A while ago, I posted some lemon Japanese cucumber pickles that I had adapted from Just one Cookbook. She pickled the cucumbers whole and I found them just a bit lacking in lemon flavor. recently, one of Jan’s friends (Jennifer Anderson) gave her three yuzu. Yuzu’s flavor is describes as a cross between a grapefruit and a mandarin orange.
I used the sour fruit juice to make ponzu sauce, but this left me with several citrus rinds that I did not want to waste. While I froze some of the rinds, I used one, instead of lemon, for some cucumber pickles. While yuzu zest has a stronger flavor than lemon, I also used twice as much as in the original recipe.
Karl’s Yuzu Japanese Cucumber Pickles
4 Japanese cucumbers
2 tsp. yuzu peel
4 tsp. sugar
1½ tsp. Kosher salt
½ tsp. dry mustard (I used Chinese yellow mustard)
1 tsp. toasted white sesame seeds
1 sealable gallon plastic bag
1. Rinse and dry cucumbers well. Remove the stem half inch from each and about an eighth of an inch from the other end.
2. Roll cut the cucumbers into 1½ inch pieces.
3. Lay the peel of half a yuzu and lay it skin side down, cut the white pith away from the inside.
4. Slice the peel’s zest into the smallest shreds that you can.
Note: You should have about two teaspoons of half inch mini-matchsticks.
5. Put the yuzu peel, sugar, salt, and mustard into the gallon bag and mix them well.
6. Add the cucumbers, press most of the air out, and seal the bag.
7. Rub the sugar mixture over the cucumbers.
8. Refrigerate for at least two hours.
Tip: About every half hour, flip the bag so that the sauce is spread evenly around the cucumbers.
9. The pickles will be edible within two hours, but they are better by hour four and best the next day.
Tip: These pickles are best enjoyed within three days, as they get stronger and a bit bitter as they age.
10. Drain away the released cucumber liquid and transfer the pickles to a serving bowl. Garnish with sesame seeds.