CUCUMBER

Cucumis sativae

Nothing is more delicious on a hot summer day than a fresh-picked cucumber with a dash of salt.  Is that because they are 95% water and still crunchy?  Mmmm!  Cucumbers were first cultivated in India over 3,000 years ago.  Not one of the most nutritious vegetables, cucumbers nevertheless contain small amounts of vitamins A, C, and a few minerals.  They are also rich in vitamin E.  Store your cukes in the hydrator drawer of the fridge, and they should keep for up to a week.

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Honey Lemon Refrigerator Pickles
From From Asparagus to Zucchini

6 cups thinly sliced cucumbers
2 cups thinly sliced onions
3/4 cup honey
1 cup lemon juice
1/2 tsp kelp powder or sea salt
1/2 tsp mustard seed
1/2 tsp celery seed
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp ground cloves

Place cucumbers and onions in a large glass bowl.  Combine remaining ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Cook and stir until honey is dissolved.  Pour hot liquid over cucumbers and onions, toss well, and let cool.  The cucumbers will give off some of their juices: keep them submerged in the liquid while they cool.  Transfer pickles to 3 pint jars, cover tightly, and refrigerate for at least 24 hours before serving.  They will keep for a week or so.

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Cucumber Salad with Sushi Dressing
from Moosewood Restaurant’s New Classics

3 cups cucumber cresents (halve cukes lenthwise and scoop out seeds with a spoon.  Slice crosswise into 1/2 inch thick cresents)
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 tsp wasabi powder
2 tsp sugar
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 to 3 tsp minced pickled ginger
1/2 sheet toasted nori

Place the sliced cucumbers in a large bowl.  In a small bowl, stir together the vinegar, wasabi powder, sugar, and soy sauce.  Add the pickled ginger.  Using scissors, cut the nori into long 1-inch-wide ribbons.  Bundle the ribbons of nori and hold them over the bowl while snipping them into tiny squares.  Stir into the dressing.  Pour the dressing over the cucumbers and serve immediately.  Serves 4-6.

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