In season: Cucumber

Butterbean and Spinach Burgers with Cucumber Tzatziki hero

Cucumber is often a looked over vegetable. It isn’t a hardy carrot that we can roast on Sundays or a delicate piece of asparagus that we enjoy for such a short season but it can be a star in its own right.

If true to stereotype, we Brits love our cucumber sandwiches (usually with a pot of tea and some scones!) and this is a delicious twist on the traditional way of serving them. The chives and cream cheese bring out the delicate flavour of the cucumber in our Cucumber Sandwich and are the perfect picnic snack laid out on a rug in the countryside. Sadly, Mr Darcy isn’t included.

Lots of Asian cookery uses cucumber as a way to cool down more spicy flavours. Take a trip to somewhere exotic with a fresh and clean Beef and Cucumber Salad. It’s a delicious mix of cooling cucumber and robust, spiced beef that will have everyone clamouring for seconds.

There is something very summery about a creamy Tzatsiki dip made from yoghurt, mint and cucumber and a pinch of salt. It’s great for dipping veg or crisps into for a light snack or being used as part of a more solid meal. Butterbean and Spinach burgers with Tzatsiki are an unusual vegetarian option and are a synch to make. The chopped up cucumber in the dip adds a welcome crunch to the dish and cuts through the creamy butterbeans. Light some candles, crack open some cold white wine and close your eyes and suddenly you’re in Greece, (sshhh, no one needs to know you’re in your back garden).

Think about using cucumber as a canapé. It goes wonderfully with smoked salmon and the two contrasting colours make the cups look great together on a board with lots of other lovely nibbles.

If you’ve got a glut of cucumbers and aren’t sure what to do with them making them into a preserve or pickle is an ideal way to use them up. Make jars of spicy Piccalilli that will last easily into the Autumn. It’s best served with mellow cheese and some hot, crusty bread or in ham sandwiches to add a kick of flavour.

All those delicious ways to use the humble cucumber and apparently you burn more calories digesting it than you take in eating it! Excellent news…

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