It’s been a few weeks now, since my husband stepped outside to our verdant, twining cucumber vine, covered with sunshiny yellow petals and a healthy dose of meandering bees, and proclaimed that it wouldn’t be long till we were in Cucumber Heaven.
By that, he meant that we’d soon be reaching the height of our cucumber harvest, picking five, six cucumbers a day for days on end, seeing them stack up in our fridge’s crisper, and having to get a little creative with how to enjoy their cool refreshing crunch night after night on our dinner table.
In years past, we’ve pickled the cukes we couldn’t eat. But as our kids get bigger and hungrier, sometimes downing three simply sliced cucumbers in one sitting, even Cucumber Heaven doesn’t leave enough extras for making relish.
But we can still relish all of our favorite cucumber dishes. Salads, for sure. The combination of cucumber and tomato, with say, a little red onion, vinegar and just a pinch of sugar, is always a winner. Or stir your cukes and toms with a squirt of lemon, a smattering of feta and a sprinkling of mint for a Mediterranean-inspired take. Add grains, like quinoa, for protein to turn your salad into a one-dish meal. Or reach for your ginger and peanuts to give your salad an Asian twist.
But it’s not only in salads where cucumbers shine. This time of year, we can’t wait to get our hands on a bowl of Chilled Cucumber Avocado Soup. You will not believe how filling and flavorful this soup is. And don’t forget tzatziki, that amazing, cucumber-infused yogurt sauce that takes your falafel or lamb to a new level altogether. Or shake up your salsa routine with a tasty cucumber-peach twist.
No, cucumbers are not as versatile as zucchini or tomatoes, not as ubiquitous as onion or potatoes. But every year, my family looks forward to the weeks when the vines are heavy, when the cucumber-eating possibilities are limited only by our imaginations, when crisp and cool will be the focus of our summer meal. You know … Cucumber Heaven.
What are some of your favorite cucumber dishes? What combinations have I missed?