Olive Substitute: Cucumber in Brine and Boiled Green Tomatoes

When rural Canadian housewives wanted to serve olives but didn't have any, an olive substitute they made from cucumbers or green tomatoes worked just as well.

olive substitute - jar of pickled cucumbers and pickled tomatoes

Prepared correctly, cucumbers and green tomatoes can both serve as an olive substitute.

Photo by Fotolia/Evgenia Smirnova

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Olives were certainly not on everyone's shopping list in rural Canada where I grew up. Nor would the average log cabin back in the Canadian bush ever have had them in its pantry. But that did not stop women from hankering for the nicer things in life to serve their friends when they got together. They thought of ways to use cucumbers as an olive substitute, or small green tomatoes. Like so:

Cucumber in Brine

1 pint water
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup salt
1 ounce mustard seed
1 pint white vinegar

Stir above brine until dissolved. Take cucumbers and cut into small pieces the size of walnuts. Soak overnight in ice water. Drain thoroughly. Put in sterilized jars and pour brine over cold cucumbers. Seal.

Boiled Green Tomatoes

Pare small green tomatoes and bring them to the boiling point for 2 minutes. Then make the syrup of 2 cups of vinegar and 3 cups of brown sugar. Let it boil with some mixed spices for 5 minutes. Put the boiled tomatoes in sealers and pour the syrup over. Seal tightly.

Edna N. Sutherland
Vancouver, B.C.