*Written by: Heather Malone*
When I say “lemon cucumber” what comes to mind? Probably 2 different foods, right? My friends you are deliciously wrong. The lemon cucumber is in fact an heirloom crop thought to originate in central Asia and brought to the USA in the 1800s. Farmers like it because it is quite a hardy crop and cold resistant. Chefs adore it for its bright yellow “lemon” appearance and its mild, sweet cucumber flavor. The chemical compounds that can cause traditional cucumbers to be bitter are absent in the lemon cucumber, making it a most agreeable addition to nearly any dish.
Lemon Cucumber Nutrition:
I’m not going to lie to you, the lemon cucumber isn’t a power house of nutrition. It does contain helpful antioxidants, a little bit of iron, calcium and vitamins A and C. But it doesn’t contain a ton of each of those nutrients so if you’re looking for a vitamin pill in a veggie (fruit) maybe this one isn’t for you. However, at a mere 20 calories a serving I think it’s allowed to be a bit of lightweight. I love that I can eat cup after delicious cup before I even have to start thinking about it. And the flavor is so unique and refreshing it’s a total treat.
Lemon Cucumbers Farm to Table:
Since lemon cucumbers don’t store well, specialty and farmers markets are often the only way to find them, and fortunately they usually come from a close by farm as a result. When selecting a lemon cucumber, look for a lovely sunshine yellow hue on a cucumber roughly the size of a tennis ball. It should be firm, but not hard. Use it as soon as you can after purchasing, preferably in the first 24 hours.
Lemon cucumbers don’t have the same compounds most cucumbers do that make them bitter and difficult to digest, so I strongly recommend simply enjoying them in crudité. The delicate flavor of a lemon cucumber would be wasted in a dish combined with other flavors, and to cook them would diminish the delicately sweet, refreshing coolness for which they are so beloved. Simply wash, slice and enjoy! Perhaps snap a quick pic for your gram first. You know you want to.