One of my neighbors looks forward to the emergence of this specialty summer cucumber variety every year, one you will hardly ever find in the grocery store. She enjoys round slices on her sandwiches topped with tomato and basil.
These refreshing lemon cucumbers deliver a subtle melon-like quality, mildly sweet, with a juicy crunch.
The name lemon cucumber was derived from its physical appearance rather than its flavor profile. Shaped like and about the size of a baseball, they are recognized by their alternating yellow and white colored stripes. This variety is quite popular in India where it is commonly added to soup; to daal, used in making Dosa-Avakaya; and to chutney.
With a water content at 94%, these cucumbers can help to cool down the body during the summer heat.
You can substitute lemon cucumbers for standard cucumbers in many cases.
Some people prefer to peel the slightly tough outer skin, and others munch on them unpeeled as they would an apple. When fully mature, the seeds inside can get quite large but tend to remain soft enough to eat.
This week I prepared a Greek-style lemon cucumber salad.
Lemon Cucumber Greek Salad
6 lemon cucumbers, diced (peel and seeds remove if desired)
3-4 tomatoes (I use a Roma style and remove the seed and membrane), diced
1/2 small red onion, sliced thin
1 teaspoon dried, of 1 tablespoon fresh oregano (if fresh finely chopped) Pinch of salt and freshly cracked pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
6-7 Italian basil leaves
In mixing bowl, combine all ingredients except for the feta cheese and basil leaves. Toss until well incorporated. Then gently toss in feta cheese and basil. If desired, you can also add diced olives.
Yield: Serves 4