For Immediate Release
“Simply Delicious” Recipes for Cucumbers
August 7, 2008
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 of 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 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 2008 Pennsylvania Vegetable Recipe Contest:
Stuffed Cucumber Slices
3 – 4 Cucumbers
8 oz. Cream Cheese – softened
1 T. Mayonnaise
2 T. Onion – grated
2 T. Dry Italian Salad Dressing Mix
1/4 tsp. Garlic Powder
1/4 c. Parmesan Cheese
1 c. Bacon – fried, finely chopped
Cut ends off of cucumbers. Cut cucumbers in half. Core out the centers. Stand cucumbers on paper towels to drain for 20 minutes. Cut cucumbers into 1/2-inch slices. Combine cream cheese, mayonnaise, onion, Italian salad dressing mix, garlic powder and Parmesan cheese. Stir in bacon. Fill cucumber slices with cream cheese mixture. Sprinkle with parsley. Refrigerate until serving time.
Finalist recipe submitted by Bonnie Mortimer, Mount Pleasant
Mediterranean Cucumber Salad
1 1/2 c. Red Grapes – seedless
1 1/2 c. Green Grapes – seedless
3 Cucumbers – medium, peeled, seeded and diced
2 cloves Garlic – quartered
1 T. Raspberry Wine Vinegar
1 T. Olive Oil
1 tsp. Salt
6 – 8 Mint Leaves – fresh
1 c. Whole Milk Plain Yogurt
Mint Leaves – fresh (optional garnish)
Combine grapes and cucumbers in large bowl. Cover and chill while preparing dressing. Place garlic, raspberry vinegar, olive oil, salt and mint leaves in a food processor or small blender jar. Combine until smooth. Stir into yogurt. Pour yogurt dressing over grape/cucumber mixture and combine until salad is coated. Serve immediately or refrigerate. To serve, garnish with sprigs of fresh mint, if desired.
Submitted by Bonnie Lee Strunk Brasted, Allentown.
Turkey and Cucumber Wrap
Serves 1 to 2
1 Sandwich Wrap – elongated (Flat Outs)
1/4 c. Mayonnaise – approximately
1/2 c. Cucumbers – sliced thin
2 or 3 T. Red Bell Pepper – very thin slices
1 or 2 T. Onion – very thin slices, separated into rings
1/2 tsp. Dill Weed
Black Pepper – to taste
1/2 c. Spinach Leaves – flat
1 oz. Cooper’s Sharp or Provolone Cheese – sliced, not smoked
1 oz. Smoked Turkey – sliced thin
Place wrap on counter and spread lightly with mayonnaise. Layer, in order, keeping everything 2″ from the narrow edge farthest from you: solid layer of cucumber, scattered red bell pepper, scattered onion slices, dill weed and black-pepper, an almost solid layer of spinach, cheese, turkey, and a thin layer of mayonnaise. Roll wrap very tightly away from you, wrap sandwich in foil or plastic wrap, and chill at least 10 minutes. Cut in halves or quarters diagonally.
Submitted by Frances Dietz, York
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 misshapen.
— Cucumbers should be refrigerated. Uncut, they will keep for a week or more, especially if waxed.
— Cut cucumbers should be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and used in a day or two.