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Cool as a Crunchy Cucumber

By Alana Sugar, July 25, 2011  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Alana Sugar
I remember having dinner at my sister’s house years ago when my oldest niece Emily, who was then about 10, watched her mother slice cucumbers for the salad. She picked one up and declared, “I know what these are! These are for your eyes!” Emily was right; cucumbers are one of those special foods that have more uses than just culinary. An internet search turns up some pretty unusual uses for cucumbers, everything from removing crayon drawings on walls to firming up cellulite on skin! I have no idea about the validity of many of these claims, but I do know that a summer without cold cucumbers is like a winter without hot soup. Called Cucumis Sativus by science, the cucumber is a cousin to zucchini, watermelon, pumpkin and other squash. We love to eat them fresh or pickled. Fresh cucumbers are generally known as “slicing cucumbers” while the smaller, cultivated varieties, such as gherkins, are perfect for pickling. All varieties are cylindrical in appearance; their colors can range from whitish-green to dark green. Some have smooth skins while others are bumpy and ridged. Inside, a cucumber has watery, pale, whitish-green flesh. Some varieties have seeds and others are seedless. The flesh is crunchy, the seeds are edible, and the uses are numerous. Although the longer, slicing cucumbers are available year-round, all cucumbers are best enjoyed in season, added to summertime menus. Along with salads, discover new cucumber culinary creations from appetizers to soups to main dishes, side dishes and even desserts. Here’s a start: Remember, when purchasing cucumbers, they should be firm. No soft spots, no browning and nothing yellow or limp. The thinner the cucumber, the less seeds it is likely to have. If your cucumber has a waxy coating, wash it off or peel it. Store all cucumbers in the fridge; they will keep for several days, but it is always advisable to use fresh veggies and fruits, including cucumbers, as soon as possible after purchase. How do you stay as cool as a cucumber? Got an idea or a favorite recipe? Let me know!
Category: Food & Recipes, Produce




marcella says ...
yummy I love cucumbers cooking cucumber stew today :)
07/25/2011 5:44:01 AM CDT
kara rane says ...
hi* we love to make cucumber smoothies~yum.
07/25/2011 10:40:25 AM CDT
Toddesha says ...
07/26/2011 6:15:21 PM CDT
stewie says ...
i love to stay cool with cucumbers :)
07/27/2011 3:19:28 PM CDT
Julie Sardeson says ...
I have a garden in my patio. This year my cucumbers have taken over 1/4 of my patio! I planted american cucumbers, japanese cucumbers and lemon cucumbers and they are growing up beneath my green beans on trellises and are also spreading across my brick patio! So far they outnumber my 5 tomato plants for volume! My favorite recipe is Japanese Pickles from the Whole Foods Market recipes. It reminds me of a similar recipe made by my aunt when I was younger. Since I also grow jalapenos, I altered the recipe and use freshly diced jalapeno peppers instead of red chili peppers, and also agave nector instead of rice syrup. I also add grape tomatos. I'm looking forward to trying some of the cucumber recipes mentioned above also!
07/27/2011 5:52:34 PM CDT
Mary says ...
We serve our chickens cucumbers from our garden during hot Texas summers! You've never seen a cucumber pecked so clean!
07/27/2011 8:36:25 PM CDT
Elizabeth says ...
Great post!! I loved reading all of the ways to include cucmbers into our diet. Love the raw recipes, printed them out and look forward to preparing them. Thanks for sharing. Peace & Raw Health, Elizabeth
07/28/2011 6:51:47 PM CDT
Vivienne says ...
Does anyone have a recipe for a sour cream cucumber salad? Thanks
08/03/2011 3:19:43 AM CDT