Cucumber Kimchi [Salad]

glass mason jar filled with cucumber kimchiI received this recipe from Anna at Seoul Food back when they were still running a food truck. It’s very delicious and I treat it like a refrigerator pickle. I’ve made it with both pickling cukes and English cukes. Whatever I had from the garden. I’ll give you the recipe as I received from her and add my notes to the end.

It depends on how much cucumber you have, but generally I use this recipe on my own.

1.Sea salt enough to salt cucumber

2. For about 2 hrs later( I wait longer because I make large volume), you can rinse them in a colander with cold water.
During waiting period, toss them a couple of time to salt them evenly.

3. After draining them in colander, prepare scallion chopped, pepper flake (if you cant find Korean pepper, use cayenne pepper too, a little bit of vinegar to taste, and a little bit of sugar too.

4. Put all ingredients in a big bowl, and toss them with your hand.

My notes:

1. For enough salt, I tend to use a similar ratio to what you’d find in canning books. It’s easy to be too heavy handed. My go-to recipe for Bread and Butter pickles uses 1/2 pickling salt to 10 cups of sliced cucumbers. I tend to use kosher salt since that’s what I have available in bulk most of the time. My B&B recipe also has you cover the salted cukes with water which is also a thing I do because when I haven’t, I ended up with cucumbers inedible due to saltiness.

2. I like to take samples out and test the saltiness after rinsing at different time points to make sure they’re not oversalted.

3. I got this rec for Korean pepper flake from another kimchi recipe and it’s great. Tae-kyung Korean Red Chili Pepper Flakes Powder. If you can’t find it, I’ve also successfully made this with sambal which seems to be a bit easier to find at grocery stores, at least around here. The vinegar and sugar is totally to taste. For my most recent batch with about 10 c of sliced cucumbers, I used one bunch of green onions/scallions, 1/2 c white vinegar, 2 tbs sugar, and 1 tbs pepper flake powder (it’s got some kick and I’m from the Midwest.)

4. After tossing, I put it in a glass jar in the fridge. Lasts for ages. 10 cups of sliced cucumbers makes about a half a gallon of kimchi. I have no idea if it’s a good idea to try to ferment this. I treat it like a quick pickle.

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Adventures in Booze: Cucumber Martini

Light green martini with cucumber vine in the background

When I first mentioned that I had been drinking cucumber martinis to my coworkers, one of them said to me, “Oh! What brand of cucumber vodka do you use?” Brand of cucumber vodka? I had no idea there was such a thing. I just use cucumbers.

This isn’t a great way to use up the cucumber tsunami you may have from being overenthusiastic with your vine planting, but it’s so good that you just don’t care. This is a recipe that I’ve been making for a while without using things like “measurements” so I apologize for the approximations.

3-4 slices of cucumber (about an inch total), unpeeled. You can use English cucumbers to avoid the seeds or just use what you’ve got on the vine.
4-5 mint leaves. I like the stuff they sell as Mojito mint best. This does create a mint-heavy drink so adjust according to preferences.
1 spoonful of sugar. You know, the smaller table spoon from your tableware set. What are those called anyway? Are they teaspoons?
Juice from half a lime or two spoonfuls.
2 oz vodka or gin

Muddle your cucumber, mint and sugar in a cocktail shaker. And when I say muddle, I mean pulverize that shit. Add lime, spirits and ice, shake and strain into a martini glass.

One thing that can be fussy about making this is that your chunks of cucumber can make it a bit of a pain in the ass to strain. But if you make it enough times, you’ll figure out your technique.

This is a drink that I usually make with a nice vodka because I (repeat after me) don’t like gin. I also like to have the light cucumber and mint tastes to come to the fore over any gin botanicals. That said, it’s pretty damn good with gin too. As with all of the gin containing drinks I’ve mentioned thus far, I use Bulldog because I find it drinkable. It’s a London dry if that helps you decide what to pull out of your liquor cabinet. Enjoy!

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