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It's Cucumber Time
It's summer and fresh produce time. One of the earlier fresh veggies out of the garden is cucumbers.
Many people think (perhaps because they're white inside and not too strong tasting) that cucumbers are low in nutrition. Not the case! While very low in calories, fresh ones contain various compounds thought to reduce the risk of cancer. And a diet rich in veggies and fruits, and that includes cucumbers, helps promote a healthier heart and lower blood pressure. See nutritional information at 5-A-Day.
Where did cucumbers come from? Read a short history on B's Cucumber Pages; a Brief History. You'll be surprised.
Almost everyone knows how to make cucumber salad. The usual kind in the USA is a cross between a fresh pickle and a salad. Just in case you don't know how that's done, our friend Burt Coppage of Miami has given me a recipe to print.
I've eaten many variations of cucumber salad over the years, and with a little thought and research have come up with the following. I'm not sure which is my favorite; I think it's the first, jazzed up with added black pepper, left overnight in the refrigerator and eaten for lunch the next day in a bread and butter sandwich, with a tasty soup of some kind.
Cucumber and Onion Salad
In case that isn't enough on cucumbers, you won't believe what else can be done with them. Hope you have a garden with a bumper crop when you take a look at B's Cucumber Pages by Barbara Ann Cohen. She has a collection of recipes for soup, salad, dressing, sandwiches, drinks (yes, drinks!), appetizers, side dishes and hot main dishes, all featuring the lowly cuke. She's gone around the globe and back to find these!
My kids learned to like cucumbers when I put out plates of relish for them to snack on, all miniature size, including peanut-butter stuffed celery, thin carrot strips or curls soaked in icy salt water, rolled-up lettuce leaves dipped in mayonnaise, julienned green or red pepper strips, halved cherry tomatoes, cauliflower florets dipped in Cheez Whiz, and skinny strips of de-seeded cucumber, lightly salted. Give it a try on hot summer days instead of a regular lunch.