Welcome back to The Farm Stand, your weekly guide to seasonal Southern produce.
This week, we’re all about cucumbers, and so is every bar south of the Mason Dixon from Houston’s Anvil Bar and Refuge to The Sparetime in Savannah. Maybe the phrase should go something more like hot as a cucumber?
But don’t call it a comeback. While you might be finding the universally beloved veggie on myriad menus lately—stuffed in pig ear lettuce wraps and pureed in soups—Southerners have been enjoying cucumbers for generations in everything from aspics to chicken salad. And of course, we use them for doing what we do best: making pickles.
So if you’re reading this from under the mountain of cucumbers from your backyard garden or if you need an idea for the ones you bought at the farmers market, we’re here to help.
- Choose the right variety for what you plan to make. Kirbys are perfect for that freezer pickle recipe you’ve been planning to try, and English cucumbers don’t need to be peeled, which makes them great for relishes and salads.
- Avoid cucumbers that could sub in for a Louisville Slugger. Look for smaller ones that are dark green, solid and uniform in shape.
- Compared to the wilting and weeping of most summer produce, cucumbers have staying power. Wrapped in plastic, they can keep for a week in the refrigerator. If you’ve bought yours at the grocery store, they have likely been waxed and keep for even longer.
- If a small primate with a Santoku could produce better results than your knife skills, invest in a mandolin. Not only will you get magazine page-worthy slices, but you can use it to achieve even cuts for oddly shaped veggies like carrots, radishes and more.
What To Make
While pickles are a great way to solve cuke overload, not to mention one of mankind’s greatest innovations, we have a trove of other ways to enjoy them worth trying. Check out our cucumber recipes below and let us know your favorite ways to use them.