Spicy Pickled Cucumbers with Sesame Oil - Eating Bird Food

Spicy Pickled Cucumbers with Sesame Oil

I’ve been wanting to try my hand at pickling for a while now, but for some reason I’ve been a little intimated of the process. This weekend we ended up with a surplus of cucumbers and I knew it was time to get over my fear.

Rather than go all out the first time around, I decided to start small with a recipe from The Joy of Pickling that was recommended from one of Isaac’s co-workers. I had almost everything on the ingredient list (score!), there were only 3 steps in the recipe instructions and the “pickling” time was short – overall a great recipe for a first time pickler.

I’m a huge fan of ethnic food so the Asian flavor profile of the recipe was a major plus as well.

Spicy Pickled Cucumbers with Sesame Oil.JPG

Spicy Pickled Cucumbers with Sesame Oil
Adapted from Pickled Cucumbers with Sesame Oil from The Joy of Pickling / Makes about 1 pint
Serves: 8
  • 1 pound pickling cucumbers, about ¾ inch in diameter
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ cup onion, sliced
  • One 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and slivered
  • 2 Tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 5 Tablespoon reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon mirin
  • 1 Tablespoon sesame oil
  1. Halve the cucumbers lengthwise and then chop them into ½-inch-long pieces. In a bowl, sprinkle the chopped cucumbers with the sea salt and mix. Let them stand at room temperature for 1 hour.
  2. Drain the cucumbers in a colander and then return them to the bowl. Mix in the onion, ginger, and jalapeño pepper. In a separate bowl, stir together the rice vinegar, soy sauce, mirin and sesame oil. Then pour the mixture over the cucumbers. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let the mixture stand at room temperature for 2 to 3 hours, or in the refrigerator for 24 hours, turning the cucumbers occasionally.
  3. Transfer the pickled cucumbers into a container with a tight fitting lid. They will keep in the refrigerator, well covered, for about 1 week.

Pickled Cucumbers with Sesame Oil.JPG

Overall, my first pickling experience was a success! Isaac and I have already eaten a ton of the pickled cucumbers. They’re a little spicy from the fresh ginger and jalapeño but not too spicy and I love the nutty flavor of the sesame oil. I’ve been eating the cukes plain, as a side with whatever I’m having for lunch or as a topping for salad. I’m sure it would be delish served with brown rice as well!

Now I want to make another batch and/or try another type of pickling or fermenting. And, just in case you’re curious like me – here’s the difference between pickling cucumbers and regular cucumbers:

Pickling cucumbers are typically shorter and smaller than regular cukes and have a bumpy outer skin. They’re hard to find at grocery stores, but they’re abundant at produce stands and farmers markets. You don’t HAVE to have pickling cucumbers to pickle-you can pickle just about any type of cucumber, but their size is preferable and the skins are a little thicker, which helps in processing.

Have you ever tried pickling vegetables or canning fruits/veggies? I’d love to hear about your experience. The closest I’ve come to canning is making apple butter that is preserved in freezer safe cans so I hope to try shelf stable canning sometime soon.

PS- Have a great day… I seriously can’t believe it’s already AUGUST!!

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  1. I have been pickling and canning up a storm. Our ‘canning’ season starts with strawberry picking and ends with apples. This year my children picked over 40lbs of strawberries from the Chesterfield Berry Farm and we ate a lot of it but I made a ton of jam which I had intended to save for Christmas (I think I saved 12 jars) and ended up giving out the rest to family and friends. I love the sense of satisfaction I get from picking the fruit, then canning it and seeing the results. So far we have made two types of blueberry jams, canned 12 quarts of marinara sauce made with Hanover tomatoes, tomato jam (2 types) and pickled an Indian veggie atchar with some spices from South Africa. I had intended on making some blackberry jam as well with Agriberry blackberries but the ‘monster berries’ never last long in my house. Since I don’t have much space in the fridge I have to can everything. Cukes and green beans don’t last to long in my house so I am thinking I might need to host a canning exchange party and encourage my friends to bring along some canned produce to swap. We also make apple sauce in the fall which is such a treat throughout the winter, we eat it with waffles, pancakes, ice cream and it makes a great side for fall dishes.

  2. So cool! I have never tried a pickled cucumber before! I know!! I cant believe its august…cheezz 🙂

  3. if you’re interested in pickling carrots you should try Smitten Kitchen’s recipe! its so easy (very similar to the method you used for cucumbers) and super delicious. i thought the idea of pickled carrots was kinda weird but i’m totally hooked now!

  4. Aine @ Something to Chew Over says:

    I’d love to do this but I’m never able to find any pickling cucumbers! Yours look yummy 🙂

  5. I’ve never tried pickling, but have always wanted to experiment. I love the idea of these cukes, with a little bit of an Asian kick!

  6. I always pickle the cucumbers that I grow in my backyard garden, but I’ve been using the same recipe for years! I love that these are different and unexpected. I’m a sucker for anything with a little spiciness to it.

  7. I’ve never pickled anything but this sounds so good. My MIL pickles watermelon and tomatoes and everyone raves over it.

  8. Seriously, I could live on my Chinese grandmother in law’s pickles. I could put them on my cereal.

  9. Aw I *really* wish I liked pickled things!
    But it is kind of awesome that there is a book called “The Joy of Pickling”

  10. Thanks for the info regarding regular vs. pickling cukes, as I just got a canning/pickling cookbook to try out:)

  11. I’m impressed! I’ve never tried pickling anything. That recipe sounds really good though!

  12. I have been on such a cucumber kick this summer – and these look really good, love the Asian flair to the recipe!!!

  13. I just mede pickles for the first time and it is so easy. I made hot dill pickles and they were so delicious. I’ll have to try this recipe next 🙂

  14. Pickling always seemed so scary to me! I know my grandmother and mother do it, but they’re rather super in the kitchen! Sounds delicious!

  15. Ooooh, I have most of those ingredients as well, might as well try it out this weekend. My family loves spicy foods, so this might be something they’ll enjoy.

  16. I have two good friends who LOVE to pickle and make jam. I’m less talented in that department, but I sure do love eating their goods! Thank you for sharing yourself and your yummy pickled treats. I hope you had a great day today, and I hope you have an even better day tomorrow. Hugs and love from Austin!

  17. We still have about 6 jars of ‘Bread & Butter Pickle’ (a recipe from canadian family) in the cupboard from last year! Really nice sweet & sour pickle & i think we’ve managed to make it though 3 jars already and gave 1 away too. Not sure we’ll be getting that many cues from the green house anyway this year, seems to be slow right now.

    I’ve made chutney before (apple & raisin). Should probably look up a rhubard chutney as we still have lots of rhubard & a very good crop of onions this year.

    Most recipes make such large quantities though, thats the down side.

  18. Thank-you! We have so freaking many cucumbers right now that I’m running out of ideas for. This recipe sounds delicious! I’m off to pick some cucumbers now.

  19. I keep getting garden goodies from friends and was tired of eating raw cucumbers so I gave this a whirl. They sure are delicious but word to the wise – wear gloves when chopping the jalapeño!

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