we’ve been having a bit of an issue with our cucumbers this summer. they blossom, the bees pollinate the blossoms, the blossoms set little green cucumber fruit, and then everything goes to hell in a harvest basket.
instead of growing into oblong green cukes like they’re supposed to, they’ve been growing into yellow balls. sometimes they have a little green pickle-like tip, but mostly they’re just round and yellow. the picture below isn’t even the worst of them but it gives you a flavor of what i’m talking about.
we left them on the vine for longer than we probably should have, hoping they’d straighten up and grow green, but they never did and then they were just overripe. i’d been looking forward to pickling some of what i’d hoped would be a bumper crop of cukes, but everything i’ve read about pickles says you need perfect, not too ripe, cucumbers for good pickles and that pickling won’t do anything to rescue bad cukes. but what to do with eight yellow balls that are looking at you and laughing maniacally at your hopes and dreams of cucumber pickles? these cukes don’t taste bad, they’re just a little more tart and seedy than you’d want your slicing cukes to be. and i couldn’t just toss them in the compost bin…i can’t really explain why not, but i just couldn’t.
after some diligent googling, i found a recipe for something called ‘slippery jims’ or ‘slippery jacks’, which apparently are the kind of pickles you make with overripe cucumbers. i sliced the cucumber balls, salted them, left them to sit for 12 hours, and then simmered them with apple cider vinegar, sugar, mustard seed, black pepper and a few other spices.
let me tell you, boiling apple cider vinegar is not the most pleasant smell that’s ever come out of chez farm’s kitchen. it permeated most of the apartment and got into the back of my throat and just stayed there, burning my throat raw. but finally, i packed the resulting slippery pickles (aptly named) into jars and sealed them. i haven’t tried them yet but we have guests coming this weekend, so i figure i’ll make them be my guinea pigs. i’ll let you know how they turn out.