Editorial : autumn 2010
Cucumbers – relish that autumn glut!
Last week, after a slow start, I picked 20 of the little beauties. There is only so much cucumber salad a person can eat in a week – so what to do with them? I trawled the net for ideas, and came up with a new version of everything I had looked at.
Cucumber and apple relish
Peel and chop as many cucumbers as you have available. Throw into a large bowl with a good deal of thinly sliced and chopped onion – red or Spanish, or shallots if you have them. Sprinkle all with salt, place a plate and heavy weight on top and leave for the water to come out for at least half an hour or more if you can. Then rinse thoroughly after pouring off the liquid.
Get your clean jars sterilising in the oven on about 70-80 degrees. The lids can be boiled up in a saucepan - plastic lined lids are best.
In a preserving pan over low heat, melt a pound or so of Demerara sugar in a pint of wine vinegar. I had less than a pint of any sort of vinegar available so I used red, white and balsamic, and the result was sensational! Add half a teaspoon each of turmeric, ground cloves and ground black pepper.
Meanwhile, cook up some nice fat peeled and chopped Bramley apples or whatever you have. I added some windfall Ashmead’s Kernal that were a bit too tart for eating yet. When these are good and mushy, put them on the side.
When the sugar, spice and vinegar mix is bubbling, add the rinsed cucumber and onion mixture and cook for 5-10 minutes which gives time for the liquid to reduce. Then stir in the apple pulp and let it all cook a few minutes longer.
Spoon into the warmed jars and put on the lids. Label, gloat a bit, and look forward to adding to ploughman’s lunches, enjoying with curries, dolloping into winter soups to add a zesty note, or bringing life to your working sandwdches all winter!
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