Week 4: Cool as a Cucumber
Summer is officially here! The weather is heating up and we are starting to harvest the first jalapenos and potatoes of summer. There is an abundance of beets, carrots, and cucumbers so take home as much as you can use! The first 'TAKE A CRATE' moment is upon us for cucumbers, it's kind-of a big dill. It is only fitting that we highlight this cool veg on the vine. Read on and enjoy our Week 4 post, Cool as a Cucumber.
What does "cool as a cucumber" even mean? We have all said it in conversations referring to someones cool and relaxed demeanor, but how does that possibly relate to a vegetable? Well, cucumbers contain more than 90% water. And even at room temperature, all of that moisture makes them feel cool to the touch and extremely refreshing summer treat.
Cucumbers are usually categorized for slicing or pickling. You'll find a variety of cucumbers to try at Moutoux this summer including the common green slicers, white slicers, lemons, and Kirby's. White slicers have an excellent flavor and smooth skin. Lemons have a mild taste and thin skin. Kirby's are the best for pickling because they are very crisp and have a smaller seed cavity. However, all cucumbers can be pickled and Kirby's can be used in any recipe calling for cucumbers.
Most commonly, cucumbers are eaten raw. They are sliced for salads and sandwiches, pureed into a cold soup, or pickled/fermented. Cucumbers pair well with tangy dairy products such as yogurt, sour cream or buttermilk.
Cucumbers are mostly water and contain small amounts of vitamins A, C, and a few minerals. Although not the most nutritious of the garden vegetables, cucumbers are rich in vitamin E. These vegetables are also the perfect post-workout snack. One cuke boasts more than a cup of water, plus as much fluid-balancing potassium as a banana for optimal hydration.
Cucumbers are also an effective skin conditioner. Try rubbing an end slice or peel on your face and experience the refreshing benefits.
Whether or not to peel your cucumbers is up to you. Moutoux cucumbers come right from the fields, they do not get an 'edible wax coating' for preservation.
ROSEMARY-INFUSED CUCUMBER LEMONADE
3 large cucumbers
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary, plus extra sprigs for garnish
1 cup water
1/2 cup lemon juice
3 tablespoons agave syrup
Cut 12 think slices of cucumber for garnish
Peel and chop the rest of the cucumber; transfer to a food processor, add rosemary and puree. Pour the puree through a fine-mesh strainer set over a medium bowl or large measuring cup. Press on the solids to extract all the juice; discard solids. Add water, lemon juice and agave syrup to the cucumber juice; stir until the agave is dissolved. Divide among 4 ice-filled glasses. Garnish with cucumber slices and rosemary sprigs.
Note: Serves 4. Recipe courtesy of Eating Well Vegetables The Essential Reference.
CUCUMBER NOODLE SALAD
For the vinaigrette:
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1.5 tsp fresh oregano
salt and pepper
1 tsp honey
For the salad:
1 cucumber, spiralized or diced
2 cups kale, finely chopped
2-3 green onions
1/4 cup feta cheese
Make vinaigrette by whisking all ingredients together in a bowl.
Prepare the salad. Add all ingredients to a bowl and toss with vinaigrette.
Notes: Can use cucumber or zucchini or combination of both. Recipe adapted from Inspiralized by A. Maffucci.
PICKLED TAHINI SAUCE
1/2 cup tahini
3 cloves garlic or 6 scapes
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp pickle brine (or more to taste) used from any pickle recipe
1 Tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley or cilantro
Make tahini sauce by placing all ingredients into blender, pulse to combine.
Notes: Makes an excellent sauce roasted veggies and/or meats. Recipe courtesy of Batch by J. MacCharles and D. Harrison.
The Moutoux herb garden is open access, pick and cut your own herbs each week!
Please return empty crates to the barn when done.