Cucumbers are sweet except when they are a tad bitter.
Choose cucumbers for their sweetness and refreshing cleanness or for their green grassy astringency and crispness. Sometimes you don’t know which cucumber you will get until you bring it in from the garden and taste it.
Always cucumbers are cooling and refreshing—they are, after all, more than 90 percent water.
The best cucumbers are well-shaped, firm, and have a deep green color (unless you have a lemon cucumber). Garden cucumbers do not need to be peeled, but you can. (Cucumbers from the grocery may have been waxed to keep them fresh—you’ll want to skin them.)
Peel a cucumber with a paring knife or a vegetable slicer; to seed a cucumber, cut it lengthwise in half and scoop out the seeds with a teaspoon.
Match bitter cucumbers with sour ingredients to knock back the bitterness—goat cheese, yogurt, dill, or vinegar, or add a pinch of sugar.
Sliced garden-fresh cucumbers are tasty on buttered bread—white, whole wheat, or rye cut almost paper thin. Dress sliced fresh cucumbers with sour cream or yogurt—just enough to coat them or serve sliced cucumbers with feta, olives, tomatoes, and onions.
Try these sliced cucumber flavor matches:
- cucumber + vinegar (balsamic, cider, red wine, rice wine, sherry, tarragon, white wine)
- cucumber + sea salt
- cucumber + sugar (a pinch)
- cucumber + chopped dill
- cucumber + chopped basil
- cucumber + sliced tomato
- cucumber + chopped cilantro
- cucumber + sour cream
- cucumber + melon (try Galia variety)
- cucumber + salmon
- cucumber + shrimp
- cucumber + sliced fennel
- cucumber + sliced onion or sliced scallions
- cucumber + dill + salmon
- cucumber +dill + yogurt
- cucumber + avocado + squeeze of lemon
- cucumber + goat cheese + parsley
- cucumbers + strawberries + cream cheese
- cucumber + mint + yogurt
- cucumber + mango + red onion
- cucumber + garlic + mint + yogurt
- cucumber + chile peppers + mint + yogurt
- cucumber + jalapeño + dill + onion
- cucumber + lemon + sesame oil + vinegar
- cucumber + chervil + salt +vinegar
- cucumber + rice vinegar + salt + pepper + basil
- cucumber +cider vinegar + salt + pepper + scallions
- cucumber + cilantro + ginger + sugar + rice vinegar
- cucumber + dill + red onion + sour cream + vinegar
- cucumber + rice wine vinegar + garlic + red bell pepper + carrot
- cucumber + red onion + plain yogurt + dill + white wine vinegar + sugar
- cucumber + feta cheese + garlic + mint + olive oil +oregano + red wine vinegar
- cucumber + feta cheese + garlic + mint + olive oil + oregano + red wine vinegar