Someone recently posted a picture online, showing cucumbers growing in their home garden. Most people grow tomatoes -- mostly because the ones in the stores are practically tasteless -- but not a lot of people plant cukes.
My dad and grandfather always had gardens and they included lemon cucumbers, which they peeled with pocket knives and ate while tending to those gardens. I think they had a salt shaker, too.
This time of year is perfect for enjoying crisp cucumber salads, so here are a few suggestions for preparing them. It is your choice whether or not to peel them. My preference is to peel.
Hope your summer is good so far.
- 6 medium cucumbers, thinly sliced
- 1 medium onion, sliced
- 1 cup vinegar (I would suggest cider or white)
- 1/4 to 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup olive oil (or your favorite vegetable oil)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder or granules
- 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon-pepper seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard (dry)
- In a bowl, combine cucumbers and onion.
- In a jar with tight-fitting lid, combine remaining ingredients; shake well.
- Pour over cucumber mixture and stir to coat well. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours. Serve when thoroughly chilled. Makes about 12 servings.
Cucumber sour cream salad
- 2 cucumbers, very thinly sliced
- 1 small red onion, very thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons vinegar or equal amount lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons low-fat sour cream or equal amount plain yogurt
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill
- In a bowl, mix cucumbers and onion together.
- Combine remaining ingredients together in a jar with tight-fitting lid; shake to mix well.
- Mix with cucumbers and onion and chill several hours before serving. Makes 6 to 8 servings.
Japanese cucumber salad
- 2 medium cucumbers or 1 large English cucumber (sometimes sold by other names)
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
- Peel cucumbers to leave alternating green stripes. Slice the cucumbers in half lengthwise; scrape the seeds out with a spoon. Using a food processor or sharp knife, cut into very thin slices. Place in a double layer of paper towel and squeeze gently to remove any excess moisture.
- Combine vinegar, sugar and salt in a medium bowl, stirring to dissolve. Add the cucumbers and sesame seeds; toss well to combine. Serve immediately. Makes about 4 cups.
Black bean, avocado, cucumber and tomato salad
You could add some corn kernels to this recipe if you wish, and perhaps some diced red bell pepper.
- 1 cucumber, peeled and diced
- 2 medium ripe tomatoes, diced
- 2 Haas avocados, diced
- 1 can (15.5-oz.) black beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 tablespoons red onion, minced
- 2 tablespoons cilantro, minced
- Juice of 2 limes
- Salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
- In a large bowl, combine all ingredients, mixing well.
- Cover and chill thoroughly before serving. Makes about 5 cups.
Shrimp and cucumber salad, Cajun style
- 8 ounces (about 20 shrimp) large, uncooked peeled shrimp
- 1 teaspoon Cajun (or Creole) seasoning (such as Tony Chachere's), divided
- 1 tablespoon freshly-squeezed lemon juice (or white or white wine vinegar)
- 1 whole English cucumber, sliced thinly
- 2 tablespoons white (or red) wine vinegar
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided (optional)
- 1/4 cup prepared pico de gallo (fresh salsa)
- Salt and freshly-ground pepper, to taste
- Preheat broiler. Place shrimp on a small rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon Cajun seasoning, 1 tablespoon lemon juice (or vinegar), 1 tablespoon oil (if using) and a pinch or two of salt and pepper. Broil for 3 to 5 minutes until shrimp are completely opaque and pink.
- Meanwhile, place cucumber slices in a bowl and toss with remaining 1/2 teaspoon Cajun seasoning, 2 tablespoons vinegar, 2 tablespoons olive oil (if using), and salt and pepper to taste. Divide cucumbers between two bowls, top each with half of the shrimp and a couple spoonfuls of pico de gallo. Makes 2 servings.