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I seem to recall being told that shredded zucchini freezes really well for future use. I've never tried it, though. I wonder could you freeze aqua fresca made from the cucumbers?

 

I might have missed it, but did you try the aqua fresca with the homemade seltzer???

 

Yes. Shred and freeze zucchini flat in a plastic bag.

 

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I am drowning in vegetables. Not that this is a bad thing mind you.   Anyway this morning I used up a bunch of borderline stuff and made a big pot of ratatouille.   Keep the ideas coming...I am

You could change all that...

And I'll be pickling a bunch of cucumbers next week, I hope.

Lord knows there are a gazillion pickle recipes floating around out there. Still, I pulled some favorites from the shelf and came up with the following ideas:

 

Susan Loomis Herrmann has a recipe for "Million-Dollar Relish" in The Farmhouse Cookbook. It'll use up 4 lbs of cucumbers, which are ground, macerated with a ground red bell pepper, drained and simmered with ground carrots, green peppers and onions along with sugar, cider vinegar, dry mustard and turmeric and then canned (makes ~9 pints).

 

Chris Schlesinger & John Willoughby have several recipes that use cucumbers in Salsas, Sambals, Chutneys and Chowchows, including a fresh kimchi salad made from cucumbers, carrot, red pepper, watercress, garlic, ginger, sugar, vinegar, paprika, minced chiles, toasted sesame seeds and white pepper.

 

Finally, have you ever tried making Russian-style pickles? The Russians are definitely champion picklers. There's a very good discussion in Anne Volokh's The Art of Russian Cuisine covering the old-style "salting" or "brining" method which involves neither cooking nor vinegar. As she says, "The vegetables or fruits are immersed in salted water, usually with herbs and spices, and left to ferment for several weeks at a temperature somewhat lower than normal room termperature. The result is delicious. The fermenting juice of brined tomatoes is not overpowered by the addition of vinegar, and without a boiling-water bath, fresh sauerkraut brined with cranberries, carrot slices, caraway seeds, and apples remains crisp, firm, and prickly on the tongue. The disadvantage of this method is that the brined vegetables are more perishable."

 

She also explains how traditional preservatives helped combat spoilage: "oaken containers and oak leaves, which have tanning qualities; sour cherry leaves, which help keep the vegetables firm; horseradish leaves and black currant leaves, which in addition to their scent, have aseptic qualities."

 

Pickles made this way, once ready, keep in the fridge about a week.

 

Volokh has three such recipes for cucumbers: solionye ogurtsy (brined cucumbers); malosol'nye ogurtsy (brined cucumbers with "little salt"); and ogurtsy solionye v tykve (cucumbers brined in a pumpkin). Of the last one, she says: "served directly from the pumpkin, these cucumbers make a spectacular addition to the zakuski (hors d'oeuvre) table. The pumpkin, which imparts a special sweet touch to the pickles, is discarded when all the cucumbers have been eaten."

 

As appealing and Oblomov-esque as all this may be (and as delicious as Russian-style pickles truly are), there's no question making them at home is a riskier proposition in terms of potential spoilage than vinegar/heat-processed pickles.

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Not that homemade wouldn't be better and more fun, but you can buy pickles made in that style with no vinegar or boiling from Bubbies and I love them.

Good tip -- such pickles are also available in many Russian stores, sold from open containers and not limited to cucumbers (other favorites include tomatoes, apples, cabbage, watermelon, whole garlic, mushrooms...). M&I in Brighton Beach has a good selection as do other gastronoms along Brighton Beach Ave.

 

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Market in Tbilisi c. 1980

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