9 ways to be cool as a cucumber
Cucumbers are a quiet achiever. The main types are Continental, Lebanese and Baby cucumbers and while they’re not the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of interesting recipes, but that’s exactly why you should take a second look and surprise your friends and family with some cool cucumber creations.
When I think back to my childhood, evening meals always included salads. Tiny cubes of cucumber were always present, sometimes in yoghurt with mint, sometimes in Greek salads with feta, sometimes just in their true form and held together in a bowl for snacking, but they were always there.
A recipe my mother would make often is her version of Tzatziki with saffron and yoghurt. We would often eat this alongside seafood dishes with Lebanese bread or vegetable dippers including cucumbers, carrots and celery sliced into batons. It’s also great in salad wraps.
Before jumping on bikes to go on adventures with friends, it was second nature to quickly snack on fresh, crunchy cucumbers and carrot sticks. I remember mum used to deseed cucumbers in the past, but these days you no longer need to do that because the modern varieties are now seedless so you can just slice and enjoy, or for the baby snacking types just wash and eat them. These unassuming treats offer so much as an ideal healthy snack. Containing up to 95% water, they are perfect rehydration snacks and also pack a vitamin and mineral punch.
In the sporting arena, the benefits of cucumbers has been recognised by Football Australia who has adopted Qukes® baby cucumbers as the half-time snack of choice for sporting groups, like the MiniRoos to encourage healthy eating among active young Australians. Read more about Qukes® & the MiniRoos project.
Cool down with these 9 ways to make cucumbers taste great:
- Super snacks - My kids love snacks they can quickly grab while continuing to play. Fresh, crunchy cucumbers straight from the fridge are a mess-free, guilt-free perfect rehydration snack for those on the move. Simply wash and eat.
- Lovely lunchtimes -Great in lunchboxes and perfect with dips like hummus, cucumbers complement other ingredients without overpowering their flavours. For a healthy lunchtime treat, check out this No cook felafel and Qukes® baby cucumbers snack bowl by Perfection Fresh.
- Tasty toppers - I’m yet to meet anyone that doesn’t love bruschetta and this cucumber version is delicious. Whether you use ciabatta, sourdough or even crostini as the base, start with a splash of oil in a pan over medium heat. Flavour the oil with 1 garlic clove, sliced in half and pressed into the oil with a spoon to release the flavour. For more intense flavour, another option is to finely chop the garlic and cook in the oil before drizzling over the bread. Lightly toast or charring the bread on a BBQ. In a separate bowl, dice 1 cucumber, 1 tomato and ½ red onion and combine. Add a splash of balsamic and place over your bread. Top with fresh basil or mint and enjoy! Another option is to try these stuffed snack cucumbers.
- Splendid sandwiches -For somethinga bit different, check out new ways to showcase your meal with floral and braiding options shown in this Cucumber cream cheese sandwich. These veggie pitta sandwiches with marinated eggplant (aubergine) and chickpeas offer a great alternative to traditional salads and sandwiches.
- Grazing goodness –Ilove a grazing plate. They remind me of parties at home where the dining table would be laden with many colourful and fragrant food choices. Impress friends and family with your own grazing board. Simply slice in quarters, add salt and drizzle with olive oil, or check out this amazing and colourful Qukes® baby cucumbers summer snacking platter from Perfection Fresh.
- Sizzling salads – Spice up your salad withmy colleague Harry’s traditional Indian Baby spinach (Palak) salad featuring spinach, cucumber, tomatoes, capsicum (peppers) and a spicy and refreshing dressing.
- Quench your thirst – Cucumbers are great alongside fresh fruit and combine perfectly in drinks. On hot days, there’s nothing better than a refreshing lemonade. I remember our fridge always featured fresh lemonade made from lemons grown in our own backyard. Serve over ice with a mint leaf to bring back the tastes of Summer.
- Super smoothies - This apple, celery and cucumber smoothie with ginger isn’t a combination I would have thought of, but it looks and sounds so refreshing that I’m planning to give it a try.
- Great garnish - Slice cucumber into ribbons using a potato peeler or mandolin and place alongside your favourite meal as a simple garnish, to add a refreshing twist.
For more great recipe ideas, type your vegetable or cuisine in the search bar or check out Salapedia.