Market Musings Blog

Instant Cucumber Pickles for a Strange Season

I don’t know about your garden, but mine’s cranking out kale as if there’s no tomorrow, the herbs are doing well, too, and everything else is sulking. I’m getting one or two wee cukes each day, and if I were to pickle them in my usual way, I couldn’t even fill a ¼-pint jar at a time. So I’ve devised a fridge pickle that makes the most of my micro-harvests, and tastewise, it has one foot in the world of fresh cucumbers and the other in the world of pickles.

cukes in a barrel CL web

If your cucumber vines are as sulky as mine, give this method a try—it’s fast, the pickles have a very fresh flavor, and any kids in your household, young or otherwise, will enjoy checking to see when the pickles are ready (they swell and change color). Just remember that these pickles aren’t keepers: keep them refrigerated, and eat them as they become ready, one by one. If you aren’t growing your own cukes but can locate small ones elsewhere, you can create a bigger batch that will ripen in their jar all at once.

In either case, as soon as you have washed your cukes, use your fingernail or a paring knife to remove the tip of the blossom end of each cuke (this is always the smaller and paler end; enzymes reside there that start to soften the cuke soon after it’s been picked).

The quantities below are for a 1/2-pint canning jar. Scale up if you’ll be making more than 6 or 7 little pickles at a time.

equal quantity of water and white wine or apple cider vinegar*
small pickling cucumbers
1 unsprayed grape, peach, sour cherry, or oak leaf**
1 peeled and mashed garlic clove
a few coriander and dill seeds
1–2 allspice berries
a few black peppercorns
1 dried Thai pepper, broken in half

*You could use distilled white vinegar, but it contributes no flavor, just a fiery sharpness. Apple cider vinegar will make it difficult to see when the cukes change color, but it’s very tasty.

**Why the leaves, you ask? Grape, oak, peach, and sour cherry leaves are high in tannin, which helps to keep the pickles crisp.

1. Bring the water and vinegar to a lively boil, then allow it to cool before use.

2. Remove the tip of the blossom end of the cukes; if the vine end is still there, looking like a wee handle, leave it in place.

3. Wash the leaves in cold water; put one in the bottom of each canning jar you’ll be using.

4. Add the cukes, garlic cloves, coriander and dill seeds, allspice, peppercorns, and Thai pepper.

5. Pour the cooled vinegar solution over the cukes, close the jar with a nonreactive lid,*** and put the jar on a shelf in the upper half of your fridge. (If you are doing a biggish batch of these fridge cukes, add another leaf or two atop the batch to keep the pickles below the surface. If you’re adding cukes one or two at a time, you don’t need the extra leaves.)

6. The pickles are ready to eat as soon as they’ve changed from bright to olive-y green and swollen significantly in size from absorbing the vinegar solution. This takes about 2 days for very small cukes and 3 or 4 days for 3–4-inch cukes—watch for these two signs that your pickles are ready!

7. These lightly pickled cukes must be kept refrigerated. Eat them within 2 weeks.

***Ball BPA-free plastic lids sold at Mississippi Market are terrific for storing pickles in the fridge.

From member-owner to board member

Alekseywritten by Aleksey Kulichenko, co-op member-owner & board member

Mississippi Market exists for and because of our member-owners. You are what makes us different from a conventional, run-of-the-mill grocery store. Everyone knows that we rely on our member-owners for sales, but what most people don’t know is that we also rely on their talent. The board of directors is made up of member-owners.

My journey to the board of directors started like most. I came to shop at a place that values food as much as I do. I wanted to belong to a community that believes in the idea that changing the world starts with food, so I joined Mississippi Market as a member-owner. I wanted to have an impact greater than my dollars spent, so I became a board member. Contributing to my community is a value that I hold fast to and joining the co-op’s board of directors satisfies this notion.

