Sliced in sandwiches, ribboned in salads or batoned for crudités, cucumbers are a lunchtime favourite. But their high water content means they have a short shelf life and can quickly become soggy – this accounts for over half their wastage, adding to a total cost of £77m worth of cucumbers (or 43 thousand tonnes of cucumber) being thrown away every year! Read on for our tips on how to use them up.
Keep cucumbers in the vegetable drawer of the fridge. Make sure they stay dry and, once you've opened the packaging, don't re-wrap them completely as this can encourage condensation and spoiling. This will ensure they stay super fresh for throwing in recipes like our Indian-style cucumber salad.
Limp cucumbers can be revived by slicing off the end and standing in a bowl of cold water. If you find yourself with leftover sliced cucumber, store in a sealable container with a sheet of kitchen towel to keep them crisp. Why not try giving these revived cucumbers a new lease of life in this crisp and refreshing cucumber, fennel and parsley salad?
To make a quick pickled cucumber simply sprinkle sliced cucumber with salt; leave for 20 mins. Pat fry and transfer to a sterilised jar with equal quantities caster sugar and white wine vinegar. Use straight away, or leave longer for the flavours to develop. You can even jazz it up by adding extra ingredients like dill or fennel.
An easy cucumber raita can be the perfect complement to a dish like tandoori prawn naans. In order to make a bacth simply stir finely diced cucumber, lime zest, crushed chillies, and shredded mint and coriander leaves into Greek or coconut yogurt. Failing that, you could also try your hand at this super simple tzatziki.
Whether you're in the mood for an alcoholic apple and cucumber gin cocktail or a non-alcoholic cucumber, lime and elderflower coolers, there's a load of lovely drinks and cocktails that you can make that bring out the best of a cucumber's naturally refreshing properties.
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