So, I was feeling a little despondent about my cucumbers. The plants didn’t seem to be thriving. By now (in the fantasy land that is my imagination) I had expected them to have completely covered the fencing we put up for them …. Instead some of them (Early Fortune I am looking particularly at you) were crawling along the ground in a rather desultory manner.
What you can see here are the best plants – as you move further left the cucumbers become less inclined to climb.
Anyway, I thought I would have a rummage to see if there were any cucumbers nearly ready and this is what I found. There were more, but I stopped picking them as I felt a bit overwhelmed.
Appearances, it seems, can be deceptive.
The cucumbers in the foreground are Paris Pickling Gherkins – the seed was given to me by my lovely Putney friends, after they had fed me their wonderful, home-made pickled gherkins. Yes, I was just a little bit jealous so obviously the very first thing I did with my cucumber/gherkin haul was pickle some.
Pickled Gherkins: 1.5kg of gherkins (small-ish cucumbers); 130g sea salt; 1.5 tbsp of black peppercorns, coriander seeds and mustard seeds; 15 cloves; couple of blades of mace; handful of dill; 150g sugar; 1100ml of vinegar (I used cider vinegar).
Cut the gherkins into wedges, put in a bowl, sprinkle over the salt and leave overnight.
Drain off the liquid from the gherkins and put them into 4 sterilised kilner (or other) jars – put some fronds of dill on top. Toast all of the spices in a pan over a medium heat.
Add the vinegar and the sugar and stir until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a simmer, then pour over the gherkins. Seal the jars and leave for 2 weeks before trying them.
I am still waiting to try them so I have no idea if they are any good …. we will see.