Cucumbers

cucumbers

Cucumbers belong to the same family as marrows and courgettes. They are believed to have originated in Asia and have been grown in India for some 3,000 years. The Victorians bred a good selection of colour into their cucumbers – and thus white, yellow, bronze and bluish hues as well as the more usual green-skinned type are grown.

Also in the nineteenth century, oval-shaped cucumbers were grown by the French and were much in demand by perfumeries. Long ago cucumber had a reputation as a beauty aid especially for keeping the skin white. It’s use as a cooling eye pack is much better known these days. Cucumbers have a unique texture and refreshing cool taste. They are generally eaten raw, but can be blanched and refreshed or boiled.

The skin of cucumbers contains folic acid and Vitamin A, known as carotene, wash well but do not peel for extra goodness.

Nutritional Value

Nutrient Raw
Energy kJ 40
Kcal 10
Protein g 0.7
Carbohydrate g 1.5
Fat g 0.1

For more information on nutrition and the details given above, check out our nutrition page.

Preparing and Using

When choosing cucumbers pick ones that are firm from top to bottom. Thinly sliced, cucumber is most frequently served with a light dressing or soured cream. In Greece it is an essential part of horiatiki salata – cucumber cut into thick chunks and served with peppers, tomatoes and feta and dressed simply with olive oil and a little wine vinegar. It isalso used to make tzatziki and raita – puréed cucumber mixed with garlic, yoghurt and herbs with soured cream or crème fraiche. The coolness of cucumbers contrasts well with the heat of a curry and raita is served with Indian dishes.

Apart from its use as a salad vegetable, cucumbers are used to garnish dishes, as crudités, and on canapés. They are used in the classic cucumber sandwich for afternoon teas or lunch. They can be used to make relishes, pickles, chutneys, dressings,vinaigrettes and dips. Iced cucumber soup is a classic summer dish. Cucumber can also be cut into wedges, de-seeded and simmered for a few minutes before draining, seasoning and adding cream to serve as a vegetable dish. Cucumbers can also be made into fritters by dipping them in batter and deep-frying. They are used in terrines and mousses, for example, cucumber and trout, or cucumber and salmon mousse and served as a starter or for lunch.

Flavours and ingredients that go well with cucumber include yoghurt, lime, mint, coriander,garlic, cumin, mustard seed, cress, tomato, salmon,trout, crème fraiche, fromage frais, soured cream and dill.

Recipes

For some cucumber recipes, visit the Bord Bia website here

Slow Cooked Spiced Shoulder of Lamb Wraps

The longer you cook this shoulder of lamb the better so don’t worry if it gets an extra hour or so. The meat should be so tender that it is easily shred with a fork.

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Soy and Honey Glazed Rainbow Trout with Cucumber and Mint

The marinade of soy sauce, honey and wine vinegar adds an oriental kick to this dish.

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