Warning: these pickles are highly addictive.
Since I hit upon this recipe a few weeks ago, I’ve been hooked and make a batch every couple of days.
These are much sweeter than many of the pickled cucumber recipes you’ll find online, and the secret (unsurprisingly) lies in the sugar—there’s rather a lot!
I experimented with a few others before this one, and for my taste, they were all a tad too…well, vinegary. I know that’s the point, but I wanted something just a bit less tangy.
The greater quantity of sugar—along with swapping cider vinegar for white—delivered exactly the taste I was after. However, after a couple of batches, I decided I could actually stand for it to be a little less sweet.
So, while I’m sharing the recipe verbatim (courtesy of Darina Allen of Ballymaloe House Cookery School—Darina is Ireland’s answer to Julia Child and the school is highly prestigious), I now use 50g less sugar when I’m making it. (That is no bad thing, given that they’re sneaking their way into so many of my meals these days. Even breakfast—they’re great with scrambled eggs.)
Officially, the ingredients and measures are:
2 lbs. thinly sliced unpeeled cucumber
2 small onions, thinly sliced
12 oz. sugar
2 level Tablespoons salt
8 fl oz. cider vinegar
As mentioned though, I use a little less sugar, and I also don’t bother adding onions to the mix. (However, I do pickle sliced shallots separately with the same syrup.)
It takes just a few minutes to make this, although you do need to wait four to five hours before they’re ready—and ideally, overnight. Simply place cucumbers (and onions, if desired) in a large bowl. Mix the sugar, salt and cider vinegar together and pour over the cucumbers, then cover and refrigerate.
The sugar will dissolve in the vinegar while the cucumbers are marinating. However, if I have the time, I do like to dissolve the sugar first by gently heating the mixture over a low heat. I then allow it to cool, before pouring it over the cucumbers.
When your cucumbers are ready, spoon into smaller containers and cover again with syrup—you’ll find you won’t need to use all of the syrup this time and can use the extra to pickle onions, shallots or even more cucumber.
Apparently they’ll keep up to a week in the fridge, but I can’t testify to that as I go through them so quickly. However, the plus side of that is that I get to reuse the syrup.
Oh dear, I might have a problem—it’s a good job I’m growing my own cucumbers this summer, so I can keep up with demand.
Author: Hilda Carroll
Editors: Yoli Ramazzina; Emily Bartran