Every member-owner has the ability to become a board member. Why not you? It is a matter of sharing your ideas, those that you already support in the form of dollars spent.  Our board is made up of member-owners like you! All too often people say, “But I don’t have what it takes to be a board member.” Don’t worry – there exists a myriad of educational opportunities that compose the “technical” side of a board member. What we need from you, we can’t teach. What we need from you are your innate ideas and opinions to carry the co-op forward.

The board is an exciting opportunity that ties together business, community and co-op values. You contribute from the outside, now you can contribute from the inside.

We invite you to take a look at our Board Candidate Application Packet (PDF). If you are considering applying to be a candidate, we ask that you also attend a board meeting to talk to a current director for more insights into the role. Contact the board at to let them know you’d like to attend a board meeting.

Summer Sun & Bug Protection

Our Wellness team gets asked for their recommendations on sunscreen and natural bug sprays all summer long. Here is a list of their favorites.


sunshineThere are 2 kinds of sunscreen available these days:

  • The kind with chemicals that absorb the sun’s rays
  • The kind with minerals that reflect the sun’s rays

Mississippi Market recommends the ones that reflect the rays, all of which contain zinc-oxide

#1 – Badger natural & organic sunscreens 

  • 90+% of ingredients are certified organic
  • Really quality line, including a couple water sports sunscreen, a baby sunscreen & a sun & bug sunscreen

#2 Purple Prairie SunStuff

  • A customer favorite that performs nicely
  • Made locally in Clearwater MN

#3 Devita – A favorite!

  • High performing
  • Face sunscreen & body sunscreen available
  • Rubs in really nicely – demo

Bug repellent

mosquitoes_300All essential oil based – great for kids & people with sensitive skin, no harsh chemicals

#1 Badger

  • Shake & spray makes for easy application
  • 100% organic

#2 Purple Prairie Bug Stuff

  • Our gardener loves this one
  • It’s a local product – made right here in MN
  • Purple Prairie also says that you can use this to sooth bug bites & poison ivy

#3  Veriditas – a concentrated mix of essential oils blended locally by local formulator – Melissa Faris

  • Put a couple drops into water or
  • Add it to a lotion that you already use
  • Since you’re mixing it yourself you can make lighter blend for evening walks & a stronger one for those Boundry Waters camping trips.




reFRESHing spritzers

We all know sodas aren’t good for us, but sometimes a fizzy, fun beverage really hits the spot.  To make a fruity spritzer with much less sugar than soda (and no caffeine), pair together fruit juices with sparkling waterRead more …

Why organics are worth it

The Pioneer Press posted an editorial on June 9 by James Greiff of the Bloomberg View entitled Organic food might not have the effects you expect. It’s yet another article about how organic food isn’t really “worth it.” Read more …

Cheesy Cauliflower

Sure, this would be even healthier if you left off the cheese sauce.  But sometimes it’s grey outside and you just need something cheesy. Read more …

Contemplating bananas on World Fair Trade Day

On March 15th-17 Joe, produce manager at the West 7th store, and I attended Equal Exchange’s Banana Summit in Boston. Since then bananas have been on my mind; their sordid history; their dubious present; their uncertain future. We are living in a world of complexity and uncertainty when it comes to the wide world of bananas. Contemplating them in conjunction with World Fair Trade Day (May 10, 2014) only makes sense.  Read more …

Mexico’s Great Plains Food

It’s grilling season again, time to consider the beauties of skirt steak. It’s best cooked very quickly, then cut against the grain, and served norteño style: wrapped in wheat floor tortillas, accompanied by only grilled onions and perhaps a simple, fresh salsa.

Does this sound something like fajitas to you? Read more …

Big on bulk

Buying in bulk doesn’t mean dealing with large quantities. At the co-op, we’re big on bulk because buying in bulk means buying products with minimal or no packaging.

The best part is that it’s easier on the earth and your pocketbook.  Read more …

Make a mango lassi

Ataulfo mangos may be hard to pronounce, but this buttery smooth yellow fruit is easy to enjoy. Enjoying this mango straight up is always a win- Carefully cutting around the pit. But for a special treat, try a mango lassi. Read more …