A small glut of cucumbers and an over production of courgettes has caused me to revisit this very simple recipe which uses freshly harvested red onions. I grow outdoor cucumbers whose skins are relatively thick so all the skin is removed. Greenhouse varieties tend to have thinner skins so less or no skin needs to be removed. Use small courgettes, they will look more attractive and be easier to fit in the jars.
Cucumbers (1kg) – partly/fully skinned, seeds removed, cut into 5mm chunks
Courgettes (1Kg) – sliced very thinly, perhaps using a mandolin
Salt – used to reduce the water content of the vegetables
Red onions (500g) – chopped very finely
Sugar (300g) – brown or demerara preferably
Turmeric (1 teaspoon)
Mustard Seeds (1 teaspoon)
White Vinegar (500ml)
Oil (1 table spoon)
Preserving jars – cleans and sterilised
Green beans (500g) – small sections
Celery (300g) – chopped very finely
Corn flour – up to 1 teaspoon if a thicker consistency in required
Add the prepared cucumbers and courgettes to a mixing bowl, add one teaspoon of salt and mix thoroughly. Cover and leave for one hour. Drain the excess water, rinse and repeat the process again adding the salt.
After four hours the majority of the excess water would have been removed. Reducing the water content makes the vegetables crisper and more able to take up flavours.
Fry the onions in the oil until they start to caramelise. Add half the sugar with the turmeric and mustard seeds and mix well. Add the green beans and celery, then the cucumbers and courgettes. Mix well and let the mixture simmer for five minutes.
Add the remaining sugar and vinegar depending upon taste and consistency required. Add the corn flour to thicken the mixture and provide a glaze if desired. Simmer for an additional 10 minutes.
Allow to cool to body temperature and add to the preserving jars
Given the low salt, vinegar and sugar content this item will not last indefinitely. Place the storage jars in a refrigerator. Use after a minimum of one week. Good for up to three months.
20 August 2016