If you have been reading The Paisley Carrot for a while now, you know I’m crazy for cucumbers. If you are just tuning in you should know, I’m crazy for cucumbers. I really love growing cucumbers of any sort, but this year I have a new (to me) variety that is trying to pry top accolades from the tendril grip of the Lemon Cuke.
This brilliant new (to me) garden star is the White Wonder Cucumber. Today it’s the throwback.
The first date I found about when cucumbers were definitely being cultivated for widespread consumption is 1494. However, they are said to have been in India much earlier than that. One thing that I found interesting from the 1600’s in England, it was thought that eating fresh vegetables would kill you. This was a fair bit before GMO’s and pesticides so, what was it that made them think this?
I dunno but in 1663 cucumbers were deemed, “Fit only for consumption by cows” and one guy wrote in his journal: “This day Sir W. Batten tells me that Mr. Newhouse is dead of eating cowcumbers, of which the other day I heard of another, I think.” (September 22, 1663, from the journal of Samuel Pepys.
They had very lucky cows I suppose.
The White Wonder is a great cucumber for a few reasons. Let me share some of those with you.
1) They are easy going. I have found them to be resilient in terms of transplant, pests and most importantly, heat and related weather conditions.
2) Extremely prolific-the first of my cucumbers to set fruit and now they just keep on coming. I love it!
3) This kind of goes with number 2 but, they are very orderly. Lemon cucumbers like to grow to their full length then set flowers, then set fruit. The White Wonder went about midway up the trellis, set flowers, set fruit, went the rest of the way up and did it all again. Now they just stay in their little compost heaven, pumping out cucumbers like nobodies business.
4) They are the coolest color! They start out this ethereal white color then they yellow up a bit. They’re so pretty.
5) They taste incredible! They are crisp and so sweet, like candy from the garden. They are just plain delicious!
Last Friday on “Feed Me, Friday” I gave you the menu for a summer, late lunch, early supper. I mentioned cucumber soup. Today, I’ll give you that recipe. This soup can be served hot or cold.
- 2 cucumbers
- 2 tablespoons thinly sliced green onion
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 Cloves pressed garlic
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon farina
- salt to taste
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
*Note: In my original recipe from Junior League, it called for 1/8 teaspoon tarragon. I don’t care for tarragon, so I leave it out. Also, if I remember correctly, the fresh basil was fresh parsley, but I use basil. And finally, I also recall that recipe did not have the garlic, we like garlic so I use it, you could leave it out if it’s a problem for you.
- Chop and seed the cucumbers (I leave the skin on, but you can peel if you want)
- Cook the chopped scallions and garlic in the butter until soft. Add the chopped cucumbers and the wine vinegar. Pour in the broth, and stir in the farina. Salt to taste, and add basil. Let the soup simmer for 20 minutes, or until the cucumbers are soft.
- Put the soup into a blender, and puree it.
- Pour the puree into a bowl, and whisk in the sour cream. Taste the soup for seasoning. Pour the soup into bowls, and garnish with cucumber slices and chopped basil.
This is also a great one to can with the pressure cooker*. Just follow steps 1-3 then use your pressure cooker* canning directions and put some up for the winter. When you get ready to use it, whisk in the sour cream, taste for seasoning and garnish. Brilliant!
*There is no acid in this recipe (oh, I guess a tiny bit from the vinegar) or at least not enough to make it safe for water bath canning. You must use a pressure cooker to can this. I’ve never tried freezing it, if anyone has any thoughts on that, I’d love to hear them.
The White Wonder cucumber is the star of the cucumber garden this year so far. If the Lemon cucumbers don’t get on their game, they could be ousted as the Gunz family favorite. (There’s not really much danger in that, I just like to keep them on their toes) We’ll have garlic dills a plenty and be all the happier for it.
Have a great Thursday!~KeriAnne