Cucumbers are everywhere! Whether you are at the Farmers Market or in your own backyard garden, you can get some super fresh cucumbers and make some delicious dishes with them. Like a summer tomato, there is nothing like homegrown cucumbers. They are so flavorful, I can eat them sliced with a pinch of sea salt.
Cucumbers have a high water content, thus are helpful when it comes to hydrating your body—this is especially important during these next few hot months of summer. While we enjoy cucumbers mostly as a savory food, they are actually a fruit. The health benefits of cucumbers are plentiful! They are low in calories and fat. Cucumbers are also high in Vitamin K, which helps with blood clotting and bone health. Health experts say cucumbers have a good amount of fiber and potassium, and may even help regulate the release of insulin in your body, which is particularly helpful if you have diabetes.
Here are some of my favorite recipes to use up those cukes!
3 cups white vinegar
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon celery seeds
2 jalapenos, sliced
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 cup fresh dill
2 cloves garlic, peeled
3 to 4 cucumbers, sliced or cut into spears
In a saucepan, combine vinegar, sugar and salt. Bring to a boil then simmer until sugar has melted. Divide the cucumbers into jars. Divide mustard seeds, celery seeds, jalapenos, turmeric, dill and garlic into jars. Pour hot brine over all. Let cool to room temperature and then cover and refrigerate until very cold.
This simple side dish is as refreshing as it is delicious. I love pairing it with Asian dishes.
Cucumber and Cilantro Salad
1 cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
1/2 cup rice vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar or honey
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
In a bowl, toss together cucumber slices and cilantro leaves. In a bowl, combine rice vinegar, salt, sugar and crushed red pepper flakes, stirring until salt and sugar melt. Pour vinegar mixture over cucumber and cilantro mixture. Cover and refrigerate for an hour or so. Stir before serving.
If you grew up in the south, you probably ate cucumber sandwiches. I remember eating them at a cute little restaurant in Birmingham, Alabama that specialized in serving tea and little tea sandwiches and sweets. The key to making these delicious sandwiches is to slice the cucumber paper-thin — if you have a mandolin, this is the time to use it. Of course, use thin white bread and fresh herbs. I like to use English cucumbers because their skin is thin (you can also peel them) and they don’t have seeds.
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 teaspoons fresh dill, minced
2 teaspoons fresh chives, minced
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Pinch of salt and pepper
1 English cucumber, thinly sliced
12 slices thin white bread, crusts removed
Using a hand-held mixer, combine cream cheese and mayonnaise until smooth. Stir in dill, chives, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Spread the mixture on half of the pieces of bread. Top with thinly sliced cucumbers, overlapping until desired thickness. Top with bread slices and cut into smaller squares.
3 cucumbers, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup mint leaves
2 limes, juiced
16 ounces club soda
2 tablespoons honey
In a blender, puree cucumbers and water. Pour into a fine sieve and press to “juice” cucumbers. In a pitcher, combine the cucumber juice, lime juice, honey and club soda.
Cucumber Salad with Sour Cream and Dill
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons fresh dill, minced
Pinch of salt and pepper
4 to 6 small cucumbers, peeled and sliced
Stir together sour cream, lemon juice, dill, salt and pepper. Pour over cucumber slices and stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.