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Cheap, Easy Cucumber Recipes

I always associate the dog days of summer with cucumbers, particularly the oversized, rather tough cukes that you can usually find dirt cheap this time of year at farmers markets and pick your own farms. With the tender cucumbers of early summer giving way to zeppelin-sized cukes of the late summer harvest, now through mid-September is the time to keep an eye open the biggest cucumbers you can find.

See also: More Summer Produce Recipes

Lots of people turn up their nose at cucumbers nearly the size of footballs – “too tough,” they say – but I love them, in part because cucumbers are usually priced by the cuke, rather than by the pound. So don’t be shy. Pick out the biggest, toughest looking cucumbers you can find, and then try serving them in these two delicious, inexpensive, easy to make recipes.

Stay cool this summer with this no-cook chilled soup.

Cold Cucumber-Yogurt Soup 

Puree all ingredients in a blender until smooth, then adjust for salt and pepper. Refrigerate overnight or until thoroughly chilled.  Garnish with thin slices of cucumber and/or fresh dill or mint, if desired.

Steamed Cucumber with Dill

Steaming tenderizes tough cucumbers and makes a delicious cooked vegetable, just like its cousins in the squash family.

Peel cucumber, cut in half lengthways, then scoop out and discard the seeds. Cut the flesh in half inch thick slices, like little half-moons. Bring 3/4 cup of water to a boil in a medium sauce pan, then add cucumbers and cover with a lid.  Steam until the water has evaporated and the cucumbers are starting to get slightly translucent (about 5-10 minutes). Stir in butter and dill and continue to cook over low heat just until butter is fully melted. Add salt and pepper to taste.

So next time you see a cucumber the size of a watermelon, take advantage of some late summer savings by bringing it home your kitchen and trying these recipes. Bon appe-cheap!

Photo courtesy of Jeff Yeager