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This week’s Vegetable Box Feature: English Cucumber, also known as the European cucumber, hothouse cucumber, or seedless cucumber.


Did you know?

  • Cucumbers are members of the melon family. This means cucumbers are actually a fruit instead of a vegetable.
  • The flavor of an English cucumber is sweeter than the standard cucumber, and it doesn’t need to be peeled or seeded before eating!
  • There are about fifty different kinds of cucumbers.
  • Cucumbers contain Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5 and B6, folic acid, Vitamin C, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and zinc. WOW!
  • They are made up of 95% water! So, if you have a hard time drinking your eight glasses of water per day, try munching on some cucumbers.
  • Cucumbers can be used to freshen up your breath! Take a slice and press it to the roof of your mouth with your tongue for 30 seconds to eliminate bad breath. The phytochemicals will kill the bacteria that are responsible for causing bad breath.
  • Studies have shown that their aroma helps people relax. Cut up an entire cucumber and place it in 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.


Fun Fact

  • The term “cool as a cucumber” is actually derived from the cucumber’s ability to cool the temperature of the blood. Also, when applied topically, cucumber really does cool the blood and ease facial swelling, which is why cucumbers are so popular in facial regimens.

Where to Store it?
It might seem strange that the English cucumber is sold in plastic wrap, but it’s necessary because of its very delicate skin. Store your cucumber in the produce drawer in your refrigerator with the plastic wrap on. It stays good for about 1 week refrigerated in the plastic wrap.

Preparation
Wash your cucumbers before using, but the benefit of using English cucumbers, no need to peel or seed them. After washing they can be sliced or chopped and add to recipes or enjoyed on their own.

How to Use:
English Cucumbers are to be eaten raw with the peel on. You can eat them in salad, on sandwiches, or by themselves. They are also great for juicing. You don’t want to cook them because they become too mushy!

Recipes:


English Cucumber Salad
Created by:  Sonja and Alex

Here’s an ultra refreshing side dish: perfect for Spring/Summer BBQs and picnics!


Ingredients:

  • 2 medium shallots
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill (or 3 tablespoons chopped fresh)
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 large English cucumbers


Instructions:
1. Thinly slice the shallots (separate them into rings with your fingers). In a small container, stir together the shallots with the sour cream, white vinegar, dried dill, grated garlic clove, kosher salt, and black pepper. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.

  1. Meanwhile, thinly slice cucumbers and place them in a colander (English cucumbers don’t need to be peeled). Toss the slices with several larger pinches of kosher salt and rest 45 minutes. Remove them from the colander and pat them dry.
  2. When ready to serve, gently stir together the cucumbers and dressing (don’t stir too vigorously or it will cause bubbles). Serve immediately or refrigerate up to 2 hours; it gets watery if you refrigerate for too long with the sauce. If you’d like to prepare it in advance, refrigerate the components separately until serving.

 

Cucumber Juice
Created by:
Sonja & Alex

This cooling cucumber juice recipe is easy to whip up in a blender: no juicer needed! It’s a great way to use this hydrating vegetable.A great afternoon energy boost!

Ingredients:

  • 1 large English cucumber
  • 1 green apple
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 pinch salt
  • ½ TBSP lemon or lime juice (optional)

Instructions:
1. Roughly chop the cucumber. Chop the apple, keeping the skin on.
2. Place the cucumber, apple, water, and salt in a blender. Blend on high until pureed and a juice form.
3. Pass the juice through a fine mesh sieve or a nut milk bag to strain out the pulp. Discard the pulp. Stir in the fresh lemon or lime juice (add more if desired). Drink immediately over ice, or chill before drinking.

 

Cucumber Salsa
Created by: 
Sonja & Alex

This cucumber salsa is cool and zesty, pairing this crunchy veggie with jalapeño, cilantro and lime. Ideal for chips, tacos, and more!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups finely diced English cucumber
  • ½ cup minced red bell pepper
  • ¼ cup minced red onion (about 1/4 large onion)
  • 1 to 2 jalapeño peppers, seeds removed (depending on your spice tolerance)*
  • ¼ cup finely chopped cilantro
  • ¼ tsp cumin
  • 2 TBSP lime juice
  • ½ tsp kosher salt

Instructions:
1.  Chop the English cucumber, bell pepper, red onion, jalapeño peppers, and cilantro as noted above.
2. Place the vegetables in a medium bowl and mix with the cumin, lime juice, and kosher salt. Taste and adjust flavors as desired. Serve immediately with chips, tacos or grilled fish. Stores refrigerated for up to 4 days.

 


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