Cucumbers have a number of excellent healthy qualities, such as being made up of mostly water so they help you stay hydrated but won't make you bloated as other vegetables can. They have fiber and antioxidants, but are low in calories. They are easy to add to your diet as they are very versatile. They are easy to grow and easy to grow vertically, so they are perfect for a raised garden bed. Here are a few ways to use your tasty cucumbers.

I like to pick my cucumbers and make a delicious creamy cucumber salad for a delectable side dish for any picnic or pot luck! I got my recipe from my mother, but I twerk it a little to make it a bit healthier, but not lacking in taste.

 1. Mix together in medium bowl 1/2 of a cup of Greek yogurt, 1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar, 1 Tbsp. fresh minced dill,  1 tsp of Stevia, 1 tsp. of garlic powder, and a 1/2 tsp. of sea salt.

2. Add 3 cups of thinly sliced peeled cucumber. I use my julienne slicer to get nice even thin slices

3. Add 1 cup of thinly sliced red onions. Also using the julienne slicer

4. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving, allowing all the flavors to blend together. 

5. When ready to serve, give a toss to get all the juices from the bottom.

6. Refrigerate the leftovers (if there are any) in an airtight container for 3-4 days.

You can use sour cream instead of Greek yogurt and sugar instead of stevia. 

Pickles are a great way to use up the smaller cucumbers that you might get. There are cucumber plants that will produce just pickling cucumbers. Some people might not know that pickles can be great for the stomach because they can be high in probiotics, IF they are fermented with salt and not vinegar. For this recipe you'll need

2 head of fresh dill
4 or 5 cloves of garlic (or more depending on your preference)
enough cucumbers to fill your jar
2 Tbsp of natural salt
4 cups of water (1quart)

1.  Make sure all the jars you are going to use are nice and clean. Many people use mason jars for their canning. A wide mouth 1/2 gallon canning jar is perfect for this recipe. 

2. Now to make the brine. Use 2 Tbsp. of natural sea salt or another non-iodized salt to 4 cups (1 quart) of filtered or distilled water. Hard water is less than desirable. Stir together until the salt is dissolved into the water. 

3. Next pack your fresh cucumbers, fresh dill, and fresh garlic into the clean jars leaving 2 inches between the top of the cucumbers and the top of the jar. 

4. Fill the jars with the brine water until there is 1 inch from the top of the water to the top of the jar. 
5. THIS PART IS CRUCIAL!  To make sure the food stays below the water surface, place a fermenting cup or a small clean baby food jar on top of the cucumbers insuring that it all stay below the water's surface. If the vegetables get above the surface mold can happen and ruin your batch.

6. Place the jar's lid on top making sure it's airtight so no oxygen can get in. There are special fermenting lids you can purchase that work great for this step.

7. Place the jar in a preferably 70-degree area (not below 65-degrees), out of sunlight and appliances that can give off heat. Leave there for 4 days.

8. Look for bubbles on top and cloudy water on top after the first or second day. Those are great signs that you did it right!

9. Taste your pickles to see if they are "tangy" enough for your liking. If not replace the lid and let them ferment a little longer. They can take 10 days if the room is on the colder side. 

10. Once the desired taste is there, place the regular jar lid on and store in the fridge. They will stay fresh for months in the refrigerator, DO NOT store in the pantry or cupboard. 

That is just a couple of delicious recipes you can do with all the cucumbers you can grow in your raised and elevated beds. Feel free to write your comments or question in the comment section below. Share your favorite recipe for your cucumbers! We would love to try them! 
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