What’s in Season: Cucumbers

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What’s in Season: Cucumbers

By The Paula Deen Test Kitchen

What’s green, grows on a vine and is often times a bit ugly?  A cucumber of course! From May to August our gardens are busting at the seams with cucumbers. Even with just a couple of vines planted, it seems we don’t have enough neighbors to give all our harvest to.  In this article, we will shed a little light on this crisp cousin of the watermelon and squash as well as give you a bounty of recipes to use them in!

History:

The cucumber is believed to have originated in Southeast Asia over 10,000 years ago. Early travelers introduced cucumbers to India and other parts of Asia. In the ancient civilizations of Greece, Rome, and Egypt, cucumbers were popular for not only their nutritional value, but also their skin-healing properties. Cucumbers later traveled to the United States with early colonists.

Selecting:

When selecting a cucumber, as with most other produce, there are two things you want to focus on—look and feel. As we all know, the outside of a cucumber is often bumpy, but a fresh cucumber should lack any obvious blemishes, water-soaked areas, or discoloration. It should also be somewhat plump and medium to dark green in color. An older cucumber will have small wrinkles in its skin that give the appearance of deflation. Once you’ve found a good candidate, visually, it’s time to pick it up. A cucumber should feel slightly heavy for its size. Give each end of the cucumber a squeeze; they should be firm. If either end is even slightly soft, put it back. Finally, give the cucumber a “once over” to check for any additional soft spots, if the cucumber is firm throughout, you’ve found a fresh one!

Storing/Freezing:

Most store-bought cucumbers have traveled hundreds of miles to your refrigerator. To keep them from drying out during their trip their skins are often waxed. If non-waxed cucumbers are available, these are best for you, as you have better access to the nutrient-rich skin without the wax coating. If you do get your hands on cucumbers without wax, keep in mind they will dehydrate faster than those with wax. Cucumbers are very sensitive to heat, be sure to get them into a zip top bag and straight into the fridge, where they will keep for several days, but are at their prime after one or two. Be sure to keep them away from tomatoes, apples, and citrus because they’ll give off ethylene gas, which accelerates cucumber deterioration. To store a partially used cucumber, wrap it tightly in saran wrap, so it doesn’t dry out, and put it in the fridge.

Yield:

A cucumber plant’s yield generally depends on how often you harvest. A large, ripe, cucumber left on the vine will prevent new cucumbers from growing. If harvested regularly, a 25-foot row of cucumber plants will produce anywhere from 25–40 pounds of cucumbers per season, depending on the variety.

Stay “cool as a cucumber” during these warm summer months. Cool down these delicious recipes with some refreshing cucumbers.

Cold Cucumber Salad
East Lamb Meatballs with Cucumber Dill Dipping Sauce
Spinach and Strawberry Salad
Gazpacho
Tracie’s Couscous Salad
Seared Scallops with Pineapple-Cucumber Salsa
Sliced Onions and Cucumbers
Harissa Spiced Green Bean Salad
Aunt Peggy’s Cucumber Tomato and Onion Salad
Mango Jicama and Cucumber Salad
Engagement Ring Bling Finger Sandwiches
Cucumber Tomato Mint Salad
Roasted Rack of Lamb
Icebox Bread and Butter Pickles

Have a favorite cucumber recipe?? Please share it with us below! Paula loves to read all your recipe suggestions!

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Reader Comments:

54321

Hey Paula, can you help me out? My daughter lives in South Carolina and we have discovered white vinegar pickles! They are by far my favorite pickle. My deliminia is that I cannot find the recipe. So far any native says they have a Grandma that would make them with a dash of this and a dash of that, but to date I haven't been able to find out what all the dashes are. I am even growing the "white" pickles and they are soon ready to be picked, can you help me out, please?

By Margie Perry on July 11, 2013

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Paula, I'd like to make the Icebox Pickes. Could you tell me how to sterilize the gallon jar? I don't have a dishwasher. Thanks

By Cheryl on July 24, 2012

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love your news letter look forward to it every week. i have gotten some great stuff off of it, thank you so much for shareing............

By blue on July 15, 2012

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my recipe for fried cucumbers .slice a young cucumber about 1/2 inch thick roll in seasoned flour .have a hot skillet with oil about 1/4 in deep place floured cucumbers in oil fry untill golden brown .drain on paper towel ,season with salt .at the side have ranch salad dressing for dripping .my family loves this for a side dish in the summer.

By kathy on June 10, 2012

54321

Paula: Do you have a recipe for creamed cucumbers? I'm told it is a Southern dish. I was near Jessup, Georgia (on Rt.301) when I stopped to eat at a Mom & Pop style diner. -The creamed cucumbers were really good. Later, on the return trip to PA.,I had the best Harvard beets at the same diner. I've not had much luck trying to cream cucumbers without a recipe. Can you help? Thank you

By Mary on August 04, 2011

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Ritzy Cucumbers Package of Ritz crackers (Garlic or vegetable are best) 2-3 cucumbers Mayonnaise garlic salt or powder(optional) Peel & slice cucumbers 1/4in or however thick you like them. Spread mayonnaise on Ritz. Place slice of cucumber on top mayonnaise & sprinkle with garlic salt or powder to taste. These are great light appetizers in the summer & go fast so fix plenty!

By buckle on July 20, 2011

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My Grandmother's Cucumber Salad Recipe in family about 50 years 4 cucumbers 1 medium white onion (sweet) 2 cups sour cream 2 t sugar 2 t white vinegar Sprinkle with hungarian paprika Peel and medium slice cucumbers. Thinly slice onion. Combine cucumbers and onion into bowl...salt(1t)...put in frig to draw liquid out.(i usually do this overnight)... Take cucumbers and onions out of frig...squeeze handfuls of cukes...put into another bowl...mix sour cream, sugar and white vinegar together...pour over cucumber & onion...stir...sprinkle with hungarian paprika. Place in frig a couple hours before serving. This is delicious, I usually make this with Hungarian Goulash.

