I don’t own a juicer, but those of you who do know that you can make juice out of almost anything, so this isn’t exactly a revelation, but a reminder about the potential in a cucumber, any fresh vegetable for that matter. Its essence in juice or soup is something wonderful. Using a blender or a juicer, you can make a thick frothy drink and sip it as is, or strain it through cheesecloth for a refined, clear liquid. Blend with yogurt, dill, a scoop of ripe avocado, make a veggie smoothie or soup . . . with an ice cube and another squeeze of lemon or lime it’s a healthy and delicious summer refreshment, and quick to make.
Plus, it goes pretty well with gin and a little tonic. I’m just sayin’.
Bushels of cukes in my garden right now – also at Farmers’ Markets. I might have planted a couple too many. So, when one or two get too big I’ve gotten creative with the cucumber and the blender.
Basic Cucumber Juice Recipe
Place two partly peeled and roughly chopped cucumbers in a blender/ Add 1 teaspoon lemon pepper or salt, 1/2 cup water, 1 tablespoon lime or lemon juice/ Blend until ingredients are thoroughly liquefied, pour over ice into a chilled glass and that’s sipping cucumbers. See the gin & tonic recipe below for how to strain and create a clear liquid.
Cucumber Smoothie Recipe
Makes 2 large or 4 smaller servings.
Ingredients: 2 medium-sized cucumbers, partly peeled and roughly chopped/ 1/2 ripe avocado/ 1 teaspoon fresh dill/ 1/2 teaspoon salt or lemon pepper/ 1 tablespoon lime or lemon juice/ 1 cup plain Greek yogurt/ 1/2 C water or several ice cubes.
Directions: Place ingredients in blender and process until mixture is liquefied/ Adjust thickness as needed with a little more yogurt or water/ Taste and adjust seasoning/ Chill for 30 minutes to an hour before serving/ Stir, pour into chilled glasses, garnish with fresh dill or with a thin slice of cucumber. Aaaah, summertime.
Cold Cucumber Soup Recipe
Enough for approximately 6, 1 cup servings. Ingredients are merely guidelines. After the cucumber, which you want to prevail above other flavors, it’s possible to embellish this soup with small amounts of many other ingredients, including fresh peaches. Omit the yogurt, tomato and dill in the following recipe, add one fresh peach to the blender mix and finely dice another to add after blending. Jalapeño and cilantro are excellent additions with the peaches. Take this basic idea, using a few compatible ingredients along with plenty of cucumber, and create a soup of your own invention.
Ingredients: 2 medium-sized cucumbers, partly peeled and cut into chunks/ 1/2 ripe avocado/ 2 medium or 1 large tomato cut into chunks/ 1 tablespoon each finely chopped onion, cilantro and fresh dill/ 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar. (Place onion and vinegar in blender while assembling other ingredients.)/ 1 teaspoon salt or lemon pepper/ 1 teaspoon lime or lemon juice/ 1 1/2 cups Greek yogurt.
Directions: Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth and creamy/ Add additional liquid and blend again if needed to reach desired consistency/ Taste and adjust seasoning/ Chill for at least one hour, stir and serve in small bowls or chilled glasses for sipping/ Garnish with anything you like, a little cilantro, sea salt, dill, avocado, sour cream or yogurt. The light green color is diminished when you add these additional ingredients, but so worth it. This is a wonderful appetizer in a glass.
A few of many possible embellishments for cucumber soup.
A Sizzling Cucumber Gin & Tonic
Ingredients & Directions: Place 3 medium cucumbers in a blender, partly peeled and roughly chopped/ Add 1/2 – 3/4 C water and 1 teaspoon salt/ Blend until liquefied/ Place cheesecloth inside a 2-cup (or larger) sieve which has been placed over a bowl or glass measuring pitcher/ Pour blended cucumbers into cheesecloth-lined sieve or colander and allow to drain/ After a few minutes you’ll have 3 cups, give or take, of clear cucumber juice to use as the base for gin and tonic.
Cocktail hour. When it’s 5:00 somewhere, slice the end off one jalapeño and rub the interior of each cocktail glass liberally with the cut end of the pepper (or skip it if you prefer)/ For each cocktail, pour 1 oz. gin, 1/2 C clear cucumber liquid and 1/2 C tonic over plenty of ice/ Add a big squeeze of lime juice, stir and garnish with a thin slice of cucumber. The jalapeño is a mystery in the background and a wonderful complement. Cheers.