Mom’s Dill Sour Cream Cuks

Peg Harvey-Sweeney

farm 3From left: Judi, Donna, Patti, Susie, Dennis, Peg, Edna & Chris

“Cukes” are what Mom called cucumbers, but she spelled them ‘cuks’ on all her recipe cards. Here’s a little known fact: in the recipe boxes that I inherited from her, there are 12 different recipes for “cuks!” Crock Dill Pickles, Bread and Butter Pickles, Ripe Cuk Pickles (she rated these ‘V. Good’), Sweet Pickles, and Freezer Pickles are just a few of the many ways she used these ubiquitous summer vegetables.  She always grew fresh dill in her garden, and kept several old crocks at the ready in the cool, dark cellar. Even in the hellish heat of an Iowa August, the temperature there was perfect for brining pickles, fermenting vinegar, or brewing up a batch of beet wine.

Since I use my antique pickle crock to hold a houseplant, I choose this recipe, which finds a delicious use for both dill and ‘cuks’—but doesn’t require a crock to prepare. Also, the pickling process degrades much of the cukes’ nutrient content, especially vitamin C.

  • 4 cuks
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 3/4 cup sour cream *(I use organic, fat-free sour cream)
  • 3 T. minced dill or 1 t. dill seed
  • 1 1/2 t. salt
  • 1 t. sugar (I use 1 packet of Stevia)
  • 1/4 t. pepper
  • 2 T. cider vinegar

Peel cuks, slice thin. Pour boiling water over. Drain, cover with ice water. Drain again and dry. Mix together other ingredients and toss with cuks. Chill at least 30 minutes before serving. Serves 6-8.

Editorial note: This dish is especially good with curry or chili dishes, meat dishes with jerk seasoning, or anything spicy. The sour cream cuts the heat, similar to raita, a cold yogurt condiment often served with Indian food. P.H.

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