How to use up cucumbers

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Just last week, I thought I had too many cucumbers. Now I’m afraid I don’t have enough. What’s happened in between has been this:

Cucumber Yogurt Cooler
(makes 16 ounces)

1 very large or two small slicing cucumbers, refrigerated, peeled, and cut in chunks
½ cup plain yogurt (I use goat yogurt, but use what you like)
1 clove garlic
¼ teaspoon fish sauce
½ teaspoon maple syrup or honey
salt and pepper to taste

Throw everything in the blender and puree until smooth.

Usually, a cucumber-yogurt concoction like this is labeled a soup. But I think, as a soup, it’s unsatisfying. One spoonful at a time, there’s just not enough substance. As a drink, though, it’s terrific.

It’s cold, it’s creamy, and it takes 2 minutes to make. It’s about 100 calories, and it’s genuinely healthful. Drink the whole 16 ounces, and then see if you don’t plant more cucumbers next year.

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Comments

  1. Tamar, this sounds great. Do you ever give your chickens cucumbers? My chickens love them so I always plant extras.
    And, if you ever see Kate from living the frugal life please tell her I sure miss her posts.

  2. That sounds delicious! I currently have 10 cucumber plants with a ridiculous number of tiny cucumbers on – obviously enjoying the chicken muck from over the winter. If they manage to get to a decent picking size before the cold weather comes in I’ll definitely be trying this out!

    Philippa

  3. If you want a nice lethal way of addressing cucumbers: http://www.thekitchn.com/summer-cocktail-the-cuke-51157

  4. Jeannie — I only give my chickens cucumbers if they’re soft or in some other way unfit for human consumption. It’s difficult for me to give my livestock food that people can eat, although I do end up doing it. Just today, when Blondie was begging for a bite of my peach …

    And I miss Kate’s posts too. If I see her (and I hope I will), I will pass on your greeting.

    Philippa — Ah, the things chicken much produces! Good luck!

    Magpie — Now that sounds delicious. I’m drinking a gin-and-tonic as I read it, and am now looking at it askance. I think we’ll give that a try tomorrow.

  5. Tamar, I love cucumbers.

    I recall going on holiday to the West Country in UK (Somerset, Devon and Cornwall) as a kid (I was living in Germany at the time so my English wasn’t that good) when there were still loads of tiny market gardens advertising their produce by the roadside (the big supermarkets and EU regulations have killed all that off) when my father stopped the car, gave me a few shillings and told me to nip ‘ver the road there’ and buy some lettuce and tomatoes for our sandwiches. The old guy attending must have been deaf because after silently serving me with the salad, he then shouted, ‘Duz e yung Maaaster wun zum Kukumba? Ois got noice Kukumba!’ I hadn’t a clue what he was saying and was terrified so I said yes. OH! Cucumber! I realised when he bunged half a dozen into another brown paper bag (remember them?). They were delicious and for the next few miles father and son drove on alternately singing the tune to the Dam Busters and munching fresh, really fresh cucumber. And I adore the stuff ever since. My Dad died young and I miss him terribly but just the smell of cucumber brings back very fond memories. I eat it as is, I bung it in salads, I even fry it in curry paste and mix in fried plantain.

    You probably know this one already but this is one of my favourite ways to eat cucumber and, as a side salad, goes with any dish, be it steak and chips or a ring stinging curry.

    Slice the cucumber up real thin and lay out in a bowl sprinkling each layer with a bit of salt, then stick it in a cool place for an hour. The salt draws out the liquid. Pour off all the liquid and then sprinkle loads of freshly chopped Dill tips on and mix in some cream. give it a stir, let it rest a bit and then serve. I can eat that by the bucketful! If you are worried about salt (and after two heart attacks I have to be) then give the Cucumber a very quick rinse in clean water but you do need some salt for flavour. It will work with dried dill tips, just leave it to rest a bit longer so the flavour infuses the cream. The same technique works especially well with grated Kohlrabi and also, believe it or not, diced fresh pineapple! Produce is very seasonal in Africa so sometimes we have to be a bit creative!

    All our yoghurt is home made and tastes miles better than the processed stuff in plastic tubs and the idea of mixing in cucumber appeals.

    Having just planted loads of cucumber (and water melon, the kids and I love them too), I can’t wait to try your recipe.

    • Tom, that’s a wonderful story. Although my UK experience is limited to one London visit decades ago, supplemented by tons of BBC, I can just see the guy with his cukes. (The set is from All Creatures Great and Small …)

      I like the sour cream recipe and, although it kills me to buy herbs and I don’t have dill, I will go and get some in your honor.

  6. Fish sauce?! What an interesting ingredient twist! I can’t wait to try this. It may become my new morning bev.

  7. What a neat idea! Unfortunately my husband cannot eat them. Not worth it to plant or buy just for me; although once in awhile we are forcibly given some. Now I know what to do with them. Please clarify FISH SAUCE??????

  8. Beth and Myrna — Here’s the thing with the fish sauce. It’s only a little bit, so what you get is some salt and some of that indescribable enigmatic flavor. It’s like when you put anchovy paste in tomato sauce. It doesn’t taste like fish, and everyone says, “Hey, this is really good, what’s that flavor …”

    I know it sounds weird. Trust me and try it. What’s the worst-case-scenario? You hate it, you throw it out, and you get to call me names.

    Trust me. Try it.

    • This might hurt your case more than help, but I back you up on this 100%. Sometimes it still grosses me out while I’m using it, but as soon as you taste it incorporated in a dish, you’ll be a believer! Caesar dressing with anchovy paste is my favorite thing in the world. Yes, in the world.

      I made this ‘Cooler’ this afternoon for lunch and loved it! I added a third cucumber so it was more like a soup, also I used Greek yogurt. Sure it doesn’t matter. And Tamar, if you go out fishing, and end up lost on Lake Erie, let me know. Stop by for some dill. I have enough dill pickles to last through the most epic of baby booms and am sick of using it.

    • Hoosier Girl says:

      I trust you. Fermented fish sauce is one of the classic contributors of umami.