Cucumber

Cucumber

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From
Encyclopedia of Food and Cookery

This member of the gourd family is usually eaten as a salad vegetable, but its delicate and distinctive flavour is very good in soups and hot vegetable dishes too. Hot or cold, it makes an attractive container for other foods; its refreshing coolness makes it important as a curry accompaniment. It makes the most elegant of tea sandwiches, and an outstandingly good and easily prepared pickle.

Varieties include green cucumbers, some as long as 50 cm, pale round apple cucumbers and small rough-skinned, pickling cucumbers. White or golden-skinned, long varieties are claimed to be ‘burpless’ and easy to digest. Store cucumbers in the refrigerator crisper and use within a week.

Basic preparation: Green cucumbers may be left unpeeled, scored lengthways with a fork and sliced into thin rounds, or may be lightly peeled so that some of the green remains and cut into slices, sticks or cubes. Seeds may be scooped out or not, as preferred. Apple cucumbers are peeled and cut up as desired. Raw cucumber may be dégorged to make it more digestible and make the flavour milder (this also wilts it). To dégorge, sprinkle slices with salt and leave to drain in colander for 30 minutes. Rinse before using.

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