This week at Eats! we served quick pickles, which is a simple recipe to follow. But before we get to the recipes, here are some quick facts.
Cucumbers are summer vegetables that are available in the Northeast from June to August. Usually people think cucumbers are long and green, but some come in a variety of forms, like lemon cucumbers (which are yellow and round-yet they taste the same as green cukes). Cucumbers are thought to have been originally cultivated in India.
Storage: Cucumbers need to be stored in the refrigerator in order to retain their moisture. They will keep well for up to 10 days in the refrigerator drawer if they are kept whole. Once they have been cut, cucumbers will deteriorate quickly.
Preparation: Wash to remove any dirt, then you can either peel or leave the skin on. If the skin is tough but you don’t want to peel it, try running a fork over the skin. This will break the skin and soften the texture. Cucumbers are delicious when eaten raw in salads, made into a chilled soup/dip, or blended/pureed or grated into a chilled vegetable soup stock. Don’t enjoy the texture of the seeds? Slice the cucumber in half lengthwise and scoop them out.
Nutritional Information: Excellent source of vitamin K and good source of Vitamin C.
Quick Pickles: (courtesy of Next Barn Over) 1/2 cup white vinegar (or red wine or cider vinegar), 2 tsp sugar (or honey or maple syrup), 1 tsp mustard seed, 1 tsp salt, 1 clove garlic-minced, 2 Tbsp fresh dill, chopped, 1 bay leaf, 4 cucumbers (cut into 1-inch slices)
Heat vinegar, sugar, mustard seed, salt, and garlic in a saucepan until it begins to simmer and sugar dissolves. Toss the dill, bay leaf, and sliced cucumbers together in a heat-proof bowl. Pour the simmering liquid over the cucumbers and stir to evenly coat. Refrigerate at least 24 hours before serving.
Chilled Cucumber Soup (serves 3-4): 1 cup plain yogurt, 2 tbsp lemon juice, 3 scallions or garlic tops thinly sliced, 1 tbsp fresh minced dill, 1/2 cup cold water, salt and pepper to taste, 3 medium cucumbers (washed and peeled if you prefer)
Slice 2 cucumbers and then put them in a blender with the yogurt and lemon juice. Blend until smooth Pour the mixture into a bowl and add scallions, dill, water, and season to taste. Grate the remaining cucumbers and add it to the soup. Chill at least 1 hour before serving. Makes 3 or 4 servings.