Where Local and Global Appetites Collide
Three cucumbers walk into a bar

Three cucumbers walk into a bar

Always a good line for a joke but I wondered about the three cucumbers I see in the grocery store and decided to use all three to make a salad for a potluck.

I disdain the common cucumber as it’s blah and without any definitive flavor. These cukes also go to waste in my house so I don’t buy anymore. Standard cucumbers are short, wide and their skin is usually covered in a waxy film used to help them retain moisture and look pretty in the produce pile. These are full of watery seeds but why are people generally phobic of seeds? Get over it; at my house, I eat the seeds. Once cut, the longer they sit the more water they release. This is why many cucumber recipes suggest placing your sliced or cut cucumbers in a strainer, to allow the excess water to escape so it doesn’t turn your salad or dish into a soggy mess.                                      

English cucumbers or hothouse cukes are long and narrow and sold wrapped in plastic to protect their thinner, unwaxed skin. While sometimes billed as seedless, they do have seeds but less prominent. They look pretty sliced on a plate with or without skin.

My favorite are Persian cucumbers, also known as Armenian cucumbers in certain parts of the country. Here in Tucson I found Persian cucumbers at Trader Joe’s and the same cuke called baby seedless cucumbers at Sprouts. These babies are 5 to 6 inches long, sweeter, almost seedless, crunchy, easy to digest, and can be peeled or not.

Who knew cucumbers are members of the gourd family?

Cucumber Salad

This is an easy dish that friends ask for often. At the very least – wash, peel and dice an English cucumber and add brown rice vinegar. Be slightly skimpy with the vinegar because a little goes a long way as the cukes will absorb the liquid and the cukes will release their own water especially if you forgot to drain after cutting. You can always add more vinegar right before serving. Chill but serve at room temperature. Sometimes I add diced red pepper for color and/or corn or finely diced red or green onion.


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