Take Cucumbers Beyond Pickles

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Cucumbers should have a permanent slot on your shopping list.  There are endless ways to use them in the kitchen.  Grab a couple because one a week may not be enough.
How to harvest or select from the store:
Cucumbers are very easy to grow. The hard part is to getting out into the garden and harvesting every day once the plants start producing.  Whether you are in a garden or in the produce section at your favorite market, choose firm and bright green cucumbers.  Large cucumbers might seem like a bargain when sold at a unit price instead of by pound, but the large varieties tend to have tough skins and large watery seed cavities. 
Choose small cucumbers because they have small seed cavities, thin skins, and tender flesh. If the market only has large ones, you might want to peel them and scoop out the seeds.
For peak freshness, choose cucumbers that are dark green, with no yellow spots or bruising on the flesh, which can be a sign that the cucumber may be bitter or bland. 
Most cukes at the market are coated with edible wax or oil. You can scrub it away or peel it off, but you do need to remove it before eating.
To store: Optimal storage is in a perforated bag.  The cucumbers are about 90% water so the bag will allow the cucumber to breathe and not allow produce drawer neighbors with strong odors to penetrate their skin. 
Though grocers like to store baby cucumbers in foam trays wrapped in plastic, it's not good for them--it will speed spoilage.
I've long passed the days of my mom packing lunch of a cucumber sandwich for the pool... if only I could bring them back.  Nothing sounds better than a thinly sliced cucumber and radish sandwich on thin whole wheat bread with lots of cracked black pepper and a dollop of Greek yogurt. (OK, I'll admit we did not have Greek yogurt back in the day, so my sandwich was spread with mayonnaise.  Just think how much healthier we are with all the new food options!) 
In addition to my beloved cucumber sandwiches, there are plenty of other options for the humble cucumber. This water-based vegetable is so versatile in salads and side dishes.  Give some of these cucumber infused recipes a try.
  • Give black-eyed pea salad a summer twist by adding cubes of cucumber.
  • Add chunks or puree into fresh tomato gazpacho.
  • Let it be the headliner in a cold soup.  Peel and puree 2 cucumbers with 1 green onion, 1/2 bunch cilantro, and 1 cup salsa verde.  Stir in 1/2 Greek yogurt and chill.
  • Make a traditional raita to cool down Indian dishes, chipotle burgers, or lamb roast.
  • Make a quick cucumber salad with 1 sliced cucumber, 1 sliced carrot, 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar, pinch of sugar and salt.  Let it chill in the fridge for 30 minutes before diving into as a nice addition to a sandwich.
  • Stuff cucumbers with hummus or pea puree.
Or try one of these recipes: 
Easy Cucumber Cups
Crunchy Cucumber Salad
Cool-as-a-Cucumber Raita
Summer Cucumber Salsa
Tangy Cucumber and Onion Salad
Tzatziki (Fresh Cucumber Dill Sauce/Salad)
Cucumber Salad in Vinegar
Chilled Cucumber Avocado Soup
Sherry's Cucumber Salad
Crab and Cucumber Sushi

What is your favorite way to eat cucumbers?
Want more healthy recipes from me and fellow SparkPeople members? Be sure to subscribe to SparkPeople's Recipe of the Day email. Click here to sign up!
Did you know SparkRecipes is now on Facebook? Click here to "Like" us!

