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Saturday, February 16, 2008

I'm Hungry for Real Cucumbers

Don’t even ask me if you can have some of my homegrown cucumbers.

If you’ve read about my summer squash and peppers, you might get the impression that I garden just so that I can give away the produce. I do give away a lot of my harvest, but no one gets any cucumbers until I have had my fill of them, and it takes me awhile to get tired of cucumbers, especially homegrown cucumbers.

I know some people who say they can’t eat cucumbers because it causes them some sort of “gastric distress” or excessive burping. That’s caused by a compound called cucurbitacin. If you are one of those people, life is too short to not enjoy eating homegrown cucumbers, so you should look for so-called “burpless” varieties of cucumbers which contain less of this compound. Then if you occasionally belch after eating them, just say “excuse me” and continue to enjoy your cucumbers.

Or do what I do and peel the outer skin off your cucumbers and then eat them.

Whatever you have to do to be able to eat cucumbers is worth it because homegrown cucumbers are so much different and better tasting than anything you might buy at a grocery store. Those waxed up uniform looking, watery, grocery store cucumbers are okay in very small quantities, but I repeat, they are not the same as home grown cucumbers.

This year, as in past years, I’m going to grow a smaller pickling type cucumber but I don’t plan to make pickles. I’ll just eat them for snacks. I've chosen a new variety called 'Homemade Pickles' to try.

I’ll also grow a ‘regular size’ cucumber, the variety ‘Bush Crop’, for slicing onto salads.

Both of these are ‘bush’ or short vine cucumbers, which are smaller plants, growing more like zucchini squash, so they are easier to grow in smaller gardens. There are also vining cucumbers, often referred to as long vines, which are good to grow if you happen to have a sturdy fence for them to grow on.

Just writing this post, I’ve made myself crave a good homegrown cucumber. Dang! I told myself I was going to be strong these last few weeks of winter. Store bought just won’t do. I need some fresh produce. I need a gardening fix. Hurry up, spring and summer! I’m hungry for real cucumbers!

19 comments:

steven said...

A home-grown cuke is a good five months off. The grocery store ones just won't do. I'm glad I have a basement fridge full of pickles to get me through the winter.

Lois J. de Vries said...

Many years ago I read that one could reduce the "burp factor" of cucumbers by cutting off the end and rubbing it across the cut end of the cucumber. This is supposed to somehow draw out, or alter, the offending chemical. But since I also peel the skin .....?

Lois

Alison said...

I'm determined to grow my own cucumbers this summer. I get a ton of cukes through our CSA, but to make cornichons, you pretty much have to grow your own. Has you ever grown a variety called picklebush? I have heard it is good for containers...

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I hope you change your mind about making pickles. Home grown, home cooked pickles are sooooo gooood.

Carolyn gail said...

Now you've made me hungry for cukes as well. Last year I grew dwarf Japanese cukes and they were burpless and delicious.

You are SO right about the flavor of the homegrown ones.

Corinna said...

Aren't we all yearning for fresh food, real veggies and real fruit? I just started sowing courgettes and pumpkins on the window sill today, as usual much too soon so they'll be too far grown when the time comes to get them outside. -- I can understand you very well, Carol. Just like you and all the others, I cannot stand this watery stuff you get from the grocery store anymore. It's not the real thing.

Nickie said...

damn....now I'm hungry.

Aunt Debbi/kurts mom said...

I grew Home Made Pickles for the first time last year in the place of Straight Eight. Boy, was I glad I switched. Many, many more cucs. I also grew Japanese Soyu with great results. No there is nothing else like a home grown cucumber.

Gardenista said...

Carol,
Though homegrown cukes are still a few months off for me, they are on my seeds-to-buy list. Burpless ones, for sure. I must have eaten a non-burpless store-bought one a few days ago - and it's not just the unpleasant and embarassing gas - it's belly pain so irritating that I never really ate for 2 days! I even peeled that lame cucumber!
Anyways, thanks for visiting my blog. In answer to your question, it does get up to 30C (86 F) for a few weeks in July. All July I complain about our lack of air conditioning, but we never do much about it because it's really only one month!

jodi said...

