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.
My artistic side cannot stop adoring the shape of leaves, blooms and vegetables, 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 winter, but it works excellently for now, especially because I love eating them.
I will briefly mention 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, especially with dill
stabilize blood pressure, especially with dill, because dill is a very well known blood pressure reducing herb
using for longer term, prevents cancers 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 in 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 pealed (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.
Chop generously fresh dill and green onion.
Dress with either: sour cream plus small bit of neutral mild vinegar; mix of mayonnaise and whipping cream, like I do; olive oil plus mild vinegar. 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 table spoons 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.
Next day mild pickles
Pour water in a pot. Amount depends on how many jars you make.
On 1 litre water: 2 table spoons kosher salt; 2 table spoons sugar
Bring to boil. Meanwhile wash small pickling cucumbers. Cut off both ends. Stuff in a jar blossoming dill/dill with stems, 2-3 cloves of garlic per 1 l jar; add some whole pepper, place cucumbers tightly. Cherry and black currant leaves go well with it. Use just 1-2 on each jar. Pour over hot water. If desired, add some spoon of vinegar, but that is not necessary if you don’t like vinegar. 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 have any decent taste. We have very many variations 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.