Japanese Cucumber (sort of like the English cucumber/no seeds)


Did you know this about Cucumbers? I thought they were just to put in salad. Sometimes I make Namasu, which is a Japanese cucumber salad made with thinly sliced Japanese cucumbers and a sweet/tart dressing made with rice vinegar/sugar/mirin. You can also peel some carrot shreds into the ‘salad’.

Here is the recipe: Combine 1 cup sugar, 1 cup vinegar, juice of one lemon plus 1 tablespoon of zest, (it is easier to get the zest off the lemon before you squeeze it) and if you put lemon in microwave first for about 20 seconds, it will yield more juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon of mirin (Japanese sweet cooking wine) and if you are a purist one tablespoon of rinsed and minced dried shrimp. I have never done this last step, as I wouldn’t even know where to buy dried shrimp. (and I live in Hawaii)

I once read a book called “Why a Cucumber is better than a Man”. And their are lots of cucumber jokes out there.

But here are a few things about the lowly cucumber that you might not have suspected. And here is one that I have always done when I prepare a cucumber for a salad.

Peel the cucumber with a vegatable peeler. Run a fork down the whole length of the cucumber all the way around. (Fork tines down). This will take about five or six strokes. Then slice thinly and you will have a nice scalloped border around each slice.

1. Cucumbers contain most of the vitamins you need every day, just one cucumber contains Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B6, Folic Acid, Vitamin C, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium and Zinc.

2. Feeling tired in the afternoon, put down the caffeinated soda and pick up a cucumber. Cucumbers are a good source of B Vitamins and Carbohydrates that can provide that quick pick-me-up that can last for hours.

3. Tired of your bathroom mirror fogging up after a shower? Try rubbing a cucumber slice along the mirror, it will eliminate the fog and provide a soothing, spa-like fragrance.

4. Are grubs and slugs ruining your planting beds? Place a few slices in a small pie tin and your garden will be free of pests all season long. The chemicals in the cucumber react with the aluminum to give off a scent undetectable to humans but drive garden pests crazy.

So there you go. Next time you see cucumbers on sale in the market, buy a few and get busy cleaning your mirrors.