Cucumbers

One cup of cucumbers contain approximately 20 calories. It is 95% water, making it a perfect vegetable to promote hydration on a hot summer day. Because of this high water content, cucumbers are often promoted for their beauty boosting effects. Placing cucumbers on the skin (either sliced or in a paste) can help ease sunburn pain and reduce puffy eyes.


BASIL CUCUMBER GIMLET

  • 1 1/2 oz vodka or gin
  • 1/2 oz elderflower liqueur
  • 2 quarter-inch slices cucumber
  • 2 fresh basil leaves
  • 1 oz lemonade
  • A light squeeze of lime juice

In a cocktail shaker, muddle (smash together) the cucumber and basil, add ice and and the rest of the ingredients and shake vigorously. Strain into a glass of ice, garnish with cucumber slice and a basil leaf.


SEKANJABIN

If you are looking for something equally refreshing, of the non-alcoholic variety, try making the Iranian drink sekanjabin. I first had this at a traditional Persian wedding and was happy to find it easy to make at home.


QUICK REFRIGERATOR DILL PICKLES

When faced with a pile of cucumbers. I like to make a batch of these. They pickle up quickly (in as little as an hour)–no need to wait a week before eating them. The recipe scales up and down easily, so you can make a large or small batch, depending on the size of your cucumber pile.


ASIAN CUCUMBER RIBBON SALAD (contribution: Elizabeth Flagg)

This cucumber recipe is simple, quick, and delish!  I got it from the yellow Gourmet cookbook but this looks identical.

Click here!


MOLYBDENUM SALAD

Molybdenum (muh-lib-duh-nuh-m) is one of the trace minerals required for living. Our body needs this tiny but essential nutrient to break down the protein we consume. One cup of cucumber contains eleven percent of our RDA for Molybdenum. It is kind of fun to think that not only are you eating a cucumber, you are enjoying little bit of molybdenum as well.

  • 2 cups of chopped cucumber
  • ¼ cup cilantro
  • ½ chopped red pepper
  • 1 tsp pepper flakes (you can use ½ chopped jalapeño pepper instead)
  • ¼-½ cup peanuts
  • 1-2 tbsp sesame seeds (optional)
  • 1 tbsp each of peanut oil and sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp of honey or agave
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp water
  • Salt to taste

Mix together and serve. Feel free to modify the amounts of oil and vinegar; you may want to increase these a bit if you prefer your salads a little more moist.


GAZPACHO

If you are in the mood for a refreshing summer soup, using lots of tomatoes and cucumbers from this week’s share, try this gazpacho recipe from Alton Brown.


CHILLED CUCUMBER SOUP

  • 2 large cucumbers (about 1 1/2 pounds total)
  • 2 Tbsp chopped onion (white, red, or green)
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp fresh dill, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch black pepper

1- Prep: Peel, seed, and roughly chop the cucumbers. Chop the onion and dill.

2- Blend: Put all of the ingredients into a blender and pulse until completely
smooth. Adjust seasonings to taste. Add more salt and pepper if needed.
At this point you can make ahead and chill.

3- Serve: Pour into bowls and garnish with a drizzle of olive oil and a feather of dill.

If you don’t have buttermilk or sour cream, feel free to substitute with plain
yogurt.


NONNA VALENTINO’s BREAD & BUTTER PICKLES

When I was a girl, my Nonna taught me all about canning and freezing food. When it came to preserves, Nonna didn’t mess around. She grew up during the great depression in a family that had 13 children. Every penny and morsel of food mattered to her family and they never wasted anything. Until the end of her days, Nonna kept a big vegetable garden. She always had a well-stocked cellar full of jars of tomatoes, jams & jellies, vegetables, stone fruits and tons of pickles. It felt to me like she pickled EVERYTHING: beans, cucumbers, eggs, beets, pigs’ feet, you name it! I never was a great fan of all the mysterious stuff in jars except for one thing: her Bread & Butter Pickles. She didn’t use just cucumbers for the pickles. She often threw in yellow summer squash and zucchini. It made for a prettier jar she said. I still use summer squash in mine. Here’s her recipe:

  • 25 cucumbers, thinly sliced (or some equivalent volume of cucumbers and summer squash)
  • 6 onions, thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • ½ cup salt
  • 3 cups cider vinegar
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 2 tbsp mustard seed
  • 1½ tsp celery seeds
  • ½ tsp whole cloves
  • 1 tbsp ground turmeric

In a large bowl, mix together cucumber, onions, garlic and salt. Allow to stand approximately 3 hours.
In a large pan, mix cider vinegar, sugar and spices. Bring to a boil.
Drain liquid from the cucumber mixture. Stir the mixture into the boiling vinegar. Just before the combines mixture returns to a boil, remove from heat.
Pack in hot sterilized canning jars, removing all air bubbles with a butter knife, leave ¼” headspace, and process in a water bath canner 25 minutes for pints. (Many people freeze or refrigerate here. I swear by the canning method, just like Nonna)


ANOTHER GOOD CUCUMBER RECIPE

  • 4 cucumbers peeled and cut into small cubes
  • 1 small orange or yellow pepper, cut into small cubes
  • 1 mango cut into small cubes
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 medium Serrano chili, seeded and minced  (about 1 Tbl)
  • 2/3 cups roasted, salted peanuts, coarsely chopped
  • 2 1/2 Tbl lime juice (juice of one lime..more to taste)
  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves

Mix and serve.

I make this a lot of time without the mango and it is still very good.