One of the joys of gardening is an abundant harvest. Cucumbers are great producers in the Gulf Coast area and sometimes it is hard to keep up with them. Sharing the harvest with family members, friends, and neighbors is one solution. Pickling your cucumbers is another solution. What are some other uses for an extremely abundant cucumber harvest? The answer is: Think outside the pickle jar.
Once the cucumbers start rolling out of the garden hard and fast, it's a challenge to keep up with the harvest. Start by pickling some of your cucumbers, both the standard version and the crock version. After that, the sky is the limit.
Try a few of these cucumber recipes on for size:
- Cucumber bread
- Cucumber salad dressing
- Cucumber dip
- Cucumber casserole
- Grilled cucumbers
Make cucumber bread using two to three cups of peeled, shredded cucumber with the seeds removed. Place the cucumber in a colander to squeeze out as much juice as possible. Combine two cups of flour, one teaspoon of baking powder, one teaspoon of baking soda, one teaspoon of salt, one teaspoon of cinnamon, and a half teaspoon of nutmeg in one mixing bowl. In another bowl, combine two tablespoons of softened butter and one egg. Add one cup of buttermilk and mix well. Mix the wet and dry ingredients together; then fold in the cucumber, a half cup of chopped nuts and a half cup of oatmeal. Grease a loaf pan and bake in the oven at 350 degrees until done (usually 55-60 minutes.) Insert a knife in the middle of the loaf as a test to see if the loaf is done.
Cucumber dip and salad dressing
For an easy dip or dressing recipe that tastes great, peel a medium sized cucumber and remove the seeds and pulp. Puree the cucumber in a food processor and place in a colander to press out excess moisture. Place the cucumber back into the food processor. Add eight ounces of softened cream cheese, one clove of minced garlic and a half tablespoon of minced onion. Process until well blended. Add salt and pepper to your taste. At this point the mixture can be used as a dip. For the dressing, simply thin out this mixture by adding buttermilk until it reaches the consistency of salad dressing.
Cucumber casserole is easy and delicious. The texture of the cucumbers after baking resembles eggplant. To make the casserole: Saute a half cup of diced onion and a half cup of diced bell peppers in one to two tablespoons of cooking oil until tender. Peel two medium cucumbers and remove pulp. Dice the cucumbers and add to the saute pan, (you should have about two cups of cucumber after dicing). Saute this mixture for five to six minutes. Add salt and pepper to your taste. set aside and let the mixture cool for a few minutes. In a mixing bowl, beat two eggs and add cucumber mixture to eggs. Add one to two cups of shredded cheese, a half cup of your favorite bread crumbs and mix well. Place in an oiled casserole dish. Top with extra bread crumbs if desired. Bake at 350 degrees until a knife inserted in the center of the casserole comes out clean (about 30-35 minutes).
Grilled cucumbers are very easy to make. Slice cucumbers in half lengthwise, oil both sides of cucumber, add salt and pepper to your taste, and throw them on the grill. Grill them for about four or five minutes on each side. Alternatively, you can slice the cucumbers into thin slices before grilling, or use them to enhance shish kabobs.
Any way you slice them, cucumbers are tasty and a great addition to your healthy diet. So, along with the traditional cucumber salads, pickles, and cucumber sandwiches--try out cucumbers in non-traditional recipes, too. Cucumbers are very versatile and adapt well to many different recipes. Bon appétit!