Cucumbers & Washing Machines

The fate of gardening is this: some years nature performs to the expected standard while at other times, she does not. This year offered us a quick burst of spring, then rain and clouds until July. While I’m grateful there’s no smoke or flames on the mountain-sides this summer, hot weather crops didn’t do so well.

And that is when I get to pull out my “homesteader” brain and make due in others ways. Like biking a mile down the road with my mountaineering backpack to pick up 30 lbs of pickling cukes from a local produce stand. Don’t laugh! My neck will never be the same again…and neither will the back tire on my husband’s mountain bike!

While at the produce stand it was suggested that I wash the cukes in my washing machine. (I think the lady felt sorry for me, biking with 30 lbs of cucumbers)! Both my mom and mother-in-law washed produce in their top-loading machines, but I had never done it personally.

I listened to the instruction, biked home (whew!) and proceeded to test out the various methods. Once I got it down…amazing!

It worked beautifully,

Took about 2 minutes to complete,

And was the best idea ever!

 

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But before you become too excited you must know that this won’t work with front-loading washing machines. I’ll say it again, in case anyone is confused:

Don’t attempt this method if you have a front loading machine or you’ll end up with cucumber relish!

And should anyone still be confused, a front loading machine has a solid top (they often have the drier setting above ’em) and the door is located on the front of the device. They will not work for washing cucumbers! 

But for those of you who do have a top-loading machine…you have something goin’ for ya!

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How to Wash Cukes in a Top-Loading Washing Machine

You’ll need:

  • approximately 10 lbs cucumbers per batch: don’t add too much or cukes will bruise due to weight of stacked layers.
  • a large bowl: you’ll need something that can handle 10 lbs cucumbers
  • time: though its a quick process, you can’t leave ’em unattended

 

How To’s:

  • Change water temperature to COLD
    • warm or hot water will soften cukes…and no one like mushy pickles!
    • to be safe, change setting to cold and then get any warm/hot water out of the lines by running it until icy-cold water is flowing. You can either catch the warm water in a container or spin it out using the “spin” setting.
  • You can adjust the water level by changing it to SMALL LOAD
    • You will be stopping the process before it has a chance to fill but I find also adjust this setting helps me remember to do the first!
  • Place approx 10 lbs of straight-from-the-field cukes in washing machine
  • Set starter dial to DELICATE WASH and begin filling machine with water

 

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  • Watch the filling process and once it has covered cukes by 1-2 inches, stop
  • Move dial forward a fraction until you find that sweet spot where it begins a “swishing” motion and moves water back and forth

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  • Allow the “swishing” cycle to go for no longer than outlined below
    • 30-40 seconds for mildly dirty cukes
    • 70-80 seconds for very dirty cukes
  • Set machine to SPIN (the lid must be down) and let it go for 30-60 seconds. Check. If water is gone, begin removing cucumbers and placing in bowl. They ought to be shiny and clean!
  • Using a dry paper towel, wipe out the inside of machine to remove blossom ends and any dirt particles that may have stayed behind. Then, if ya need to run another batch, go at ‘er! If not, your washing machine is clean for the next batch of laundry!

 

That’s it folks! From there, hustle ’em up to the kitchen for processing!

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