posted on September 10, 2009 16:43 :: 4616 Views
You have been enjoying your bountiful harvest of cucumbers this growing season. You've made all sorts of pickles, eaten plain, creamed and vinegar soaked cukes, canned pickle relish and still have some to spare? Here are a couple of gardening tips to make your own cucumber ice cubes to enjoy long after the growing season has passed. Here are some cooking ideas to use a cucumber ice cube in recipes and with your favorite beverage.
You try to pick your cucumbers when they are small and thin, but sometimes they get hidden behind large leaves and missed until they are a foot long or so. You can always remove the seeds and slice into a salad or two if you are in the mood. Or you could process them to be used at a later time. Wash them well, leave the skins on, just remove any blemishes or damaged spots you see.
Cut off the 2 ends of the cucumber, then cut into large chunks and place them in a blender or food processor. Process, (seeds and all) until you have a thick smooth consistency.
Pour the mixture into ice cube trays, filling each section and wiping off any excess that happens to spill over.
Place the ice cube tray into an empty saved bread bag or a freezer bag, to keep the mixture fresh and from picking up any debris from the freezer. Place the tray on a level shelf in your freezer.
When they are completely frozen, remove the tray from the freezer; remove the cucumber ice cubes from the tray and place in a dated and labeled freezer bag or container.
So now you say, "What do I do with these Cucumber Ice Cubes"? Get creative in the kitchen and add one or two next time you make a cold soup, vegetable dip, salad dressing, a marinate for meat or how about that refreshing smoothie you blend together! What a great ingredient to add texture, nutrients and a refreshing flavor to your food adventures. Here is a recipe for a great Cucumber Marinade:
- 2 T. Soy Sauce
- 2 Cucumber Ice Cubes (or 3 T. fresh cucumber puree)
- 2 T. grated or diced onion
- 1 T. Spicy Brown Mustard
- 1 T. Cider Vinegar
- 2 tsp. fresh ground ginger
- 1 tsp. honey
- 1/2 tsp. Kosher Salt
- 1/4 tsp. fresh ground pepper
- 2 T. fresh parsley (chopped)
Mix all of the above ingredients together. Place your meat you want to marinade in a container large enough to lay all pieces in single layer or in a Ziplok plastic bag. Add the marinade and spread over the meat. Place in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight (turn your meat a couple of times to make sure the marinade coats all sides). Cook your meat by grilling, broiling or the method you prefer. Below is a picture of this marinade on Beef Round Steak.
TIP: I keep a jar of fresh ginger root in my freezer. When I need fresh ginger for a recipe, I remove the outside peel from a section of the ginger and grate the amount needed. Below is a picture of a great kitchen tool to finely grate your fresh ginger (Microplane Zester/Grater).
Beverage Cucumber Ice Cubes
Now for another way to make Cucumber Ice Cubes from your smaller cukes. Wash your cucumber well, leave the skin on and leave whole, slice 1/8" or 1/4" thick (depending on personal preference).
Place one to four slices (depending on the size) into your ice cube tray.
Then fill with water, or you can only fill half full, if you want part of your cucumber slice to remain outside the actual ice cube. Cover the ice cube tray with an empty saved bread bag or a freezer bag and place on a level shelf in your freezer.
When they are completely frozen, remove from the freezer and you can see how awesome they look.
Remove the ice cubes from the tray and place in a dated and labeled freezer bag or container and place in your freezer.
Now the fun part of serving and enjoying this wonderful creation. You can simply add a couple of Cucumber Ice Cubes to a glass of water and you'll enjoy a refreshing flavor as the cubes melt. How about serving with a Vodka Tonic or a Bloody Mary? It will add color and flavor to a glass of lemonade or any beverage of your choice. Wouldn't they look festive in a punch bowl for a bridal shower or family reunion? As the ice cubes melt, the cucumber flavor will become present in your beverage and the best treat at the end, is you get to eat the cucumbers!!