For Immediate Release
August 27, 2012
Cool Summertime Recipes for Cucumbers
Plenty of Pennsylvania “Simply Delicious” cucumbers are now available at roadside farm markets, community farmer’s markets and local supermarkets. Pennsylvania growers produce over 600 acres of cucumbers each year. Cucumbers are the basis for many cool and refreshing salads but can also be pickled or cooked various ways.
Cucumbers grow on vines like their cousins: cantaloupes, watermelons, squash, and pumpkins. According to the Wellness Encyclopedia fo Food and Nutrition (University of California at Berkeley), cucumbers originated in Asia and were brought to America by Columbus where both colonists and native Americans began growing them.
There are many different varieties of cucumbers, but the more commonly available kinds are greenhouse or seedless cucumbers which can be as long as 1 to 2 feet , dark green slicing cucumbers which are about 8 inches long, and lighter green pickling cucumbers. Some pickling varieties will get 8 inches long also, but most are smaller or simply harvested at a much smaller size.
Cucumbers are mostly water, which is why they add such a cool and refreshing taste to salads. They are low in calories, but ,unfortunately, are also low in vitamins. They can still add their delicate flavor to nutritious summer salads and other recipes.
Here are some tasty cucumber recipes from the 2012 Pennsylvania Vegetable Recipe Contest. Additional recipes for cucumbers and other vegetables are available at www.paveggies.local.
Asian Cucumber Salad
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons grated ginger root
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons honey
3/4 teaspoon sesame oil
1 gourmet seedless cucumber, thinly sliced, not pared
4 green onions, thinly sliced
6 red radishes, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons sesame seeds, toasted
8 ounces lump crabmeat or cooked and peeled shrimp, optional
Make dressing by combining the rice vinegar, ginger root, salt, pepper, honey, and sesame oil. Add the cucumber, green onions and radishes. Toss ingredients and allow to stand in refrigerator 10 minutes for flavors to blend. Divide salad among bowls and garnish each with toasted sesame seeds. NOTE: If using crab or shrimp, it should be added to salad just before serving.
Submitted by Frances Dietz, York. First-Place Prize, Melon/Cucumber Category
6 to 8 lettuce leaves
1 cup spinach leaves
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, cut small
2 cups diced cucumbers
1 red pepper, diced
1 yellow pepper, diced
2 tomatoes, diced
1 small onion, diced
1/2 cup black olives
Line salad bowl with whole lettuce leaves. Tear the spinach and parsley into bite-sized pieces and place in a bowl. Finally mix and add all the other ingredients. Add on top:
2 avocados, cut in cubes
2 cups toasted whole wheat bread crumbs
Submitted Elen Wennell, Mechanicsburg.
Cucumbers in Dill Sour Cream Sauce
2 large cucumbers, peeled and thinly sliced
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced (optional)
1 cup sour cream
1/4 to 1/3 cup white vinegar
4 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
4 packs sweetner (more or less to taste)
salt and pepper if desired
Place sliced cucumbers and onions in a bowl. Mix sour cream, vinegar and dill and sweetner together into a sauce. Pour on top of cucumbers and onions. Chill. Serve with salt and pepper if desired.
Submitted by Susan Sell, Harrisburg.
Quick buying tips for Fresh Pennsylvania Cucumbers
The Pennsylvania Vegetable Marketing and Research Program offers these tips when buying cucumbers:
- Select slicing cucumbers with a rich green color. Pickling cucumbers typically have light green skins. Cucumbers should be uniformly shaped, not pointed or misshappen.
- Cucumbers should be refrigerated. Uncut, they will keep for a week or more, especially if waxed.
- Cut cucumbers should be wrapped tighly in plastic wrap and used in a day or two.