I love eating. I really love eating. But the problem is that I mostly love eating things that are bad for me. Can I get an “Amen!” for Lindt chocolate truffles and French fries? Don’t even get me started on cheesecake with some blueberry pie filling on top and just a dollop of whipped cream … my mouth is watering just thinking about it.
But occasionally, I enjoy foods that are not so bad for me. This recipe, from the kitchen of my grandma, has been a favorite of mine for as long as I can remember. These marinated cucumbers are almost like pickles, but they don’t feel quite as abrasive in your mouth and they taste super-fresh. I can eat a whole batch, by myself, in a day without trying (which I can also do with brownies, but that’s not important).
I know that cucumbers are no broccoli when it comes to nutritional bang for your buck, but they’re undoubtedly healthier than salt and vinegar potato chips. They’re simple to make, yummy to eat, and perfect for summertime snacking.
3 medium cucumbers
1/2 cup vinegar
1/2 cup water
2 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1. Peel the cucumbers.
(You don’t have to do this, but I’ve never been a big fan of cucumber skin. The cucumbers will soften up as they marinate and I prefer to leave the peel out of that equation.)
2. Slice the cucumbers.
(You can do this however you like. Sometimes, if I’m feeling fancy, I’ll bring out my crinkle knife. You can cut yours in coins, half-coins, etc. You can cut them as thick or as thin as you prefer. I like to slice mine as thin coins, alternating between super-thin and only thin-ish.)
3. Place cucumbers in a bowl or sealable container.
(I like to throw my sliced cucumbers straight into a sealable plastic container. The cucumbers will need to be refrigerated in their marinade after everything gets all mixed together, so a sealable plastic container makes everything easier.)
4. In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the vinegar, water, sugar, salt, and pepper.
5. Pour vinegar mixture over sliced cucumbers.
6. Give the cucumbers a good stir.
7. Refrigerate for 3-4 hours before tasting, making adjustments, or serving.
8. Store cucumbers in marinade and in the refrigerator, but serve drained and at whatever temperature you prefer.
(I like mine best straight out of the fridge and, often, straight out of the container.)
Like most of the happenings in my grandma’s kitchen, making these marinated cucumbers is not an exact science. My grandma is way better at taste-testing and adjustment-making than I am, but there’s really no way to mess these cucumbers up! I typically like to add in a little bit more sugar and a little bit more salt, but every batch is different. Keep in mind that the cucumbers will release their own water as they marinate — this can change the flavors and what ingredient needs to be adjusted.
Oh! And as tempting as it might be to save some time, effort, and ingredients and just reuse the marinade by throwing in some newly sliced cucumbers, don’t do it! The marinade will be watered down and not as yummy if reused.