Recently I revisited the very first recipe I ever created, my cucumber and ginger tea sandwich. I had forgotten how much I loved that flavor combination. The next day I found myself trying to come up with a new way to present those same flavors together. A way that I could pull something out and have those flavors instantly available.
Cucumbers are by nature very juicy. Which sounds a little strange to say considering they are a vegetable, but it's true. Although, if you can't get on board with juicy, maybe you can agree that they are watery. Either way it is a very easy thing to get juice from cucumbers. It is also easy to get juice from ginger. So I started thinking jelly, and this is what I came up with:
(Makes 4-5 half pints)
- 2 English cucumbers; peeled and chopped into medium sized chunks
- 3 inch piece of ginger; peeled and chopped into small chunks
- 4 Tbs. lemon juice
- 4 Tbs. white vinegar
- 3 cups sugar
- 1 packet of liquid pectin (Half a box)
- In a blender, puree the cucumber, the ginger, the lemon juice, and the vinegar until no chunks are left.
- Strain the cucumber juice through a fine mesh sieve to remove any pulp. I also strained it a second time through some cheesecloth to remove extra pulp.
- Put 2 cups of the cucumber juice and the sugar in a large saucepan over high heat. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring frequently. When it is at a rolling boil add the pectin. Stir constantly until the jelly returns to a boil. Remove from heat, skimming off any foam.
- Ladle jelly into prepared jars. Follow the water bath method to process the jars.
*Get a printable version of this recipe here.*
***Since posting this it was brought to my attention that I had screwed up my math on this recipe. If you were going to make it with just 2 TBS. each of the lemon juice and the vinegar the PH would have been just a tad low to can it safely using the hot water bath method. I have adjusted the recipe above so it is now correct. I apologize profusely for my oversight.
This is a very unusual jelly. It has an equal balance of cucumber and ginger. There is a slight tang from the vinegar and the lemon juice. I liked it but found myself wondering if it was just me. However, I had a few other people try it (including my husband who was a tad skeptical of this idea at first) and everyone liked it, so I decided it was worth sharing. It's a new way to use up some of that bumper crop of cukes this year.
My oldest daughter likes it on some homemade bread with slices of fresh cucumber, lettuce, and sharp cheddar cheese. I have to agree that it is a good way to use it.
Another possibility for this is to not add in the pectin and simply to can it as a syrup. I have a hunch that it would be a great addition to a gin and tonic. Or just some seltzer water for a cool afternoon drink on a hot summer day.
Update: Last night my husband and I added a tablespoon of the syrup to each of our gin and tonics. It was really good, like a new favorite summer drink kind of good. I also think if you did a gin and seltzer with a tablespoon of the syrup it would be equally good and more of the flavor of the syrup would show through.