Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Lemon Cucumbers: A Gardener's Summer Treat

Heirloom vegetables are really cool, in particular these little yellow cucumbers that are called "lemon cucumbers." Their name is a little misleading... it refers only to their appearance and not to their flavor, which is distinctly cucumberish. They're also a gem of the garden, producing massive amounts of delicious fruits for almost no effort in terms of upkeep. I enjoyed one earlier with a little salt and balsamic vinegar, though they're almost equally delicious just with a pinch of salt or all on their own.lemon cucumbers with balsamic vinegarAs you can see by the uncut cucumber in the background, these cucumbers are almost round and quite yellow. The skin isn't quite as thick as with the long green (usual) cucumbers, and they're only rarely bitter anywhere within the flesh. Obviously they also make a nice slicing cucumber, though the slices of lemon cucumbers are a bit larger than what you're used to with the regular green ones.

These plants are magnificent if you're a cucumber-lover. First of all, they're easy to take care of. Second of all, they produce a LOT of cucumbers. Last year, we grew eight plants thinking that would be a nice supply. It was overload! We grew two this year because there were many times last summer that we would have thirty or more cucumbers in our kitchen. That's just too many. The flesh is also tender and juicy, and as I said, it's never been bitter in my experience. Furthermore, the flavor is characteristically cucumber although as if it has just a pinch of natural saltiness, not enough to make them preferable without salt but just enough to make them great without the addition.

These are really a gift of the season! If you garden, then you should definitely consider these in the future.

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