Sunday, August 24, 2008

Swedish Cucumbers - Summer in a Bowl

My mother's family is Swedish, and as can be expected, I relate most to my heritage through the food. I love good Swedish mustard, I would kill for real Swedish meatballs and every summer I crave Swedish Cucumbers.

The best family functions always include both Swedish meatballs and cucumbers, and they accompany each other perfectly. However, my understand is that Swedish meatballs are HARD to make (having never made them myself) - so today, I stuck with just the cucumbers. This may sound like I wimped out, but I assure you, the cucumbers have taunted and teased me for a couple years.

Come July and August, I can't get enough of the fresh cucumbers that are at the farmers markets, yet I have never made Swedish cucumbers! Mostly it's a result of the whole mandolin issue, but it's also because my mom could never tell me more about the recipe than "put some cucumbers with vinegar, water and sugar." It seemed like too much work to risk a massive failure.

Then my Aunt PC came to the rescue a couple of weeks ago and sent me the recipe as well as a tip for skipping the mandolin. Apparently my Great Grandma, who immigrated to the US from Sweden with she 18 and who just turned 105, (WOW!) used to make these super thin cucumber slices with just her vegetable peeler. Since I have a wonderful Cutco peeler, and have been beaten by my mandolin, I decided this was the approach for me.

So today, I stopped by a farm stand and picked up some beautiful cucumbers. I went at them with the peeler and viola! I had beautiful Swedish cucumber slices within 10 minutes. It wasn't nearly as difficult or as painful as I expected. I threw together the vinegar, water and sugar, added some salt, pepper and parsley and was in summer-time bliss. It took a lot of will power to not eat the whole bowl before dinner, but I managed and even shared some with JR.

Pickled Swedish Cucumbers
2 cucumbers
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup white granulated sugar
1 cup water
Dash of salt and a couple grinds of black pepper
Chopped parsley or dill

1. Dissolve the sugar in the liquid ingredients.
2. Slice up the cucumbers making sure they are paper thin. Use a mandolin if you are brave or a vegetable peeper to peel off thin round.
3. Pour the vinegar mix over the cucumbers and add salt, pepper and herbs.


carlsonpb said...

Besides being easy to make and very tasty, Swedish cucumbers do not cause any sort of digestive upset. The vinegar neutralizes the "burp-causing" tendency of regular cukes. Aunt PC

anonymouscoward said...

didnt i just give you this recipe recently and NOW YOU STOLE IT

K said...

Anonymouscoward, telling me that "Jenn made a cucumber salad last night that her aunt makes kirby cucumbers, red onion, white wine vinegar, salt, pep, lil sugar and something else i think simple but good" does not compare to the recipe my Aunt PC sent to me. Pick it up a notch and you will get some recognition here.