In Ontario, we are able to buy cucumbers whether it’s the long, skinny English variety (also known as hothouse) or waxy, field cucumbers at the peak of perfection all year round. Both are mild in flavour and absolutely thirst quenching.
How to Pick and Store Cucumbers:
The best quality cucumbers are firm all over. Avoid cucumbers that have soft or shrivelled spots. If you prefer to have fewer seeds, remember that narrow cucumbers will deliver on this without compromising on taste. To store, place your unwashed cucumbers in a plastic bag in the refrigerator and they will keep for up to 10 days. If you are storing leftover cucumber or cucumber that has already been cut, wrap it tightly before storing in the refrigerator and it will last about five days.
How to Prepare Cucumbers:
Field cucumbers have a thick, waxy exterior, which is great for preserving the cucumber. You can easily remove the skin with a vegetable peeler or knife. English cucumbers have thin, edible skin and are usually wrapped in plastic to protect their delicate exterior. While we often think of eating cucumbers raw, did you know you can also cook them (very briefly!) until just tender, like you would a zucchini? Remember that the older the cucumber, the larger the seeds, and the larger the seeds, the more bitter the cucumber. If you are preparing a dish using an older cucumber, simply slice the cucumber in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Now that you know all about how to prepare cucumbers, try making these cheddar and cucumber sandwiches or this Sweet Cucumber Salad!
Cool Cucumber Tips:
- You can crisp up cucumber slices by sprinkling them with a little salt and placing them in a colander for half an hour to drain. The salt will remove excess water. Once done just rinse and pat dry.
- To make decorative cucumber slices, run the ends of a fork down the length of a cucumber, removing just the skin. Do this around the entire cucumber. Then, when you slice the cucumber, it will have lovely scalloped edges!
- Don’t feel like slicing a cucumber for a salad? Get out your vegetable peeler and peel yourself some cucumber ribbons.
What Goes Well With Cucumbers?
Cucumbers go well with so many other foods and herbs, including: sour cream, yogurt, onion, tomatoes, salmon, lemon, vinegar, soy sauce, dill, basil, mint, garlic, and sesame seeds. The list just goes on!
Cucumber Flavour Combinations:
Cucumber + dill + salmon
Cucumber + dill + yogurt
Cucumber + feta + tomato + olive oil + red wine vinegar + oregano
Cucumber + sugar + rice vinegar
Cucumber + garlic + vinegar