Cooking Cucumbers

For some reason this year, our small bed of cukes started putting out like a gigolo on Wisteria Lane. They’re too big for pickling, really, and we don’t know how to can anyway. So we had like a dozen of these gigantic cucumbers, and had grown tired of the various marinating recipes. Yes, they’re very good that way and in salads, but we stumbled upon a recipe for cooking them when we had about six of them left. So we thought, what the hell, we’d give it a try. And they were really delicious. They were the hit of the meal (which, by the way, included creamed corn from freshly shucked ears — ordinarily, *that *would have been the hit of the meal.)

I’m going to share the recipe here. It is not taken directly from any source, and so there are no copyright issues. I did, in fact, make a few alterations and will write the recipe in my own words, so this is ours. You are free to try them and share the recipe as you see fit.

Ingredients:

(4) large cucumbers, peeled, deseeded, and sliced (about 3/8" slice, such as you would do for salads, etc. You can also leave the seeds in, if you like, but my wife doesn’t like them. Adjust quantity for size.)

(2) tablespoons of ordinary white vinegar (or any vinegar of your choice)

(1) generous tablespoon of sugar

(1) tablespoon of corn starch (a little more if you like a thicker sauce)

(1) chopped or diced onion (medium size)

(5) slices of premium bacon (NOT the new already cooked kind)

Salt and pepper

Instructions:

Make a roux with the cornstarch and about a quarter cup of water. Fry the bacon in a 10" skillet until crispy. Remove bacon, and place on paper towel to dry out. Pour out all but a tablespoon or two of the grease. Reduce heat to medium if necessary. Add onions first, stir for a minute or two to caramelize them. Then add cucumbers, vinegar, sugar, and roux. Bump heat up to medium-high until roux begins to boil. Reduce heat to low, and cover. Stir occasionally, especially to make sure all cukes are coated with thickened sauce.

Cook until cukes are tender and translucent (much like cooked onions).

Remove from heat. Crumble bacon into bits, and sprinkle over contents of pan. Serve immediately (or keep warm until serving). Leftovers nuke well. Enjoy.

Dammit, I forgot. Season to taste with salt and pepper, just before removing from heat.

I submit that this is the real reason the cucumbers tasted so good.
:stuck_out_tongue:

Sounds interesting!

A small nitpick, if you don’t mind… A roux is cooked fat and flour. What you describe with cornstarch and water is called a slurry, which is also an excellent thickener.

sounds great!

Here is something I do with big cukes.

Slice, thinish but not too thin (your preferences may vary). I prefer to keep the skins on.

Put in vinegar with big bits of onions, bell peppers, and hot/medium/mild peppers (your choice).

Spice up the brew with lots of spices. Chili powder, paprika, cumin, garlic, salt, pepper, and maybe a touch of sugar to take the edge off the vinegar.

Let is sit for a few days before eating. The longer it sits the better it tastes IMO. You will usually end up with a good bit of “broth”. I use that in the next batch.

Experiment to find your taste levels/preferences.

Everything is better with bacon. Thanks for that recipe.

I made a cucumber salad yesterday - no cooking, but it was different. Peel and thin slice cukes (de-seed if seeds are big and hard). Marinate in a dressing of 1/3 orange juice, 1/3 lemon juice, 1/3 lime juice, sugar to taste, salt and pepper. (recipe called for cilantro, but I had none.) Thin sliced peeled oranges can be added. The cucumber changes from a salad veg to a fruit.

I’ve never thought to cook them, but now I want to give that a try.

If you ever do want to make pickles, my mom blogged in details about their creation, both sweet and dill. And then, this weekend, I made a batch of kool-aid pickles out of some of her dills.

There’s nothing like prolific cuke growth to really bring out the cooking creativity.

You’re probably right! :smiley:

Thank you! I love learning new terms like that. A slurry. Got it. :slight_smile:

My sister does pickles. But my wife and are afraid of canning. We know (or have been told) that it must be done just right to avoid poisoning ourselves.

If you’re doing low-acid foods, you do have to be really careful. But high-acid canning like making pickles is no biggie. The ph inhibits microbial growth quite well on its own, even if the technical aspects of your canning leave something to be desired. Pickles are very newbie friendly, and they’re exactly where we started teaching ourselves to can. And you can pickle anything at all, from cukes to green beans to garlic and ginger.

Don’t be scared of pickes.

Thanks, CrazyCatLady. I’ll inform my wife about the ph thing. Maybe we will try it.

Plus, as mom says, any cans that don’t seal right you just open up and eat first (or give to the neighbors to eat soon, if there are too many for your pickle needs).