MMMM cucumbers...I don't mind the seedless greenhouse grown ones, because I eat them all winter on salmon sandwiches and chicken sandwiches and roast beef sandwiches and cucumber sandwiches.....
and now I want one!

But I dont' grow them up here--too much challenge. Zucchini I can handle, cucumbers, nope.

Diana said...

Carol - you got my mouth watering! I love cucumbers in my the garden, too. I have very fond memories of summer vacations as a child, camping, and my mother giving slices of cucumber for a summer snack. Yum. You'll have to let us all know how the small variety does for eating. Friends took me to eat fried pickles last week (yes, that's right!) and they were delicious. Imagine - salty, crisp pickles, with salty batter and deep fried then dipped in ranch dressing. Sinful, and surprisingly good. You should try some with your cukes.

Mad Man Bamboo said...

I'm hungry too! You'll have to show us progress in a couple of months.

Sean

Salix Tree said...

I've never grown cucumbers. Now you've got me wanting to try some for this summer. I've never tasted a homegrown cuke. But I know what you mean about homegrown vs. store-bought. Peas, beans, radishes, apples.. all so much better when fresh from the garden, the taste doesn't even compare!

Carol said...

Steven, I didn't mention it but I'm not a big pickle eater. I can take 'em or leave 'em. I crave the fresh cukes!

Lois j. de vries, I read that somewhere, too. It could be that most of the compound is concentrated in the end and in the skins.

Alison, I've heard of 'Picklebush' but don't think I've grown it. Given it's name, I'd say it is a short vine variety, and some of those do well in containers.

Lisa at Greenbow, Don't wait for the pickles from my kitchen, unless maybe I have a bumper bumper crop. Then I guess I'd make bread 'n butter pickles.

Carolyn Gail, I'm placing another seed order today so I just might try some Japanese dwarfs, if I can find some.

Corinna, I'm tempted to start seeds now, too, but I'm going to wait one more week or so.

Nickie, Sorry about that. I'm still craving cukes.

Aunt Debbi/Kurt's Mom, I'm happy to hear you switched to 'Home Made Pickles' and liked them because this is my first year to try them.

Gardenista, That cucumber traveled a long way to get to you this winter! And I wouldn't get air conditioning either for just a few weeks of temps in the 80's.

Jodi, Why is it so challenging to grow cukes where you are? It seems like if you can grow zucchini, you can grow cucumbers?

Diana, I think they serve fried pickles at the state fair. Just reading about them caused my cholesterol to go up a little bit. I prefer mine fresh, no dressing.

Mad Man Bamboo (Sean), Oh yes, you can count on me crowing about my cukes when I start to harvest them this summer.

Salix Tree, You've got to try to grow some cucumbers. You will love the fresh over the store-bought. They are so different!

Thanks all for the nice comments!
Carol, May Dreams Gardens

Melanie Vassallo said...

Carol, my younger daughter Emily is just crazy for home grown cucumbers. Last year we didn't have any :-( but this year I'm feeling a bumper crop coming on.

Mmmmmm, now I'm hungry too!

Anonymous said...

Hi, Carol! OK, you've inspired me. I'm sure you are right. I've never grown a cucumber in my life, but this year I will and I will think of you every time one pops out. Thanks. If I'm only going to plant ONE, what should I pick? Thanks. Kathryn

Carol said...

Melanie Vassallo, I am planning for a bumper crop of cucumbers, too. I'd be quite sad if I didn't have any.

Kathryn, Just one cucumber plant? Not two? I would definitely pick a short vine variety and I'd try the pickling kind, like 'Homemade Pickle', which is what I plan to grow. But maybe you could try two varieties, and add 'Bush Crop'?

Carol, May Dreams Gardens

artistsgarden said...

Carol,
Thanks for stopping by my blog, and taking the time to leave a comment.
I enjoyed Garden Bloggers bloom Day - and this post about cucs. is tempting me to try some this year!
Regards
Karen

Kate said...

I can just smell those cucumbers ! And now I am craving a cucumber sandwich.