, certainly not up to Mrs. Duda's standards, and I told them I would be making more until I get the recipe right. With your great input, I will.

                  A post script: I was blessed to be raised on a farm surrounded by neighbors of various ethnicities such as Lithuanians, Polish, Czechoslovakian, Swedish and predominately Irish. I'm half Polish, half Irish, and from my vantage point years later I had the best childhood I can imagine.

                  1. I make this all the time. I use 1 large english cucumber (the very long ones) peeled and sliced thin, 1 medium onion sliced very thin (can use red if you like, although it will turn the liquid a pinkish color), about 1/2 cup of mayonaisse, 1/8 cup sugar (or less to taste), 5 tsp of apple cider vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. Mix everything but cucumber and onion together with a whisk, whisk into cucumber and onion mixture. Let sit at least 1 hour or overnight before eating.
                    Can use sour cream instead of mayo, but i like them made with mayo.

                    1. I responded to your other post over here, too :):

                      http://www.chowhound.com/topics/533126