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Saturday, September 7, 2013

Freezer Pickles, Easy and Quick


Cucumbers are often a staple in home gardens, but when they start coming in faster than we can eat them, it is a shame if they go to waste. Or perhaps you would love to take advantage of the inexpensive seasonal surplus at farmer's markets but tell yourself you don't have a use for so many. If  home canning isn't something you want to get into, try this delicious recipe from a great cookbook called From Amish and Mennonite Kitchens.

Sugar and vinegar are used quite frequently in Amish, Mennonite and Pennsylvania Dutch cooking. Pickling vegetables such as red beets, cucumbers, green beans, and the most popular being a mix called chow chow, then eaten as cold salads,  are a common method of using up a large quantity of fresh vegetables.

These pickles freeze well and stay crisp when defrosted for serving.

FREEZER PICKLES

7 cups cucumbers, thinly sliced
   (A food processor makes this job quick, easy, and produces evenly sliced pickles)
   (peeling the cucumbers is unnecessary if the skins are thin and not bitter)
1 cup onions, thinly sliced
   (Again, use a food processor)
1 cup green peppers, thinly sliced
   (Yes, again use a food processor)

2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. celery seed

2 cups sugar
1 cup apple cider vinegar

Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix well.
Place in a smaller bowl to fit into your refrigerator, cover with a lid or plastic wrap.
Refrigerate for 3 days, stir each day.
After 3 days, divide up into freezer containers and store in the freezer until ready to use.

That's it!

 

Being mostly water, cucumbers are very hydrating for the skin. The cool feel of cucumber slices placed over tired eyes can do wonders for puffiness. Cucumbers have the same pH as the skin, so they help restore the protective acid mantle, thus a great aid for skin irritations and burns.

High in vitamin C, fiber, silica, potassium, and magnesium, cucumbers are a great addition to the diet to help maintain a glowing complexion.

Besides being used for relieving puffy, tired eyes, here a a few additional beauty recipes:
Make a toner for calming and tightening your skin:


1/2 cucumber with peel, chopped
3 tablespoons witch hazel
2 tablespoons distilled water
Using a blender, add all ingredients and blend until smooth. Separate the solids from the juicy part by straining and then pour your toner into a lidded jar and store in the refrigerator. To use, apply to your face using a cotton ball or one of those cotton squares or rounds. It should last a few weeks if kept in the refrigerator.
A real treat for your face is to make a facial mask:

1/2 cup chopped cucumber
1/2 cup chopped avocado
1 egg white
2 teaspoons powdered milk
Using a small food processor, blend all the ingredients together to form a smooth, paste-like consistency. Massage 2 tbsp of the mask onto your face and neck using circular upward motions. Relax for 30 minutes, giving the mask time to dry. Rinse off with warm water followed by cool water and then pat dry. Store the rest in the refrigerator.

An easier facial mask would be to puree a cucumber in the food processor and add some plain yogurt. Apply as above, rest for 20 minutes and rinse.


1/2 cucumber
1 tbsp plain/natural yogurt
optional for blemishes would be to add 1 drop of rosemary essential oil