Monday, August 28, 2017

Five Ways To Use Up All Those Cucumbers

Wow, our cucumber plants are OUT OF CONTROL!

The cukes are coming out of the garden much faster than we can use them up, no doubt.

My nephews came for a visit on their motorbikes this weekend and I sent them home with two saddlebags filled with cucumbers!

Zucchini is easier, because you can sneak it into a bunch of different recipes and freeze it to be used later.
 
Did I mention I snuck a grated zucchini or two into the chili I made this weekend?
 
Oh, and into the chicken tortellini soup I made last week.
 
Nobody noticed!  Shhhh, don't tell them. It will be our little secret.

Cucumbers are eaten fresh out of the garden, for the most part.

So what do you do when you have what seems like a million of them? Aside from giving them away, of course....sometimes to unsuspecting family  members that just stop by for a quick visit!

You get creative, that's what you do.

And  if you know anything about me at all, no doubt by now you know how much I like to experiment in the kitchen.

Good thing, huh?

So, here's what I've been doing with the millions of cukes the garden is spitting out this year.

1. Make cucumber water.

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There's nothing more refreshing than infused water on a hot summer day.

I have been keeping a pitcher of cucumber water in the fridge, and my daughter and I have been drinking it constantly.

You can add mint, melon, or limes to it to enhance the water further. This morning I added a cut up lime, but generally I  just have cucumber in the water - it's a subtle taste, perfect for a summer day.

And it couldn't be simpler. Wash and slice one whole cucumber, throw it in the pitcher, fill with water. Easy peasy!

2. Infuse some spirits.


I'm a huge fan of infused spirits. I've tried everything, including peppers in vodka, which made a great bloody mary!

It's so simple to do, and also makes a fantastic gift.

You can find my instructions in this post and I'll tell you, cucumber tequila makes a killer margarita!

3. Make pickles.

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I know, duh, that's so obvious. But it wasn't to me.
 
I admit, I am not a pickle fan. But when faced with a mountain of cucumbers, what's a girl to do?

My sweetie likes pickles, so I was quite happy to experiment with a couple of different recipes.

I did some searching online and settled on these two recipes.

The first is from Minced Blog - Sweet & Spicy Refrigerator Pickles. I have to say, although I'm not a pickle fan, I have to try one of these! The spice mixture that goes into them is a blend of cinnamon, allspice, mustard seed, coriander, bay leaves, ginger, chilies, cloves, black pepper, mace and cardamom. How can you go wrong?
 
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The second pickle recipe came from The Kitchn, for their Garlic Dill Refrigerator Pickles.
 
Sweetie specifically requested garlic dill pickles, and I was happy to oblige.
 
The only change I made was to double the garlic, because seriously folks, GARLIC!
 
I'm not sure how tempted I am to try these, we'll see. I'll give them a sniff when my sweetie is eating one and see if they speak to me.
 
Stay tuned on that one.
 
4. Make Tzatziki Sauce.
 
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I don't know if you remember, but my younger daughter took a trip to Greece this past May with her honey.  She had the most wonderful time, and came home completely raving about the food.
 
Since then, I've been meaning to make a few dishes that my dear Greek friend makes, it just hasn't happened yet.
 
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One that's high on my list is Pastitsio.....oh my gosh, talk about YUM!! The only thing that's been stopping me since we started talking about it after my daughter's trip is the fact that it's been summer! This is most definitely a fall/winter dish. And it's happening, believe me!
 
This recipe from The Brown Eyed Baker looks fantastic, the only thing I'd do differently is to use all beef and no lamb.
 
I'm not a lamb person.....baaahhhhhh.
 
Sorry.
 
Anyway, for this time of year, a better Greek dish is Chicken Gyro.
 
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This recipe from Recipe Tin Eats is on tonight's menu.
 
Yup, that's right. The chicken is marinating in the fridge, and the Tzatziki sauce is already made as well. It's best made a day before so the flavors can meld.
 
I used this recipe from the Food Network's website, the only thing I did differently was to double the garlic.
 
Yup, again.
 
Did I mention how much I love garlic?
 
Not only do you use cucumbers in the sauce, you can also chop cucumbers on top of the Gyro.
 
Win/win!
 
5. Make this awesome creamy cucumber salad.
 
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This is one of my favorite salads to make when I need to use up cucumbers. It's so refreshing, and has just the right hint of dill, which of course is the perfect flavor accompaniment to enhance cucumbers.
 
Again, it's a recipe from the Food Network's website, for Creamy Cucumber Salad.  It's so simple, takes almost no time at all, but should be made in advance for the flavors to come together.
 
So, there you have it, five ways I've been using up the mountain of cucumbers we've been blessed with this season.
 
How do you use up cucumbers? I sure could use a few more ideas!

30 comments:

  1. You've come up with some great ways to use cucumbers! The only way I can think of that I've used them consistently was in salads.
    Brenda

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    1. Funny enough I'm not a huge fan of them in salads unless I make a Greek Salad!

