Cucumbers almost always give us more than we can use quickly. But a lot of us don't plant enough to do a run of traditional pickles. If this sounds like your cuke situation, why not try a batch of refrigerator pickles. There are many different recipes available but I have included a personal favorite below.
7 cups cucumbers, sliced
1 cup diced onion
1 tbs celery seed
1 tbs pickling salt
2 cups of sugar
1 cup white vinegar
Put cucumbers, peppers, and onions, into a glass container with a lid that will seal or use regular mason jars.
Add celery seed, salt, sugar, and vinegar to a pot. Bring to a boil till sugar is dissolved. Pour over your sliced cucumbers, peppers, and onions. Let cool to room temperature and then put them into the refrigerator. Wait at least 24 hours before eating your pickles to allow all the flavors to combine.
Maybe tomatoes have your countertops covered. Much like cucumbers, these favorites don't last long after harvest. There are a lot of ways to preserve tomatoes but not too many options for small amounts. My favorite is to make my own salsa. This can be made ahead of a party or get together and will keep in the refrigerator for up to 10 days. Salsa can also be frozen but will be a bit runnier after it thaws. Another preservation favorite is to cut them into pieces and add fresh basil and cilantro and oregano with onion and garlic and run them through the blender to make a smooth puree. Then you can freeze to use as soup stock in the future. Judy also dices the tomatoes and puts them in freezer bags. Freeze until you need them for soups or other dishes.
2 tbs fresh cilantro chopped
1 jalapeno pepper chopped small
juice of 2 small limes
1 med. onion diced
4 ripe medium tomatoes diced
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
Mix all ingredients well. put in the refrigerator and allow to sit for at least 2 hours
Tomato-based Soup Stock
This is by far my favorite thing to do with my garden surplus.
6 medium tomatoes chunked
1 medium onion chunked
1 med green bell pepper cut into pieces.
1 clove garlic
1 chicken broth.
Add all ingredients to your blender. Pulse until pureed. Pour into freezer bags. Use as a base for all your favorite soup and stew recipes or even for chili. This will keep nicely in the freezer for up to 6 months.
As always, I advocate sharing. If your garden produces more than your family can manage, please consider donating to your local food bank or outreach center. If you are not sure where these may be in your area, check with your local churches as a lot of them have their own food banks to help the community.