cool as a cucumber…

The weather has been decidedly cool and showery over the last week.  It has been a case of dipping in and out of working on the holding and interleaving with other activities like PICKLING.

I’ve never made pickled gherkins before; eaten quite a few though.  So this year we grew several gherkin plants, as well as ridge cucumbers.  The variety is ‘Piccolo di Parigi’. I turned to the web for a recipe and plumped for a sweet vinegar version.  The taste is good, though I’m not sure about all the powdered spices used, as they have fallen to form a layer at the bottom of the jar.

Also, the recipe didn’t include dill, which is my favourite herb in the garden right now.  It’s looking fabulous at the moment, (one for the ornamental garden I think), and the umbellifer flowers attract masses of insects, including parasitic wasps which is why I grow dill in the polytunnel. So the next batch of pickles must be a dill version though I may try a ‘bread and butter’ recipe as well.  After all, practice makes perfect.

Back to the subject of cucumbers.  I’m growing all of my plants together in the polytunnel.   According to my, belated, research, this might not be a good idea if I have any ‘greenhouse’ varieties as apparently cross pollination from a male flower, (and ridge cucumbers have both male and female flowers), can produce bitter fruit in the ‘greenhouse’ types.  However, as I’m still trying to get my head round the different cucumber categories, parthenocarpic, (seedless) types and gynecoecous types, (for increased yields, as they produce few male flowers) etc. I’m not too concerned.  I’ll double check the seed before I sow next year. 

The first slicing cucumber we harvested this year is a very pale green, thin skinned, variety, and it is delicious.

So, I decided to make good use of this first cucumber of the growing season and made finger sandwiches, served alongside an egg mayonnaise version and strawberry scones. Afternoon tea, delicious!

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