Get The Most Out of Your Cucumbers from Backyard Eats
When It’s Ready
- When the individual cucumbers grow anywhere from 6-12 inches long and about 1-3 inches in diameter
- It’s never too early to harvest a cucumber
When It’s Too Late
- As cucumbers grow past the point of maturity, their seeds grow into an expanding seed cavity, making them less useful in the kitchen
- You can still use them at this stage though, just slice lengthwise and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds
- Cucumbers that have grown so large that the skin is pale and the walls give easily when pushed are usually not so tasty
- Gently pull cucumbers from their vines by hand, or use scissors
- Be careful not to break the vines
Cucumber is a vegetable that is known for its crisp texture and refreshing taste. It has a mild, slightly sweet flavor, and is often used as a cooling ingredient in salads and other dishes. Cucumber is typically used as a salad ingredient, and can be eaten raw or pickled. It can be sliced, diced, or chopped into small pieces, and used as a topping to sandwiches. Cucumber is also a popular ingredient in gazpacho and spring rolls.
Varieties of Cucmbers:
Long Asian Cucumber | Slicing Cucumber
Wash, dry, and store in a container or bag in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator. Allow to come to room temperature for the best flavor.
Cucumbers can be refrigerated for 1 to 2 weeks, but pickling is the best method for long-term storage.
Cooking With Cucumbers
- Cucumber Salad: Thinly slice cucumbers and toss them with sliced red onions, fresh dill, a splash of vinegar (such as rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar), salt, and pepper. This simple and refreshing salad is perfect for hot summer days.
- Cucumber Water: Infuse water with cucumber slices for a refreshing and hydrating drink. Add a few mint leaves or a squeeze of lemon for extra flavor. It’s a healthy alternative to sugary beverages.
- Tzatziki Sauce: Grate cucumbers and squeeze out the excess moisture. Mix them with Greek yogurt, minced garlic, fresh dill, lemon juice, salt, and pepper to make a creamy and tangy tzatziki sauce. Serve it with grilled meats, falafel, or as a dip for pita bread.
- Cucumber Sushi Rolls: Use cucumber slices as a replacement for seaweed to make a lighter and carb-free sushi roll. Fill them with avocado, carrots, crab sticks, or your choice of sushi fillings. Slice into bite-sized pieces and enjoy with soy sauce and wasabi.
- Cucumber Gazpacho: Blend cucumbers with tomatoes, bell peppers, garlic, olive oil, and a splash of vinegar to create a refreshing chilled soup. Season with salt, pepper, and herbs like basil or cilantro. Serve it as a starter or a light summer meal.