Garden Fresh: The Cucumber

Categories: Garden Fresh

cucumbers.JPG
Sick of the Royal Wedding? Not me. Prince William of Wales and Catherine Middleton don't seem to give a damn themselves, which spares us the fairytale nightmare that doomed his mother. Furthermore, Prince Charles is the new Godfather of organic agriculture, so he gets auto-props from this grower.

Vevo trumps TV at home with the kid, so I'm not exposed to the orgy of "Brit-fawning," as reporters delve into every aspect of English upper-class frippery. I dodge the news, should my preferred anchor slip into a Madonna-style fake accent. Still, it's unavoidable, so I'll join in, not to fawn, but skewer.

I planted cucumbers this year -- out of curiosity -- but Bill Dawson of The Franklin Conservancy informed me, "They'll overrun your garden." I opted for the quintessential use of the vegetable: the cucumber sandwich, staple of afternoon tea and cricket matches.

Cucumber Sandwiches

  • 1 large cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons malt vinegar (Sarson's from the Kroger British Aisle)
  • Butter
  • 8 slices white bread (Mrs. Ninnie Baird's, of course) with the crusts cut away

Place the cucumber slices in a bowl and drizzle vinegar over them. Cover with a plate and marinate 30 minutes or more. Butter the bread slices all the way to the edges. Drain the cucumber, ditch the liquid, and arrange the slices, with salt and pepper, on the buttered bread. Cut the sandwiches diagonally into quarters, and serve.

Verdict: Bland has never been so compelling. The tangy crunch of the cucumber contrasts with the yeasty softness of the bread, and the sandwiches complement the slight sweetness and bitterness of tea.

I get it. I won't fawn over cucumber sandwiches, but I can't skewer them either. Still, all but two of the cucumber plants will go into the compost pile, as Charles would have it, and I'll keep the Sarson's for fish and, uh, french fries.

A note on growing cucumbers: I planted Burpee Hybrid II seeds after Valentine's, fertilized immediately, and again as the sprouts turned into vines. When the plants start producing I'll fertilize again, maybe twice. I'll heed Bill Dawson and get the remaining vines on a small trellis, which will make the cucumbers more shapely and attractive, for whatever, maybe a Greek salad.



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9 comments
jack
jack

unless he warmed the cup and cream before the tea he's full of it. for proper tea, it's 1 spoon of tea for the amount of cups to be served plus on for the pot! i, also prefer cream cheese to butter in my cucumber sandwiches. southerners prefer mayo. try Duke's. it's as close to homemade as you'll get. no added sugar to warp the taste. also, pimiento cheese sandwiches make a great duo. i'm not giving you my recipe for that. sorry.

jack
jack

wrong! slice the cucumber,place in a bowl with salt and a weight on them, drain every 30 minutes about 4 times. you'll be amazed the amount of water that leaches from the cucumbers, then and only then, cover with the vinegar in fridge about 15-30 minutes then drain. pat dry, then make your sandwiches. this process makes the cucumbers very crunchy and crisp. you can use this same process to then add onion and or bell pepper and tomato to the cucumber vinegar mix to make a delicious summer salad. do not drain vinegar for the salad. add lots of black pepper also.

Gerimariaharris
Gerimariaharris

I adore cucumber sandwiches. Great article and great pic!

John Kiely
John Kiely

Spot on, jack. Never trust a recipe with the word "perfect" in it, as there's always room for improvement. This method was conveyed from an English roommate, or should I say flatmate, who called me a "philistine" for putting cream into a teacup after the tea, rather than before.

jack
jack

if you warm the milk, that doesn't apply. if you live your life taking the advice of the BBC, you'd still be stuck in England. nice place. 10 dollar gas, 20% sales tax, 50% income tax, sharia law, prosecution for free speech, submission to the will of brussels, car tax to enter london, 20$ 1/4 lb. hamburgers, 7$ pints of beer, no refills on drinks, shoe leather steaks, salad cream or french dressing only. nice place.

Bruce R
Bruce R

Jack, exaggerating makes you lose credibility. Beer is cheaper in England than the US. Hamburgers do not cost anywhere near $20 in England. Why you be lying like that?

Farley Flavors
Farley Flavors

Wayhey ! Excellent Beckian rant, sir.

One minor correction - the average price of an imperial pint in the U.K. is $4.95. Including that 20% sales tax.

I mean, who would pay seven bucks for a pint ?

Oh, wait ... http://www.redlionhouston.com/...

ThurstonH3
ThurstonH3

...and with an intellectually-challenged PM who's bought into the deficit clap-trap, instituting all sorts of painful spending cuts, to what effect: yes, the shrugs of the bond market

we seem to be going down the same short-sighted path

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