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Kitchen Gardening

All We Need is Our Lemon Cucumbers

Every year since I can remember, we've over-planted cucumbers. This year, we ended the cuke parade.

  • Here's my lemon cucumbers just before we started slicing...mmm..mmm
    Photo/Illustration: Chris McLaughlin
  • Here's some lemon cukes sliced uop with 'Cherokee Purple' heirloom tomatoes. Hello, summer!
    Photo/Illustration: Chris McLaughlin
  • Here's the semi-pickled lemon cukes by husband-extraordinaire.
    Photo/Illustration: Chris McLaughlin

Every year since I can remember, we’ve over-planted cucumbers. We planted them for different sizes – some for pickling, some for slicing. We also wanted to try different varieties and to compare cucumber flavors. This year, we ended the cuke parade. We decided to plant simply one variety; the lemon cucumber.

Once of the reasons we chose it was because they’re not easily found into in a grocery store and they’re downright festive. We actually put our faith into two lemon cucumber plants – literally. I planted two seedlings up against this darling, rusty, iron trellis and just let them do what comes natural.

True to the cucumber’s creed of long-line-of-healthy-and-amazing-growth…they both took off. And we’re once again loaded with cucumbers. All that was necessary to pull that off this time were two little seedlings.

Lovely Lemon Cucumbers

Oh, how we love our lemon cukes! They’re small (but not tiny), and have a satisfyingly-perfect, round shape. They’re bi-colored with deep yellow tomes and light yellow places – nearly striped.  They truly resemble little lemons, but don’t let that fool you. Lemon cukes don’t taste anything like lemons; their name reflects their cool looks only. The flavor is very cuke-like and they have a crisp texture that everyone seems to enjoy.

The Versatile Lemon Cucumber

These sunny guys can hang out in the fridge for quite a while and we’ve tossed generous amounts of thin slices into our summer salads. Husband-extraordinaire loves to semi-pickle them and let them hang out in the fridge for snacking. He basically puts the lemon cuke slices into a container and adds some rice vinegar and sugar then mixes well. He by-passes the water bath and salt…so they don’t keep like if they were canned (as if they would last anyway). No, this first group is for snacking only.

Any day now, we’ll have our next big harvest and we’ll go for the “real” pickling/canning with that batch. Cucumber relish is something that we haven’t tried and I’ve heard that lemon cucumbers are ideal for relish; so we’ll give that a go this year, too.

While I’ve given approximately three of these bad boys to my oldest daughter, we’re going to end up using every bit of our harvest. We haven’t had any to share! So, I’m thinking that next year we should add a just a couple more lemon cucumber plants. What kind of selfish gardener doesn’t share their cucumber harvest?

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