Tired of super-sized supermarket cucumbers with thick, overly waxy skins? Tastier varieties are typically smaller with thin bumpy skins.
The Cucurbits' Orbit
Part of the cucurbits family of vine-growing plants (along with melons and watermelons), cucumbers originated in India. Cultivated for centuries, they spread east, through China, and west, aided by Romans and the Spanish, who carried them to the New World.
Cold as a Cucumber
Sliced or grated onto summer salads and sandwiches, cucumbers also commonly accompany cold salmon and are key to Greek tzatziki and Indian raitas, cooling yogurt sauces that temper spicy foods. They're tasty sliced, salted, and sautéed quickly in butter. Thinly sliced and served in lemonade or cocktails, cucumbers also make refreshing summer sips.
Tickled about Pickles
When the garden runneth over with cucumbers, make pickles! The best pickling cucumbers are short, stubby, bumpy varieties, not the big waxy kind better suited for salads. Preserve them to eat with sandwiches, salads and meats during the winter months.