Click here to to redeem your SparkPoints
  You will earn 5 SparkPoints


DGRIFFITH51 8/11/2020
I made a batch of refrigerator dill pickles Report
NASFKAB 6/20/2020
Great Report
KHALIA2 1/11/2020
Great Tips! Thanks for sharing this one! Report
thanks for sharing Report
Thanks for these great ideas! Report
Thanks Report
I love cucumbers. Report
great ideas Report
I love cucumbers especially with my corn beef. Report
nice Report
In _The Joy of Cooking_ cucumbers are added to remoulade sauce for fish. Also try substituting fresh basil for the parsley ingredient. OH, what a boon to the flavor! Report
I just made a salad with cucumber slices, chopped red onion, crazy mixed-up salt, dill, and Greek yogurt. Easy to make and very satisfying. Report
I love cucumbers I bought some today. Report
I love, love, love cucumbers. Thank you! Report
I have even juiced them and frozen in ice cube trays to add some flavor in my water Report
I have even juiced them and frozen in ice cube trays to add some flavor in my water Report
The suggestions look delicious, thank you! Report
Thank you for the ideas Report
These ideas look great Report
I like to slice them, roll them in small amount of flour, than fry them in Canola oil, until browned. It doesn't take much oil, or time to cook them. Delicious. I add a little salt, nothing else.
A few more ideas for when I pickle cucumbers Report
Oh yum!!!! Report
They are so versatile and good for you! Report
I will take cucumbers any way I can get them Report
I love cucumbers - they are delicious and light! Report
great with tomatoes, avocado, garlic, s&p, and feta. Report
1 can English Peas - 1 skinned, seeded chopped cucumber - 1/4 cup chopped sweet onion - 12 grape tomatoes cut in half - 1/4 tsp minced garlic - 1/2 tsp black pepper - 1/4 tsp basil - 1 tsp mayo ---this combination is delicious! Report
Our favorite summer side dish is peeled, sliced cucumbers, thinly sliced onions, a sprinkle of dill weed and half vinegar, half water to cover. Chill in the refrigerator, keeps for many days. It's sour, but we like it that way!

I have to admit I sometimes have them as a low calorie snack, topped with salsa. Report
Loving these ideas and loving cucumbers! Report
Love them just raw as a snack or a side dish along with fresh tomato. Also good on a sandwich instead of pickles.
I have never heard of peanut butter & cucumbers. Report
LOVE cuke & PB sandwiches!
cucumber and peanut butter sandwich! Report
I had some leftover cucumber salad and added it to a salsa as I was making it, delicious. Now I'm going to try adding jalapenos to a cucumber salad. Report
They're great with healthy dips instead of chips, crackers, or bread--hummus, guacamole, salsa... Report
I love greek food and so I learned to love tzatziki sauce. Never cared for cucumbers before that. Going to try some of these recipes and find some new favorites. So cool and refreshing in the summer! Report
I marinate cukes in leftover pickle juice, then use them on sandwiches. Fresher than pickles. Report
I love Cukes, so easy to include in your daily food planning. Report
I eat a lot of cukes. I eat them on a sandwich or with my turkey burgers. I also make cevche and it has cukes in it. Report
Very interesting. Will have to try this. Report
I add cucumber to nearly every sandwich I eat. Adds a great bit of freshness and moisture so no need for mayo/mustard/ketchup/etc. Report
My Mom used to make cucumbers in vinegar with a packet of sweet-n-low and diced onions and a pinch of garlic powder. UMMM it was soooo good. I may need to make some tonight and I'll add the carrot - that sounds good. Report
I have two favorites: tzatziki sauce with homemade falafel or in a Sweet Sour Watermelon and Cucumber Salad, courtesy watermelon.org. Report
sliced cukes in a mix of low-sodium soy sauce & seasoned ricewine vinegar..add a little ground pepper..a quick sub for "pickles" with less sodium. Report
A great muchie!! Save the ends of the cucumbers to place on the eyes to reduce puffiness in the morning. Report
I like to slice them and use them in place of crackers. I spread them with light Laughing Cow cheese. Report
I love cucumbers with salsa! Just like chips but less sodium and virtually NO calories!! Report
I've been snacking on sliced cucumbers dipped in a little honey mustard, and while I know the honey mustard isn't calorie free, but it's way lower in calories than a traditional dip! Plust I make sure I only measure out 1 tablespoon so I don't go way over my calorie budget. :) Report
I prefer to eat them raw if possible as I find that there is too much sodium in the pickles. Sadly I am forced to limit one of my childhood pleasures - my mother made the world's BEST dill pickles. Report