Cool as a cucumber
Cucumbers are the unsung heroes of many dishes, and not simply reserved for the oh-so-British cucumber sandwich.
They may not always be the main event, but they add a distinctive flavour to everything from salads, to desserts.
It's the perfect time of year for cucumbers, so we thought it was about time they were given the spotlight.
Since they're also low in calories and rich in vitamin K, there's nothing stopping you from enjoying them to the full.
What to look for when buying a cucumber...
- Rich, dark colour
- Firm to the touch
- Good, consistent shape
- Good weight, for their size
- Soft or squishy
- Light in weight, for their size
- Oddly shaped
- Shrivelled appearance
- Both the skin and the seeds of cucumbers are both rich in nutrients and can be consumed.
- Try nibbling cucumber between courses or serving it alongside stronger, varied flavours, as it works as an effective palate-cleansing garnish.
- Marinated cucumber makes a tasty accompaniment to dishes - try a blend of herbs and spices for maximum flavour.
- Blend peeled cucumbers with water, ice and fresh mint for a refreshing zesty drink.
Simply wash the cucumbers under running water, then chop or slice.
Storing and keeping
Although many people store cucumber in the fridge, this actually causes them to perish more quickly. The best way to store cucumber is at room temperature. They are also sensitive to ethylene, a chemical given off by bananas and tomatoes, among others. Store your cucumbers away from them where possible.
How should I use cucumber?
The best thing about cucumbers is ther versatility. When raw, they're a great addition to salads, sandwiches and desserts.
But they're also delicious when cooked too. It's best to avoid slower cooking due to their high water content, but more gentle methods like lightly frying are perfect.
Recipes to make the most of fresh cucumber
White bean tuna salad
Chargrilled veg salsa
Green summer soup