How RefreshingAugust 3rd, 2020
This balmy weather we’ve been enjoying has us reaching for that most quintessential form of refreshment offered up by the garden: the English cucumber.
Cucumber (‘Cucumis Sativus’) is a creeping vine plant in the Cucurbitaceae gourd family. At its abundant peak in the summer months, it bears slightly sweet cucumiform fruits (do allow us to settle the ‘fruit or vegetable’ debate) with a melon-like aroma and refreshingly clean crispness.
We are growing four varieties in our Keder Greenhouses at Avalon Farm: ‘Piccolino’, ‘Carmen’, ‘Market More’ and ‘Pasandra’. Picked and packed every few days, they make their way to our fresh vegetable boxes or to be squished into our Apple, Cucumber, Spinach & Mint Juice.
Did you know that cucumbers are composed of 90% water?
Which means as well as being splendid in a sandwich and just right in a G&T, they are an exemplary source of hydration, providing magnesium, potassium and vitamin K – all vital for our cardiovascular system.
They are also a useful ingredient in the kitchen, their delicate bitterness lending itself to sour flavours. They get along quite happily with all vinegars (cyder, sherry, balsamic, red wine, white wine, rice wine); sour dairy such as yoghurt, crème fraiche and goats’ cheese, and Asian flavours such as sesame oil, coriander and chilli. You can also flavour match with salmon and seafood; members of the onion family, and sweet summer fruits like strawberry or melon.
Try our recipe overleaf for Cyder, Dill & Juniper Pickled Cucumber, to keep enjoying the cooling taste of cucumber long into the season.
Recipe: Cyder, Dill & Juniper Pickled Cucumber
“The aniseed liquorice flavours of dill and fennel lift the humble cucumber to a punchy pickle that sits so nicely with smoked fish” – Alan Stewart, Estate Head Chef.
To make the Cyder, Dill & Juniper Pickled Cucumbers:
- 4- 5 small cucumbers
- 150ml cyder vinegar
- 150ml cyder
- 200ml water
- 50g caster sugar
- 1tsp rock salt
- 20 sprigs dill
- 10 juniper berries
- 5 black peppercorns
- 1 large 1ltr Kilner Jar
- Cut the cucumbers into 2 inch long pieces and lace into a colander with rock salt. Allow them to sit for 20 minutes and then wash off.
- Place the rest of your ingredients, excluding the dill, into a pan and bring to the boil.
- Making sure the sugar has dissolved, remove from the heat and allow to cool.
- Pack the cucumbers and dill into a Kilner jar and pour over the liquid making sure all the cucumbers are submerged.
- Seal the jar and place in a deep pan cover with water ensuring the jar is submerged. Bring the pan to the boil and then allow to cool.
- Once cool remove the jar and the cucumbers will be pickled and preserved. These will last for up to 6 months out of the fridge.
(Keep in the fridge once opened)
Serve with smoked trout for a light summer lunch or supper.
We source ours from nearby Mere Trout, where the fish are hatched, reared, smoked and packed on the farm. The quality of the cool chalk stream water flowing through the farm enhances the flavour, as trout consume six times their body weight in water each day!
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