This week at the farmer’s market, cucumbers were everywhere! Big bushels, full to the brim with the refreshing little green cukes, beconing the market goers to take them home. I couldn’t resist the little beauties and have been having fun with them in the kitchen.
History: Belonging to the same family as watermelon, zucchini, pumpkin and other types of squash, Cucumbers originating in India over 3,000 years ago. They were listed among the foods of ancient UR and even got a mention in the legend of Gilgamesh.
Health Benefits: Cucumbers have a dark, green flesh that is high in vitamin C and also contains caffeic acid. Both help soothe skin irritations and reduce swelling. Cucumbers also contain the minerals potassium, magnesium and silica which is essential for healthy ligaments and healthy skin! Since they are also high in fiber and very hydrating. Most of the nutritional benefits are in the skin, so buy organic, wash them well and leave that skin on.
Types: Cucumbers come in 3 different types. Slicing, pickling and burpless. Slicers are the dark green ones that we are traditionally used to seeing. Pickling (pictured) cucumbers have more bumps on the skin, tend to be more uniform in length. They are usually shorter and thicker. Burpless…well the name pretty much tells it all.
Since I love bread and butter pickles, I decided to take a stab at a raw food recipe for them. Traditional recipes are based on vinegar and a lot of sugar. I substituted raw cider vinegar and agave. You can try this recipe with other sweeteners, too. Just add the sweetener to the vinegar a little at a time until it tastes balanced.
While pickles can be made from any cucumbers, I did use the pickling cucumbers for this recipe. It can be easily doubled.
- 4 cucumbers, sliced
- 1/2 sweet onion, sliced
- 2 tablespoon mustard seeds
- 2 cups cider vinegar (raw)
- 1/2 cup agave nectar or liquid sweetener of your choice (more or less to taste)
1. Mix together mustard seeds, vinegar and agave.
2. Put sliced cucumbers and onions in glass jar and pour liquid mixture over the top. Give it a stir and let sit in the fridge at least overnight.
These will keep for a couple of weeks, refrigerated.