freshly picked cucumbers on the ground

Courtesy photo.

Whether you enjoy cucumbers pickled, fresh or even sautéed, this member of the gourd family will keep you “cool” this spring. Cucumbers are fat free, sodium free and a good source of vitamin C. Choose firm cucumbers with dark green color that are heavy for their size. Look for Colorado cucumbers at your local farmers’ market, grocery store or at restaurants across the state. The Colorado Department of Agriculture often features different commodities to highlight the variety and quality of products grown in the state.

Sweet Pickle Relish

Recipe developed by Chef Jason K. Morse, C.E.C., 5280 Culinary, LLC and Ace Hardware Grill Expert

2 pounds (8 to 10) cucumbers, washed, scrubbed and shredded

1/2 Cup pimento, drained and diced

2 small sweet yellow onions, peeled, washed and shredded

3 Tbsp. Kosher salt

3 Cups water, boiling

3/4 tsp. mustard seed

3/4 Cup sugar

3/4 Cup light brown sugar

1/2 Cup white distilled vinegar

1/2 Cup unfiltered apple cider vinegar

Wash your hands with soap and water. Scrub the cucumbers with a clean vegetable brush under running water; shred cucumbers. Peel onions, clean with a vegetable brush under running water; shred onions.

Place the shredded cucumbers, shredded onion and diced pimento into a stainless steel mixing bowl. Cover with boiling water, add the salt, mix well then let stand for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Drain the cucumber mixture and place into a stainless steel stock pot (do not use aluminum). To the cucumber mixture in the stock pot, add the mustard seed, sugars and vinegars. Bring this mixture to a boil over medium high heat, once at a boil, reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 20 to 35 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Cook the mixture until the majority of the liquid (80 to 90 percent) has evaporated and the mixture is thickened. Split mixture into two sterilized pint mason jars and place in the refrigerator to cool completely. Once fully cooled, place on the lid and ring and secure.

For safety and quality, always store this recipe in the refrigerator and use within two weeks. This condiment could soon be one of your favorite picnic staples.

Karen Blakeslee of Kansas State University Research and Extension contributed to this piece.

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