Good morning! It’s Food Friday! Actually, it is a Frugal Friday too, because I’m trying not to waste produce from the garden. And before you check the calendar, yes it is Tuesday- in my efforts to not waste produce, I have been super busy freezing sweet corn! But I’m still sharing my Food Friday- Easy, Freezey Cucumbers, a great way to store cucumbers in the freezer and not waste them.
Every year, I want a bigger garden, but I’m not the best gardener. It is hard to keep up with the weeds and pick the produce. I don’t ever let sweet corn go to waste (I adore sweet corn!), but after corn and pizza sauce, the rest of the garden is a hit or miss mess.
This year, I am working hard to not waste the cucumbers or the tomatoes; we won’t discuss the poor spinach or carrots. Of course, the tomatoes aren’t ripe yet, so I can concentrate on picking, eating and freezing cucumbers.
This Easy, Freezey Cucumber recipe is my mother-in-law’s freezer pickle recipe that we have been making and eating forever! I was super surprised to find it, and close variations, on a few Mediterranean/Dash recipe websites as a Cucumber Salad.
For years, I’ve been eating freezer pickles just as a pickle, 3 or 4 slices with a meal or as a snack. The cucumber salad recipes recommend a larger, side dish serving size.
What a great idea!
Cucumbers are healthy, and I have plenty, so I’ve started considering them a salad with a bigger portion size! Yummy-Yummy!
Since I’m eating bigger portions and my 3 cucumber plants are really producing, I’m glad Easy Freezey Cucumbers are indeed easy to prepare for the freezer. Even though they take a few hours, most of it is waiting time.
When preparing the cucumbers, my mother-in-law did not peel the washed cucumbers. I like to partially peel them, leaving on large, alternating stripes, but it’s your choice- they are all yummy. I like the green stripes around the edges, they look cute and colorful when I slice them.
The colorful cucumbers are mixed with salt to draw out liquid. Once mixed, they sit 1 or 2 hours on the counter, before rinsing thoroughly and draining. I rinse the cucumbers 2 or 3 times before finishing the recipe and packing them for the freezer.
Easy, Freezey Cucumber Pickles/Salad
8 cups sliced cucumbers, peels on, off or partially on
1 large onion sliced
2 Tablespoons salt
½ cup vinegar
1 ¼ to 1 ½ cups sugar
1 teaspoon mustard seed (sometimes I leave it out)
1 teaspoon celery salt (sometimes I leave it out, too)
In large bowl, sprinkle salt over cucumbers and stir together. Let them sit on the counter for 1-2 hours. Rinse the cucumbers and drain thoroughly. I rinse them 2-3 times.
Add rest of ingredients to the bowl with the cucumbers and stir to combine.
Let sit in refrigerator 1-2 more hours or overnight. Pack cucumbers, onions and liquid into containers and freeze.
Sometimes I include the mustard seed and/or celery salt, sometimes I don’t. I make refrigerator pickles that don’t include the spices. Since I love them too, I don’t always put the spices in the Easy, Freezey Cucumbers.
Occasionally, I miss cucumbers in the garden and they are larger before I find them (it’s the husband who usually finds them; I’m bad at hide and seek). Even the large cucumbers can get partially peeled and used, though. I just cut them in half the long way and scoop out the seeds.
Packing Easy, Freezey Cucumbers for the Freezer
I often skip the last wait time, packing and freezing them right after mixing in the sugar, vinegar, onion and spices. Each container usually needs a small amount of water (1/4 to 1/3 cup) to cover the cucumbers when I freeze it early, but the pickles/salad still turns out delicious. I love easy, flexible recipes!
I use freezer bags to store the Easy, Freezey Cucumbers.
To make sure the cucumbers and onions are covered in liquid and won’t get freezer burnt, I pack the bags with cucumbers and liquid, and then flatten the bags on the counter.
I holding up the unsealed opening so the vinegar/water doesn’t spill. Then, I carefully push out any air in the bag, fold the bag up an inch so the liquid can get to the edge, but not come out and then seal it.
To help the bags freeze quicker, I lay them on flat spots or cookie sheets in the freezer. Later, when the bags are solid, I stack them together in one spot.
If you pack and freeze the cucumbers in mason jars, make sure to leave a 1 inch space at the top for the liquid to expand.
Now that I am eating larger servings of Easy, Freezey Cucumbers, I’m using up more cucumbers from the garden. I am also hoping to freeze lots of bags for eating salads this winter.
I’m glad it is such an easy recipe, my 3 cucumber plants are covered in bright, yellow flowers and baby cucumbers. And last night, the husband brought in 10 cucumbers! Hopefully, with this easy recipe, I will waste less from the garden and even eat healthier!
Happy Camping (or searching for cucumbers!)