This summer, I’m one of the garden writers growing the new variety, Gherking cucumbers, for the folks at Burpee. They sent me two small plants in May, and they are terrific and prolific. No disease and lots of harvest. While I wouldn’t exactly say that I have too many cucumbers—it was getting close on Saturday. That’s when I decided to make a refreshing cucumber beverage.
(Other things I’ve made with my cuke harvest are Grandma Lahr’s Bread and Butter Pickles, freezer pickles, dill pickles, tzatziki, plus lots of cucumbers in my salads.)
To make the cucumber refresher, I harvested about 15 cucumbers. For this, I picked the slightly larger cucumbers. I washed them well and cut them in chunks, adding them to the bowl of a food processor in batches. To each batch, I added the juice of one lemon and about a cup of water. Give it a whir until the cucumbers are practically liquid. Then, drain the cucumbers in a strainer over a bowl to catch the juice. You have to push on the cucumber pulp a bit to get all the liquid out.
It took me three batches with about 5 cucumbers in each batch. I strained each batch separately, then put the remaining pulp in a jelly bag and squeezed like crazy. I ended up with almost a half gallon of pale green juice. To the juice, I added a half teaspoon of salt and a half cup or so of mint-infused light sugar syrup.
To make the syrup, heat 1 cup water and 1/2 cup sugar in a pan until it’s boiling. Turn off the heat and add a big handful of mint or any other herb and steep it for about 15 minutes. Strain out the herbs. I used about half a batch in the cucumber drink.
I found this drink to be very refreshing and a great way to enjoy your harvest when you have too many cucumbers. Because of the salt it has kind of a Gatorade vibe—but better. If I were more of a cocktail person, I could see adding some tequila or vodka for a nice in-the-garden cocktail.
The next time my cucumber harvest heats up, I’m going to add a jalapeno or other hot pepper to the cucumber refresher mash. I think a touch of heat would be fantastic in this refreshing drink on a hot summer night.
Do you have too many cucumbers? Or, maybe just enough to make a delicious drink to enjoy in the garden.
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