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West Indian Cucumbers Pickled

  • Cucumbers can be tricky to grow in a hot subtropical climate like mine but I have found a cucumber which thrives in hot and humid conditions and it's called the West Indian Cucumber. The fruit is small and bite sized and is best harvested when young at no bigger than two inches.

    Due to the size and mild taste of the West Indian cucumber it lends itself well to pickling so I thought I would share a few images and of course the recipe.

    More about the West Indian cucumber

    I've only been growing this variety of cucumber for one season so I still have much to learn about this fruit/vegetable plant. Here's what I know so far:
    • Size - It's a small cucumber with a vigorous vine growth which takes over a garden bed making one or two plants plenty for most gardens.
    • Fruit - The fruit develops extremely fast from flower to picking fruit in a matter of days not weeks. The small spiny melon type cucumbers do have more seeds than other popular cucumber varieties. I'm yet to let any of my fruit mature enough for seed collection (because we've been eating and pickling them) so I can't comment on fully mature fruit. The spikes or spines are slightly more prominent than regular cucumbers but are easily rubbed off with a tea towel to produce a smooth oval fruit.
    • Disease resistance - There are other varieties of cucumbers which handle hot and humid conditions OK but this is by far the most disease resistant cucumber I have seen apart from the African Horned cucumber which is virtually inedible as far as I'm concerned.
    • Taste - It's quite a mild cucumber and they are a great snack straight out of the garden. Yes, there are a little more seedy than most cucumbers; however, the seeds are soft, tasty, and do not detract from the eating experience whatsoever. Just the same, I suspect if the fruit is left to fully mature the eating quality would diminish so picking the West Indian cucumber young is the way to go.
    *Check out the other tabs for my pickling recipe and method.

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  • Equipment

    Sterilised jars (about 10 x 300 mil jars or less larger jars)
    Medium sized funnel
    Ladle
    Pot

    Ingredients

    West Indian cucumbers - about 40 or 50
    Plain or white wine vinegar - 750 mils
    Apple cider vinegar - 750 mils
    Water - 500 mils
    Salt - 3 x teaspoons
    Peppercorns - 2 x teaspoons
    Mustard seed - 2 x teaspoons
    Dill seed - 2 x teaspoons
    Sugar - 3 x teaspoons
    Garlic cloves x 4 peeled and quartered

    Method
    Wash the cucumbers and using a tea towel or cloth rub off any spines from the surface of the fruit.

    Place all the ingredients (except for the cucumbers) into a pot and bring to the boil than take off the heat.

    Tightly pack the cucumbers into the jars leaving a gap of a few centimetres from the top.

    Pour the hot pickling solution over the cucumbers filling the jars almost to the top to cover ensuring an even mix of spices and at least one piece of garlic goes into each jar.

    Place the lids on tightly and leave to cool. Store in a cool dark place (cupboard or pantry) for at least 4 weeks to allow the pickles to develop. The pickled cucumbers should last at least a year in storage, once opened refrigerate and eat within a few weeks.

    Tip - If you have any spare pickling solution left over try not to waste it by simply storing it in the fridge then reheating it for another jar or two. Plus, if you have other things in the garden like chillies/jalapenos you can use them to make up half an empty bottle etc.

    Feel free to share this recipe :)


  • Best eaten as a snack by themselves but all pickled cucumbers go great in salads or on sandwiches/burgers etc. Try adding some diced in a fried rice for something really different it tastes awesome! :twothumbsup:
  1. Mark
    Linda I got the seeds online here in Australia see this post.
    http://www.selfsufficientculture.com/threads/anyone-know-of-a-good-cucumber-variety-to-grow-in-a-subtropical-climate.5/#post-426

    Often people will sell this heirloom variety of cucumber on eBay - just do a search for cucumber seed and scroll through the listings checking out the images until you see the right type because some sellers don't sell them by the correct name.
  2. Linda Langevoort
    where did you buy these cucumber plants? What part of the country?