The patient, calming and adorable garden neighbor cucumber: love it, eat it, pickle it!
Cucumbers are in the season. At least in my backyard garden, I can enjoy plenty of small pickling cucumbers and also long English type of cucumbers.
There are so many reasons to fall in love with this guy: preparation of salad or cucumber juice takes practically no time. Adding cucumber to salads and cold soups, gives them so much more freshness and flavor. I come originally from Latvia, which is a place where everybody has a garden or at least some balcony or backyard plants. Cucumber time in Latvia is associated with snacking on quick pickles, one hour pickles and tonnes of fresh garden salads. I have implemented this delicious summer snack in my Canadian summer.
My artistic side cannot stop adoring the shape of leaves, blooms and fruit, they are so attractive! I have painted and drawn them numerous times.
I am not sure whether the grocery store vegetables will do the same because of shipping and storage, but fresh ones from the garden can do a lot to improve our health. I personally simply love the flavor, the look and the taste of these easy to grow vegetables. All they need is watering fairly rich soil and some string to travel up.
I can tell from my own experience: having about one cucumber with dill and green onions a day stabilized my very moody blood glucose levels. It became so stable that I was really surprised, I’m not sure what I will do in the winter, but it works excellently for now, especially because I love eating them.
I will briefly remind that cucumbers:
refresh your breath, cure gums, destroy bad bacteria in the mouth;
facilitate digestion and metabolism, kill bad bacteria in the gut, cure constipation;
carry out toxins present in the body due to very specific substances they contain;
stabilize blood glucose levels, especially when consumed with dill;
stabilize blood pressure, especially with dill, because dill is a very well known blood pressure reducing herb;
when using cucumbers for longer term, they prevent cancer due to lariciresinol, pinoresinol, and secoisolariciresinol that cucumbers contain;
reduce bad cholesterol due to sterols they contain;
flavor will calm you and put in a better mood, this is scientifically tested and found to be working;
cucumbers are an ideal product for weight loss: very few calories and lots of good stuff!
refresh skin, decrease swelling under eyes;
cure sunburnt skin;
help with hangover.
We could continue and continue.
Cucumbers are inexpensive and when in season, always available from farmers market and our own garden.
So, I picked some along with plenty of dills and blossoming dill and dill stems:
For inspiration some Latvian recipes from series: I have very little time and money
5 minute cucumber salad
Cut cucumber in medium thin slices. Small cucumbers and any cucumbers must be peeled (if needed, because sometimes they have thick skin) always from the light end; this prevents from getting the whole vegetable bitter. In dry weather, small cucumbers can become bitter if they lack water.
Chop generous amount of fresh dill and green onion.
Dress with either: sour cream plus small bit of mustard or some mild vigar (very little); mix of mayonnaise and whipping cream, like I do; olive oil plus mild vinegar. Lemon or lime don’t go well with cucumber. Add salt and pepper. Salt is added on cucumbers directly before serving, otherwise they release too much juice and water.
Dill goes so well with cucumber and has similar properties: regulates blood pressure and blood glucose levels
1 hour quick pickles
Choose a plastic or glass dish with tight lid.
Combine 2 teaspoons honey or sugar; 1.5 tablespoons vinegar; 0.5 teaspoons salt, freshly ground pepper, 2-3 cloves of garlic, cut in smaller pieces on 1 long cucumber or 2 small ones, mix
Cut cucumber in slices, they don’t need to be very thin, add plenty of chopped dill and finely chopped green onion. Close with lid. Shake well for about 30 seconds. Leave in room temperature for about 20 minutes, place in fridge until the meal time. 20 minutes is already enough. Serve. I know how people are afraid of vinegar, but small amounts of it go well with lots of recipes. It’s needed for pickling purposes.
Next day mild pickles
Pour water in a pot. Amount depends on how many jars you make.
On 1 litre water: 2 tablespoons kosher salt; 2 tablespoons sugar
Bring to boil. Meanwhile wash small pickling cucumbers. Cut off both ends. Stuff in a jar blossoming dill/dill stems, 2-3 cloves of garlic per 1 l jar; add some whole pepper, place cucumbers tightly. Cherry and black currant leaves work well, too. Use just 1-2 on each jar. Pour over boiling water. If desired, add some spoon of vinegar, but that is not necessary if you don’t like vinegar. It simply facilitates faster pickling process. Put on lid, leave in room temperature for quicker results, place in fridge to use after 2 days.
When left in room temperature, these pickles are ready after 12-15 hours, sometimes even faster. The smaller vegetables, the faster they get pickled. They absorb neither much sugar, nor salt. If you add very little, there won’t be any decent taste. We have very many varieties of this type of cucumber recipes in Latvia, I just described the absolutely simplest and quickest.
I love all of these, and I put new quick pickles in some jar every second day. After I’m done with quick pickles, I will put in some cucumbers for winter. Winter pickling recipe is obviously different. If you are worried about any ingredients, I’d say, don’t be silly and, secondly, replace vinegar with some strong sour substance.