Cucumbers: How to Grow and 2 Summer Recipes

Today Matt Swaim of the Sonrise Morning Show on Sacred Heart Radio chatted about cucumbers. This ancient vegetable has Biblical roots. It’s as popular today as it was back then.\

Numbers 11: 5-6

When the people wept “Oh that we had some of the delicious fish we enjoyed in Egypt  – cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic…”

I am sure they ate most of them fresh and they also preserved them by pickling with vinegar using that popular Bible herb dill.  They also ate them with barley cakes and that made a complete meal.

Yes, it was one of the most favored of all foods. It was actually so valuable that watchtowers were built in the fields to protect the crops against thieves. 

Cucumbers have a definite taste and a crunch to them.  Are they as good nutritionally as they taste?

Cucumbers contain mostly water, so they’re not high on the nutritional scale, but remember, we all need to be hydrated, so a good way to hydrate is  by incorporating cucumbers in your meal planning. They’re also a good source of fiber which as you know helps our digestive system work properly.

Why do people plant cucumbers in hills?

The reason you put them into hills is they have a long root and also the hills act like a sort of reverse trellis, allowing the vines to tumble down gently over the hills. Water is important since they are mostly water so to keep production up, water well and frequently.

I made this straight from the recipe and it was yummy. And, yes, it held up without getting soggy. Even leftovers the next day tasted pretty darn good!

Mediterranean Chopped Salad

(From America’s Test Kitchen)


1 medium cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 1 1/4 cups)

1 pint grape tomatoes, quartered (about 1 1/2 cups)


3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 medium garlic clove, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 1 teaspoon)

1 (14-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

½ cup chopped pitted kalamata olives

½ small minced red onion (about 1/4 cup)

½ cup roughly chopped fresh parsley

1 romaine heart, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 3 cups)

4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (about 1 cup)

Freshly ground black pepper*



Combine cucumber, tomatoes, and 1 teaspoon salt in colander set over bowl and let stand 15 minutes.


Whisk oil, vinegar, and garlic together in large bowl. Add drained cucumber and tomatoes, chickpeas, olives, onion, and parsley; toss and let stand at room temperature to blend flavors, 5 minutes.


Add romaine and feta; toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Sonia’s freezer pickles


4 cups thinly sliced cucumbers, unpeeled

1 medium onion, sliced thin

2 tablespoons salt

Up to 1-1/2 cups sugar

1/2 cup vinegar

1-1/2 teaspoons pickling spice

1 red bell pepper, diced (opt)

1 clove garlic, smashed (opt)


Arrange cucumbers and onions in large bowl. Sprinkle with salt and mix. Pour enough water over to just cover them. Stir again. Soak at room temperature for 2 hours.  Drain, but don’t rinse. Meanwhile, mix sugar, vinegar and pickling spice in small saucepan.  Bring to a simmer and cook until sugar dissolves.  Let cool while pickles are soaking.  After pickles have been drained, add bell pepper, then pour pickling brine over them. Mix. Put into containers. Let marinate overnight in refrigerator. Keeps at least three weeks, or up to six months in freezer.

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