Fresh Food Friday: Cucumbers

Hi! I hope everyone had a fantastic fourth of July! This Friday let's talk about cucumbers, shall we?

I have actually picked four cucumbers this year already! Here's some cukes we grew another year. This year we are growing cucumbers on a trellis, and it's been a win-win. The cucumbers are growing great, and we're happy they aren't taking up tons of ground space.

I guess this is the part where I tell you I don't like cucumbers. I like the flavor, just not the texture. So we try to get a little more creative in how we eat them. I know I just shared this cool cucumber soup recipe when we talked about herbs (because of the mint in it), but it is a great way to use up cucumbers and it's a refreshing lunch on a hot day.

Before we had kids we would often just make a bunch of appetizers for dinner. If you are looking for an appetizer to bring to bring to a party, try replacing the traditional veggie tray with a plate of gourmet-looking cucumber slices:

Cucumber Cream Cheese Appetizers
Mix fresh (chopped) herbs like rosemary, chives or dill into a block of cream cheese. Use a frosting bag with a star tip to pipe cream cheese onto cucumber rounds, or just spread a little on each slice. Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper, and garnish with a few sprigs of whatever herb you mixed into the cream cheese.

Last week we were eating at Food Truck Night, and I had a cucumber soda, and we thought, maybe we could make this? So we did some experimenting and found not only could we make cucumber, but just about any flavor we wanted! It's a whole new world of soda, my friends. Here's the easy directions:

Cucumber Soda 

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 cucumber
1 bunch of spearmint sprigs
sparkling seltzer water

(This is actually the cinnamon basil flavor....we'll get to that : ) )

Chop 1/2 the cucumber into small chunks. Slice the other half into thin rounds. Roughly chop a handful of mint. Stir sugar and water together over medium heat. When sugar is dissolved add cucumber chunks and chopped mint. Heat to just boiling, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and allow to cool 10 minutes or so, again stirring once in a while. Strain out the cucumber and mint, and store the syrup in an air tight container in the fridge until you are ready to mix up your soda. 

When you are ready to make the soda, fill tall glasses with ice and add 3 tbsp of the syrup, then fill with the sparkling seltzer water. 

Add a few slices of cucumber and a sprig of mint to each, stir well and enjoy!

 Here's a couple other variations we tried, take out the cucumber and mint and try:

Cinnamon Basil: cinnamon basil sprigs, and garnish with the basil as well.
Lavender Mint: lavender blossoms and a handful of chopped mint. Garnish with a sprig of each.

For our 4th of July picnic we set up a little herbal soda bar so everyone could try all the flavors. It was fun to do something different.

We are really enjoying our new herbal sodas, and I hope you will too! Thanks for reading!


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