Cucumbers

Making cucumbers interesting; It’s all about finding the right angle. By Pedro & Noemie

 

June 14th is world cucumber day. Not sure how we’re meant to celebrate that one. I’ll add a slice to my G & T, toast the tenacious tube and leave y’all to your own celebration interpretation.  

If you’ve gone a little overboard celebrating cucumbers, don’t worry. The cause can be the solution in this case. They contain enough sugar, B vitamins and electrolytes to replenish essential nutrients the body looses to libation, keeping everything in balance. Eat a couple slices before bed and wake up headache-free. (As yet untested, please hold. Better yet - if some brave soul can test the theory and let me know...)

Cucumbers contain a little bit of everything in small doses; Vitamin B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, Folic Acid, Vitamin C, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium and Zinc. That’s quite the list, but the only nutrient of high value is Vitamin k at 16% of daily intake per serve. Cucumber consists of 95% water. If you’re struggling to get your 8 glasses of water a day, crunch your way to hydration.  

In botanical terms, the cucumber is classified as a pepo, a type of botanical berry with a hard outer rind and no internal divisions. However, much like tomatoes, it is perceived and prepared as a vegetable. If you put cucumber in my fruit salad I will not be impressed, no matter how technically correct you are.  

Wild cucumber is a term used in North America and refers to different genus of gourds, not the cucumbers we are familiar with. They are an interesting looking bunch, Echinocystis, Marah and Armenian cucumber are all wildly different and worth a look.  

In England, the term ‘pickled Wally’ is the slang for pickled cucumber. I love this! The term came from the London slang for olive, which was Wally. Pickled olives and cucumbers were a traditional Eastern European dish that made its way to England in the 19th century. The name switched over and now I have a new name for the pickles in my fridge.

“Cool as a cucumber” has nothing to do with the big shady leaves’ cucumber vines grow to protect the fruit. Cucumber actually cools the temperature of the blood. Also, when applied topically, cucumber has the same effect to ease facial swelling, which is why cucumbers are so popular in facial regimens.  

A healthier stress reliever than the gin can come from the cucumber too. Cut a cucumber lengthways and add to a boiling pot of water. The chemicals and nutrients from the cucumber will react with the boiling water and be released in the steam, creating a soothing, relaxing aroma. Again, this is untested. I can speak to the G & T’s magical stress relieving abilities though. 

If you’re worried someone might catch a wiff of that G&T you had to celebrate your new favourite holiday, world cucumber day (June 14th, don’t you forget) Cucumber has got your back, yet again. A slice of cucumber pressed to the roof of your mouth for 30 seconds will kill bacteria and freshen your breath.  

Not convinced cucumbers are the vege for every job? Cucumber slices can be rubbed on noisy hinges to lubricate them. See? I’m no longer worried about AI taking my job. It’s cucumber that has me worried. Cucumbers are coming for my job, my life. If it can do all this, who’s to say what else it is capable of? I'm feeling very insecure. The next instalment of this newsletter might just be penned by a pickled Wallie.   

 

Storage 

Wash cucumbers of any dirt and dry them thoroughly. Place cucumbers in the warmest spot in your fridge to avoid chill damage. This is usually near the front of your fridge or in the door.  

 

Preserve 

Noemies quick cucumber pickle: In a bowl or container: 1/2 cup white vinegar 1 teaspoon sugar 1/2 teaspoon salt mix together to dissolve, then add 1 tablespoon finely chopped dill, 1/2 cucumber, thinly sliced leave in brine for 1 hour and refrigerate. 

There's encyclopaedic knowledge online for cucumber pickles, it's what they're best for! Many species specific for different methods. I won't try scratch the surface here!  

 

Recipes 

  • green quinoa tabouleh, with cucumber, snow peas, lemon dressing and mucho herbs  
  • potato salad with mesclun, mustard dressing and pickled cucumber  
  • Crunchy and spicy cucumber salad https://familystylefood.com/indian-cucumber-salad-recipe-peanuts/#wprm-recipe-container-14233 
  • Slovak cucumber in sour cream  
  • Tzatziki (Greek cucumber yoghurt dressing 
  • Таратор is a traditional Bulgarian cold cucumber soup made with yogurt, dill, and garlic. 
  • Shopska salad (spelled “Шопска салата” in Macedonian)