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  2. I'm a huge fan of cucumber salads and cucumbers in general. They are so fresh tasting, especially from the garden! :)

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    1. The ones from the garden are a far cry from the ones you find in the supermarket, Kim!

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  3. Oh goodness, I love cucumbers. I like sandwiches, water, salad and any way you can use them.

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    1. I have never had a cucumber sandwich, Marty - I'll have to try that out!

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  4. I love cucumbers, since I was a small girl I would beg my mum to leave me a piece of cucumber when she was preparing a salad for tea.
    I have trouble keeping them in the fridge for any length of time and have found if I use them in the onion and vinegar mixture, they last much longer. You've shared some lovely recipes with us. Thank you !
    ~Jo

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    1. No doubt the vinegar helps preserve them for longer, Jo!

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  5. Lots of great ideas here, Deb. My favorite is a cucumber sandwich made on 7 grain bread with mayo, lettuce, salt and pepper. My garden gave us many this year, too. You don't leave the mouse house without one in each pocket. :)

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    1. Ha ha, Deb - I can just imagine you sneaking cucumbers into your guests pockets and handbags!! I must try a cucumber sandwich, I never have!

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  6. On I want to make Tzatziki sauce! And I plan to make some pickles for the first time soon.
    Lisa

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    1. Those two recipes I tried were pretty easy, Lisa!

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  7. I agree that zucchini are easier to deal with, even just shredding and freezing them. But you can't do that with cucumbers! I've told my husband that every meal with have cucumbers with it for the next couple of weeks. -Jenn

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    1. Same here, Jenn! Every meal for the past few weeks has had either cucumbers or zucchini in it! Tomatoes are next!

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  8. Do you like benedictine? Benedictine on whole wheat with bacon and sprouts. YUM! Oh, wait, I just looked it up and evidently its a Louisville, Kentucky thing (where I am) so you probably haven't heard of it. Look up the recipe. I think you'll love it!

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    1. Ok, Diane, you have piqued my interest - I now have to look this up! Thanks for the tip!! :)

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  9. We love cukes...one favorite is the old way of sliced cucumbers, sliced onion, some slice peppers in vinegar water. We always put ice cubes on top to chill the whole bit. Pinterest will have a ton of ideas. When the cukes in the garden get too big and seedy to eat, the chickens love them.

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    1. When they get to big and seedy to eat that's when they are perfect for infusing alcohol, Donna! :)

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  10. I LOVE all of your ideas for cucumbers and I totally forgot about the cucumber water. It is so good in the summer. I would take a few off your hands if I lived closer! I love eating them raw but I do love tzatziki sauce and the cucumber salad looks so good. Here's another way to use them....on your eyes for a refreshing eye lift! I know, nothing new :-)

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    1. Don't think that thought hasn't crossed my mind, AnnMarie....these tired old eyes sure could use a lift!! :)

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  11. I wish I had a little of your problem. My cukes did nothing this year. I do add a little grated zucchini to my spaghetti sauce also! Nancy

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    1. I just had some of the leftover chili I made with zucchini in it and I swear you wouldn't know it's in there at all, Nancy! Zucchini is so versatile, it's amazing what you can sneak it into!

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  12. Hi Debbie! You are truly one amazing little one! I'm not a fan of cucumbers but love a little bit in a salad and I love to put a few slices in water - tastes so fresh! Now I'm embarrassed showing my little flower bed after looking at all of your green thumbness! Thanks for popping in to see me.
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia :)

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    1. Hey, my garden is a jungle, Shelia - your garden looks like a professional put it in!!

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  13. I made some pickle relish last year with my bounty of cukes, for my husband. I'm not much of a relish fan, but he will eat it with a spoon out of the jar! Silly boy. Anyway, I made a batch of a dozen jelly jars chock full of the relish and they were gone sometime last spring! And then he whined that he didn't have any relish. The sad thing is that I don't have any cukes this year! We had a nasty heat wave just after I got them in the ground, and I assumed our automatic watering system was working, and it wasn't. You know what they say about assume. Anyway, all the plants fried. Oh well. There's always next year.

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    1. Wow, Vickie, too bad we're not closer I could dump a bunch of cukes off on you!! I tried one of the sweet and sour pickles and I have to say I did NOT hate it!! It had a wonderful after taste of clove or something - not what I expected at all!

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  14. Deb first of all I made pickles a few years ago using this recipe ( probably similar to yours ) and it was a huge success : http://www.frugallittlebungalow.com/making-delicious-pickles-little-kids/

    As to the infused water I learned about that from my DIL / she used lemon and cukes / a recent one that I tried was lemon, cukes, ginger root and some apple cider vinegar...I really liked that one! :)

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    1. Thanks for the link to your pickle recipe, Deb! I'll have to make more since I gave away a few jars to my sister last night!

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  15. You lucky, lucky girl! I absolutely LOVE cucumbers and was sorry to not have been able to grow any this year. Every one of these recipes looks delish! I love the idea of infusing spirits.

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    1. My sister enjoyed a couple of Cucumber Margaritas at our family dinner last night, Pattie - yummmmm!!

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