1 Food 5 Ways

Cucumbers

Fresh ideas for a surprisingly versatile vegetable
Cucumbers

Here’s a fun fact: thanks to its high water content, the inside of a cucumber can be up to 20 degrees cooler than the temperature outside in a hot summer garden. In fact, we’ve found that this crisp, juicy veggie can stand up to just about any type of heat you toss its way, from spicy-hot chiles and ginger-laced dressings to intense blender speeds and broiler oven settings.

Nutritional Profile
1/2 cup unpeeled sliced cucumber contains the following:

8 calories
50 g water
5 g sugar
1.5 mg vitamin C
4 mcg folate

Know Your Cukes
Cucumber varieties are interchangeable in recipes, though certain types lend themselves better to certain dishes.

GARDEN, COMMON, OR FIELD-GROWN The familiar, year-round salad staple with a sweet, slightly citrusy flavor.

ENGLISH, HOTHOUSE, OR BURPLESS Longer, smoother, and greener than garden cucumbers; some chefs prefer these for their thin skin, small seeds, and mild flavor.

JAPANESE Long and bumpy, with a thin skin and delicate flavor.

KIRBY Shorty and bumpy; ideal for pickling.

LEMON Round, yellow heirloom variety that’s gorgeous in salads and pickles.

PERSIAN Small, slender, and thin-skinned, with sweet flesh and small seeds.

September 2011 p.70

get the recipes

Blueberry-Cucumber Smoothie

Blueberry-Cucumber Smoothie

Blended cucumbers thicken a lightly sweet smoothie for a low-cal breakfast or a refreshing afternoon snack.

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Panang Cucumber Curry

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With a little heat and a spicy curry paste, cucumbers star in a hearty Indonesian dish. Serve in bowls with steamed basmati rice.

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Tofu and Cucumber Salad with Sesame-Ginger Dressing

Tofu and Cucumber Salad with Sesame-Ginger Dressing

Furikake, a Japanese rice seasoning, adds subtle taste and texture to this salad. To make your own furikake, crumble 1 sheet of nori (toasted seaweed used to wrap sushi) and toss with 2 tsp. toasted sesame seeds and 1/4 tsp. sea salt.

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Persian Pico de Gallo

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The best way to describe this recipe is a reinterpretation of Mexican salsa using Middle Eastern flavors. Serve with pita chips, or use as a condiment with falafel.

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Cucumber Gratin

Cucumber Gratin

This dish takes its inspiration from Julia Child’s recipe for baked cucumbers in Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

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comments

I made the Persian Pico de Gallo last year when the recipe was featured in VT. It was delicious, and satisfied my insatiable appetite for Middle Eastern cuisine.

Claire Caines - 2013-05-30 20:43:53