By Sue Ann Denier on July 19, 2011

54321

Best cucumber salad ever! Grate cucumbers into a bowl (the long way gives you cool noodle like strands). Salt then squeeze all the water out. To the drained cucumbers, add mayonaise, about a tablespoon per cucumber and salt and pepper to taste. Mix and refrigerate at least half an hour. You will need to re-season as the cucumber will absorb the salt and pepper flavors. So good and refreshing on a hot summer day and goes with anything grilled!

By Marion on July 15, 2011

54321

Always on the search for uses for cukes. Found a recipe on Taste of Home for a Crisp Cucumber Salsa and made it. It is delicious. I used Greek yogurt in place of sour cream and will use it in the stuffed pitas I make with Greek seasoned ground beef. Am not too good at creating my own recipes. But I do tweak or substitute in a lot of them I print out. Love your recipes and get requests at Christmas for Grandma Pauls Carmel Corn ever since I first made it. Love your shows and am going to try the donut recipe ASAP.

By Sue Hennessey on July 08, 2011

54321

I like to buy the seedless cucumbers but any will do. I slice very thinly and add onions and tomoatoes. I mix balsamic vinegar, and sweetener and pour over the veggies. Let it sit overnight and it is great...

By Donna O'Riordan on July 08, 2011

54321

I would like to share a recipe for Oi Kimchi (Korean Pickled Cucumbers)which also happens to be Weight Watcher friendly. 2 cucumbers, spanish onion, 1 TBsp sugar, 1 TBsp vinegar, 1 tsp salt and 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes. I get my red pepper from the Asian market as it keeps the dish more authentic. Simply mix all together and let sit in the fridge until ready to serve, at least a couple of hours. The longer it sits, the more spicy. If you don't want it too spicy, start with 1/4 to 1/2 tsp pepper flakes.

By Dan Duffy on July 08, 2011

54321

Have you tried FREEZER CUCUMBERS AND ONIONS.... 2 cups sugar 1 cup white vinegar 1 cup water bring to a boil and then let cool pour over cukes and onions and freeze to enjoy later I can't do enough of these to satisfy my family they want to eat them an hour after I put them in freezer but tell them NO NO NO takes longer than that Love all you do Paula and had a fantastic time at Lady and Sons for my birthday last year (2010) Cindy

By Cindy Walker on July 08, 2011

54321

This is a must to make every summer with all the extra cucumbers that we have. Cucumber Sandwich Spread: 2 Medium Cucumbers 1 Small/Medium Vidalia Onion 1 Eight Oz. Package of Cream Cheese 1/2 cup of mayonnaise Salt Pepper Peel and chop cucumbers. Finely chop or grate the Vidalia onion and mix with the cucumbers. Blend Cream Cheese and Mayonnaise and add cucumber/onion mix. Salt and pepper to taste. This can be used a as spread on sandwiches or crackers. I have also thickened this by decreasing the mayo and used it as a veggie dip.

By Crystal on July 08, 2011

54321

Link to bread and butter pickles doesn't work! Please help!!

By Anonymous on July 08, 2011

54321

Cucumber Sandwich Spread: 2 Medium Cucumbers 1 Small/Medium Vidalia Onion 1 Eight Oz. Package of Cream Cheese 1/2 cup of mayonnaise Salt Pepper Peel and chop cucumbers. Finely chop or grate the Vidalia onion and mix with the cucumbers. Blend Cream Cheese and Mayonnaise and add cucumber/onion mix. Salt and pepper to taste. This can be used a as spread on sandwiches or crackers. I have also thickened this by decreasing the mayo and used it as a veggie dip.

By Crystal on July 08, 2011

54321

I bought a Smithfield summer ham and I must say if this was my first ham from Smithfield I would not buy another, it was more like a country ham the meat was tough and dry even with the glaze,I followed the heating instructions but even without heating the meat was still tough, needless to say I was very disappointed and was glad I had fixed ribs also as the ham was hardly touched by my friends and family.

By Pat Savage on July 08, 2011

54321

I hated cucumbers until my mother got me to try them (at age 44)in the following EASY recipe. 2 peeled, seeded, sliced cucumbers, 1/2 cup of sour cream, 1 small onion, thinly sliced, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix together and chill. She served them in old fashioned ice cream glasses. I now love cucumbers. I also like them peeled, sliced, with sliced onion, cold water, white distilled vinegar, and salt and pepper. She made a cucumber lover out of me.

By Deanna Beach on July 07, 2011

54321

Please consider us older folks - the red print is sooooooo hard to read.

By Patricia Dooley on July 07, 2011

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I forgot to add with the receipt Cumcumber Salad (sweet vingar) Need to peel the cumcubers and then slides them about 7 cups

By Darryl Evans on July 06, 2011

54321

Dear Paula, I have to share with a reciept I grew up on that my Mamaw made. It real simple and I am sure you have made it but I have to share it with you and all your readers. Every time I make this for friends they eat it up everytme and ask me for the reciept. Cucumber Salad (sweet vinegar) 2 cups white sugar 1 cup brown vinegar 2 teaspoon salt 2 teaspoon celery seeds Then pour this mixture over 7 cup of regular slices round cucumber 1 cup regular slices round white onion 1 cup diced green bell pepper Put in the fridge for a few hours and serve. Your neighbors and friends will go crazy over this simple country dish!!!!

By Darryl Evans on July 06, 2011

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