Seasonal Cooking with Rita Calvert~The Local Cook
Time to plant and time to plan the recipes for the really big yield. Last year seems to have been great for cucumber growing as I took a poll. I know I had fabulous success with the Tasty Jade variety as it comically drooped down through the slanted trellis. Homestead Gardens has cucumber plant starts in house with more on the way and, of course, there are seeds packets aplenty. Here is a list of the most popular cucumber plants we have and they go quickly.
Make sure to see the stellar cucumber salad recipe further down in the post.
45-50 days-A mini plant with major production. Bush Pickle bends the cucumber rules by not vining out and gobbling up garden space like most cukes do. The plants maintain a 24-30 inch diameter so you can cultivate them in containers, or tuck them into gardens where space is at a premium. Jade green, straight, cylindrical fruit are best picked at 5 inches long or under for prime quality. Plants yield large amounts of crispy fruit that are equally delicious fresh or pickled.
The Burpless Variety
Burpless' cucumbers, both American and Asian types, contain low or no cucurbitacin, the compound that causes bitterness and increases one's susceptibility to 'burping' after eating the fruits.
54 days-By far the sweetest flavor you'll find in any burpless..Crisp, mild and easy on the digestion. Its gynoecious vines tolerate scab and mosaic virus; produce firm 14-inch fruits. Full Sun, Height: 6-8 inches, Spread: 36 inches
54 days-Early, slender Japanese cucumbers
Vigorous, high-yielding plants produce glossy, thin-skinned, 11-12" long fruit with crisp, fresh flavor. Suitable for outdoor or greenhouse culture. Trellis for straight fruit. Intermediate resistance to downy mildew and powdery mildew.
45 days- One of the earliest cucumbers that set bitter free fruit without cross pollination. The unique thin skin is dark green, sweet and juicy.
45 days-Extra early and extra heavy yields. produces a big crop of 8½” fruit perfect for slicing and pickles. Dark green fruit are straight, with very few spines and almost no yellow belly. Strong plants have good disease resistance and tolerance.
Crunch Salad with Roasted Carrot Hummus
Sweet lettuce leaves from your garden, paper thin wafers of veggies, roasted carrot hummus tied together with a zesty dressing give you a salad loaded with texture from 3 different flavorful layers. The carrot hummus, the vegetable crunch layer and the dressing can all be used for multiple purposes.
The components can each be made a day in advance.
If you have a mandoline (an inexpensive Asian plastic one works just fine) use it to get consistent paper thin slices of the vegetables.
- 2 cups cucumber slices
- 1 cup radish slices
- 1/2 cup celery slices
- 1/2 cup roasted bell pepper, diced
- 2 small scallions, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
- 2 cups whole leaves delicate lettuces
- Miso Sesame Salad Dressing
- Roasted carrot hummus
- Garnish-chopped peanuts or almonds, toasted
In a medium bowl combine the cucumber, radish, celery, roasted bell pepper, scallions and sesame seeds. Drizzle with about 2 tablespoons of the dressing and toss.
Miso Sesame Salad Dressing
Makes about 1/2 cup
- 1 teaspoon miso
- 2 tablespoons seasoned rice wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 3 tablespoons peanut oil
Roasted Carrot Hummus
Makes about 2 cups
- 1 pound carrots (about 6 large), scrubbed and cut into 1/2-inch slices
- 6 cloves garlic (skins still on)
- 1 tablespoon plus 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided use
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin, divided use
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/4 cup tahini
- juice and grated zest of 1 medium lemon
Preheat the oven to 450°F.
In a roasting pan or on a large rimmed baking sheet, combine the carrots, oil, 1-1/2 teaspoons cumin, and salt. Roast the carrots, stirring occasionally and add the garlic after 15 minutes. Roast until tender and browned, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove the skin from the garlic.
Place the carrots and garlic in a food processor and pulse until chopped. Add the tahini, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, lemon juice, and lemon zest; pulse until blended. Drizzle in the 1/4 cup olive oil.
Transfer hummus to bowl.
Layer each plate with the lettuce leaves then add a layer of the sliced salad. Top with a mound of roasted carrot hummus. Sprinkle with toasted peanuts. Drizzle with more dressing.