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16 May 2007

Cool as a Cucumber

Cucumbers like pumpkins, squash, and melons are cucurbits or vine crops. They have been cultivated for thousands of years and were very popular in Rome, Greece and Egypt both as a food and for their skin healing properties.

Although a summer crop cucumbers are generally available all year round. There are different types available, some being grown as a salad vegetable and others for pickling. Cucumber are over 95% water and low in calories which makes them very popular with dieters.

They are high in vitamin C and are a good source of vitamin A, manganese, magnesium, potassium, folate, dietary fiber (especially the skin) and tryptophan. They also contain silica and molybdenum. Silica, combined with vitamin C, is excellent for the skin. Applied externally cucumber hydrates the skin, reduces swelling like puffy eyes and relieves sunburn and other mild skin complaints. Silica is also necessary for healthy connective tissue. Molybdenum is an essential trace mineral and is required for the activity of some body enzymes.

Choose cucumbers which are firm and are stored in a cool area in the shop as they are sensitive to heat once picked. They should have mid to dark green skins. Try to purchase organic, non-waxed cucumbers when available, so that you can safely eat the fiber rich skins. They will store well at home for a few days, in the fridge in a sealed container.

If you live in a warm climate with no frost you might like to grow your own cucumbers and should find the info at the Cucumber Growing Tips website useful. The site also has excellent links to other cucumber information. As mentioned in a previous posting Companion Planting , planting nasturtiums will protect the cucumbers against aphids, and growing beans in the same bed will enrich the soil with nitrogen which growing cucumbers love.

Eat a crisp, cool, and juicy cucumber today and enjoy the "Cool as a Cucumber" experience.


Cool Cucumber by Alysha Bhatti (aged 8)
Poetry Zone

Cucumber with noodles
Pizza or rice.
Even on its own
Cucumber tastes nice.


Vegan Tzatziki Recipe
From Jolinda Hackett,
Your Guide to Vegetarian Cuisine at About.com

2 cups plain soy yogurt
2 cucumbers, diced small
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp olive oil
dash salt and pepper
1 tbsp fresh chopped mint leaves
1/4 tsp paprika

Mix together all ingredients. Chill for at least an hour

Asian Cucumber and Sesame Salad
From Choose Veg

1 English cucumber
2 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted
3 tbsps soy sauce
4 tsps mirin
2 tsps rice vinegar
1 tsp sugar

Cut the cucumber lengthwise into 1/4-inch pieces, cut each piece in half, then cut the halves lengthwise into thin strips. Place them into a bowl and set aside. Place the soy sauce, mirin, rice vinegar, and sugar into a small container with a secure lid. Put the lid on and shake to create the vinaigrette dressing. Pour the vinaigrette over the cucumber, toss to coat, cover, and marinate for 1 hour, stirring once or twice. Just before serving, sprinkle the toasted sesame seeds on top.

Quick Onion, Tomato and Cucumber Relish (Kachoomar)
From iVillage Recipes
Great on greens for a salad, this relish actually is the perfect side to roast vegetables or a vegan burger. Be sure to allow it 30 minutes to rest before serving so flavors can develop.

1 1/2 cups chopped onion
3/4 cup chopped cucumber
3/4 cup chopped tomato
1/2 cup chopped sweet bell pepper
2 to 3 tbsps chopped fresh coriander
6 hot green chilis, minced
1/3 tsp cumin
1 small lemon, juiced
1/2 tsp coarse salt, or to taste

Mix all ingredients in a bowl, toss well, and let rest for a half-hour before serving. Serve at room temperature or refrigerate for a refreshing cold salad.

Creamy Cucumber Soup
From The Vegetarian Times
Mild silken tofu absorbs the flavors of foods it’s paired with, making it the perfect base for this cold soup laced with fresh dill and green onions. For a picnic, pack the soup into a 1-quart, wide-mouthed thermos and serve in paper cups.

2 medium-size cucumbers, peeled (about 1 lb.)
1 1/3 cups firm silken tofu, drained (about 10 oz.)
2 tbsps fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp chopped fresh dill
6 green onions, chopped (about 1/3 cup)

Grate half of 1 cucumber into large bowl. Coarsely chop all remaining cucumber. Purée chopped cucumber, tofu, lemon juice, dill and 1/4 cup water until smooth in blender or food processor. Add tofu mixture and green onions to grated cucumber, and stir to combine. Cover and chill 1 to 2 hours before serving. Serves 4

DON'T EAT THIS ONE :)
Cucumber-Lemon Tonic recipe
From Recipe Goldmine
Soothing astringent for oily skin. This tightens pores, soothes sunburn, and can be used as a natural deodorant.

1 cup witch hazel
Juice of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons coarsely chopped cucumber

Mix in a clean glass bottle, then let set for 2 days. Remove cucumber. Keep lotion in a cool place or the refrigerator to use as a splash.



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14 comments:

khaled said...

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Johanna3 said...

great post!

Lu said...

Tried the creamy cucumber soup today. Mmmm....

Thanks for sharing! Love your blog!

Regards.

Atkins Diet
Vitamins and Supplements

Sheila said...

Thanks for the recipes. I've had pretty good luck with growing cucumbers but I'm the only one in the family that really likes them.

Midwest Vegan said...

ooohhh! The Asian Cucumber salad sounds yummy and I just happen to have 3 English cucumbers in the fridge waiting to be used! Thanks for sharing the recipe.

Marion said...

The taste of a homegrown cucumber is so much better than the pallid tasting offerings in the grocery store. Homegrown ones are amazing, however, and I can't wait for the new crop, either from the farmer's market or my garden.

As much as any plant, a cut cucumber on my kids' bruises and bumps eased the hurt every time!

aTxVegn said...

I love cucumbers in the summertime and all these recipes look so tasty - thanks!

Urban Vegan said...

This polish girl loves her cukes. They also work great as eye-depuffers--one slice on each evey for 15 minutes after a night of too much salt [or alcohol!).

Megan the Vegan said...

mmmm I do love cucumber.

Jackie said...

Thanks for the tips Marion and urbanvegan :)

ahib0205 said...

seriously the great site! a lot of information here.. :) thanks.

david santos said...

Thanks, Jackie, for Madeleine.

Great man, Khaled. He is very my friend.

Very, very good man.

bazu said...

Love, love cucumbers. Must try some of your recipes!

Suray said...

Its seems yummy...