Fresh Eats Blog: Cucumbers

 In Market News

Here at the Coquitlam Farmers Market we are all about local, seasonal and sustainably grown produce. What better way to celebrate the summer months than a fresh take on some familiar foods! This week’s topic: cucumbers.

Did You Know?

Did you know the term “cool as a cucumber” comes from the cucumber’s ability to cool the temperature of blood? This is why they are included in skin regimes.

Cucumbers contain plenty of your daily vitamin and mineral intake, including Vitamin B, Folic Acid, Vitamin C, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, and Potassium.

Cucumbers are in season in South West British Columbia from August until October! Make sure you stop by the market this Sunday to try some of the province’s best!

Recipe of the Week

Salad- Stuffed Tomatoes 

Courtesy of MARTHA STEWART LIVING

Ingredients:

3 red potatoes
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 large tomatoes
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice (1/2 lemon)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cucumber, seeded and cut into 1 1/2-inch-long matchsticks
1/2 bunch arugula (1 1/3 cups), cut into thin strips
4 onions, peeled and cut into thin rounds

Directions:

Step 1- Place potatoes in a small saucepan; cover with salted water. Bring water to a boil, and cook potatoes until fork tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove pan from heat, and transfer potatoes to an ice-water bath until cool.

Step 2- Drain potatoes, and slice into 1 1/2-inch-long matchsticks; set aside.

Step 3- Slice off the tops of tomatoes; discard tops. Using a melon baller, scoop out the seeds and flesh; discard. Set the tomato “bowls” aside.

Step 4- In a small bowl, whisk together mustard, vinegar, and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in oil. Set vinaigrette aside.

Step 5- In a medium bowl, combine potatoes, cucumber, arugula, and onions. Add reserved vinaigrette; toss gently to combine. Divide salad among tomato bowls, and garnish with dill fronds, if available.

Ingredients at the Market

Cucumbers: Forstbauer Farms, Nutrigreens, Ripple Creek Organic Farm, Wah Fung Farm

Potatoes: Forstbauer Farms, Shen’s Farm, Never Say Die,

Tomatoes: Forstbauer Farms, Never Say Die, Ripple Creek Organic Farm

Arugula: Langley Organic Growers

Onions: Ripple Creek Organic Farm

Butter & Cheese: Golden Ears Cheescrafters

Other Greens and Vegetables: Amazia Farm, Floralia Growers, Forstbauer Farms, Langley Organic Growers, Never Say Die Farm, Ripple Creek Organic Farm, Shen’s Farm, Wah Fung Farm

Steps on How To Grow

Cucumber Planting 101:

Step 1- Since cucumbers are so easy to grow, feel free to plant your seeds directly into your garden in May! Cucumbers can grow in partial shade but for optimal growth, place them in as much sun as possible. When planting outside, make sure you are using a raised plant bed for the best drainage. If you are growing them inside, supplement sunlight with a growing light and transplant into a pot.  If you have a later start for planting, purchasing starter plants is ok too!  Just ensure you plant these by June 1.

Step 2- Add organic fertilizer, compost or manure to improve growth. Since they are vine crops, so it’s best to grow cucumbers on a trellis to keep them up off the ground, which help reduce the chance of pests getting at your crop. This also helps them grow vertical and straight.

Step 3- Plant your cucumber seeds about 1 inch apart, and about 1/2 inches deep. You can either make a hole in the dirt and drop the seeds into it, or you place the seeds on top of the soil and gently press them in.

Step 4- If planting indoors, place one seed per seedling tray. Due to their growth rate, you will have to transfer the plant into a pot. Options range from pea, cow or plastic pots.

Step 5- Water once you have planted your seeds. Cucumbers love water, so ensure they are watered regularly so that the soil does not dry.

Step 6- Harvesting your plant could come sooner than you might expect because of their growth rate. Cut the cucumber off the vine instead of pulling it off. Pulling could damage the cucumber itself as well as the vine.

Note: If you wait too long to harvest, the cucumber could become very seedy. It is always wise to follow the instructions on that are specified on the package of seeds.

Cucumbers in B.C.

Cucumbers have been cultivated both in India and China for about 3,000 years! Did you know Christopher Columbus is generally given credit for introducing them to North America?

Cucumbers are considered a greenhouse vegetable in this province. The industry relies on state-of-the-art facilities and production practices to produce high-quality fresh vegetables.

Without this technology, cucumbers have a much shorter season in B.C. since this vegetable does not fair well in the cold.

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