Cucumbers are far more versatile than you might imagine. Their mild, slightly sweet flavor makes them the perfect palate for most any flavor--Asian
, Latin American
, Middle Eastern, you name it!
Here are a few of our favorite ways to use up summer cucumbers while they're still fresh and crunchy. What are yours?Make Pickles. It's not nearly so hard to make pickles as you might imagine since the majority of the work comes if you want to can them for long-term storage. Uncanned pickles are quick to prepare and will keep in the fridge for up to a month. Check out the Pickle Project in our archives for more ideas.
Make Cucumber Juice. In addition to pouring it over ice and drinking it straight, we like to mix cucumber juice into cocktails, smoothies, and other beverages. Cucumber ice cubes also make a pretty garnish for a bowl of summer punch!
Make Soup. Pureed cucumbers, either with the juice strained out or still mixed in, can be an alternative base for gazpacho. We like to add diced tomatoes, fresh corn, and whatever else we have floating around in the fridge. We've also made it mixed with some buttermilk and served with a sprinkle of mint or dill.
Make Salsas and Sauces. Chopped cucumber mixed with tomatoes, corn, and hot peppers makes an excellent salsa over fish tacos, enchiladas verde, and other spicy Mexican food. You can also make raita or tzatziki by mixing diced or shredded cucumber with yogurt and other spices. This makes a delightfully cool sauce for sandwiches, wraps, and curries.
Make a Stir Fry. We can't remember where we first heard about cooking cucumbers in stir fries, but we're glad we did! When heated, cucumbers have a silky smooth mouthfeel, but still keep a hint of their former crunchiness. This gives a nice texture to any stir fry.
How else do you like to eat cucumbers?
Related: Learning to Love Eggplant: How to Pick 'Em, Cook 'Em, and Eat 'Em
(Image: Flickr member smcgee licensed under Creative Commons)