I have often wondered what to do with the abundance of cucumbers each year. I had tried preserving them but found they didn’t keep well and were always mushy! A friend shared this idea with me and it really works! In fact we are still using some of last year’s crop; the cucumbers have remained crisp, spicy and delicious. Have a try, and be pleasantly surprised.

Ingredients

  • 3-4 young tender cucumbers
  • ½ teaspoon each of your favourite spices: e.g. ground cumin, garam masala, turmeric, curry powder, cardamom seeds
  • a small handful of pickling spices
  • a few bay leaves
  • 2 rounded tablesp. rich flavoured liquid honey (Wanganui City Gardens)
  • about 2 cups of Apple Cider vinegar. More may be needed to top up jars before putting on seals and screw-on rings.

Equipment needed

  • clean small preserving jars
  • large, deep pot with a lid, that will hold four upright preserving jars with lids
  • a small cloth for base of pot
  • 4 preserving jar seals and ring screw-on rings
  • small pot for heating through cider vinegar, honey and spices

Method

  • Place in a small pot, cider vinegar, honey and some of your favourite spices.
  • Very gently warm this mixture. Do not boil.
  • Fill up each jar with diced cucumber – no need to peel.
  • Carefully pour over the warmed ingredients. Use a clean knife down the sides of each jar to gently ease out air bubbles.
  • Add additional unheated cider vinegar to overflow each jar.
  • Place a clean, not sterilised preserving seal on each jar and lightly screw on a preserving jar ring.
  • Lay out a small clean cloth on the inside of the base of the large pot.
  • Place jars upright in the pot.
  • Fill the pot with warm water so that about 2-3 cm of water covers over the  jars.
  • Place lid on. Heat until water is boiling.
  • Simmer 5 minutes only. This ensures the cucumbers remain crisp and not soggy.
  • Carefully remove jars from pot with strong tongs, and place on a wooden board or similar. Screw each preserving ring tightly.
  • Allow jars to cool and ensure each one has sealed properly.
  • Label each jar with name and date.