Wednesday, July 20, 2016

10 Things To Do With Cucumbers

Raw Cucumber and Radish Salad with Lemon Dill Dressing.

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Preparing for my Cucumber Harvest
Yesterday I picked the first cucumber from my garden. I'm actually surprised that I got to eat it since my friend and neighbor, Pam, has been carefully monitoring and hovering over the plant for the last few weeks! But this is a very prolific plant so there will be lots more to come and  soon I'll be begging people to come get them.

Cucumbers are my "go to" diet food in the summer. When I need a snack, I just peel a cucumber and munch away. A small cucumber is only 16 calories and is a very good source of vitamin C and K and a good source of B vitamins such as B6, folate, and pantothenic acid as well as some important minerals like magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, and manganese. It's also a good source of dietary fiber.

Here are 10 Things to do with Cucumbers

#1 Salad
The most common way to use a raw cucumber is in a salad. Here are a few recipes you can enjoy:

Italian Vegan Antipasto Salad
Crunchy and cool summer salad

#2 Sushi
Cucumbers make a great ingredient in any kind of sushi, whether it be in traditional fish sushi or one that's vegan. For a Veggie Sushi Roll recipe with Ginger-Tahini Sauce, download my eBook, Health Begins in the Kitchen.

Veggie Sushi Roll from my eBook

#3 Smoothies
Raw cucumbers are great to put into a smoothie. It gives the smoothie a nice texture and provides all the dietary fiber, vitamins and minerals listed above. Try the recipe for Green Chia Seed Blast.

Green Chia Seed Blast, inspired by VegeNation

#4 Raw Soup
Cucumbers are a nice, crunchy ingredient for a raw gazpacho or Avospacho Soup

Avospacho Soup

You may also want to try this raw Creamy Vegan Garden Cucumber Soup.

Creamy Garden Cucumber Soup

#5 Pickles
I've often written about the importance of eating fermented foods. Here's a recipe for making Probiotic-Rich Fermented Pickles.

Fermented Pickles

# 6 Cucumber Tea Sandwich
Cucumber tea sandwiches are just a simple sandwich with thinly sliced English cucumbers with cream cheese and a sprinkle of fresh dill on white bread. A healthier version of this would be to use Kite Hill's Vegan Cream Cheese Style Spread made from a cultured almond milk. And you can also upgrade the bread to one with whole grain. 

Of course, thinly sliced cucumbers make a nice addition to any sandwich!

A great non-dairy substitute for cream cheese

#7 Base for Hors D'Oeuvres 
Making hors d'oeuvres? Instead of crackers, use slices of cucumber as the base. Your gluten-sensitive guests will appreciate it!

Cucumbers as a gluten-free base for hors d'oeuvres.

#8 On your Eyes
Cucumbers contain compounds that reduce the puffiness and lighten dark circles around the eyes. The classic picture of a person at the spa always includes someone relaxing with cucumber slices on their eyes.

Picture from LifeCell products

#9 Cucumber Water
For delicious, hydrating water, just throw a few slices of cucumber in your water. I drink a lot more water when it has a little flavor! And when you are serving guests, a few slices of cucumber in the water pitcher makes your water look a bit fancier.

# 10 Salsa
Cucumbers can provide a bit of crunch to your salsa. Make a simple mango salsa with 1 sliced Manila mango, a finely diced small, peeled cucumber, a diced avocado, 2 tablespoons of red onion, a chopped jalapeño, 2 tablespoons of fresh cilantro all tossed with a tablespoon of fresh lime juice. Salt to taste and serve with healthy chips.

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