Preserving the seasons bounty does not have to be all consuming. It can be simple with delicious results.
Late spring when the cucumbers in the north Florida garden are coming in faster than can be consumed or shared with friends is the signal to make a batch of refrigerator cucumbers. You need only a few ingredients, a couple clean glass jars, and storage space in your refrigerator for the next couple of months or probably less, since this cucumber salad does not last long.
This time jalapeños peppers were used in my batch rather than bell peppers to provide a spicy sweet kick to my salad. Also, don’t get caught up in the amount of sugar in the recipe. Unless, you plan on drinking the brine much of this sugar is not consumed. The sugar is used to reduce the acidic nature of the vinegar and to provide a slightly sweeter salad.
The tangy sweet cucumber salad pairs well with grilled meats, pulled pork or in your lunch bag. Also, perfect for pot luck or as a hostess gift.
This refrigerator cucumber salad is guaranteed fresh for a couple of months when stored properly.
The jars below represent my extra-large batch. Our family and friends will continue to enjoy the garden fresh cucumber salad throughout the summer. No doubt before the season is over there will be another large batch to take us into the early fall months.
Refrigerator Cucumber Salad
Makes 2 quarts
1 cup white distilled vinegar
1- 1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon celery seed
1 tablespoon mustard seed
5-7 large cucumbers, washed and thinly sliced
2-3 fresh garlic cloves
1 medium red onion, peeled and halved, thinly sliced
1 green or red bell pepper seeded, and thinly sliced (note: you can use a hot pepper like jalapeño to make a spicy sweet vinegar)
In a medium saucepan place the vinegar, sugar, salt, celery seed, and mustard seed. Bring to a simmer until the sugar is dissolved. Set aside and let cool.
In a large bowl, mix the cucumbers, onion, and peppers. Set aside.
Pack and layer cucumber, onion and pepper in clean mason jars or other glass container. Add garlic clove(s).
Pour vinegar to rim of jar. Close (tighten) lid. Place in the refrigerator.
Note: Stays fresh for about two months.