When you plant a garden in the spring, you’re full of anticipation.
You hover and watch over your little plants as they grow. You’re really excited when the first sprout appears and by the time you harvest your first vegetable, it’s a cause for celebration.
The march from the garden to the kitchen is exhilarating. The first meal with your fresh bounty is absolutely delicious and you can’t wait for more.
You have to be careful what you wish for.
It seems that in no time your vegetables are multiplying like rabbits. It can be an overwhelming experience for the first time gardener. The anticipation, excitement, celebration, and exhilaration stages are over, all replaced by the “OK, so I grew a garden, what do I do now?” stage.
The squash and the cucumbers are the worst offenders. It seems like they can be babies when the sun sets and giants by morning. Large squash can be dealt with but cucumbers are a whole different story.
Granted it’s impressive to show off a gigantic cucumber but bigger is not better. When you cut into a large cucumber you’ll find lots of seeds and very little flesh. The texture is mushy and the taste is diminished.
My father, an accomplished gardener, told me to always choose the small ones because they were better. He was right, as usual. The little ones are firm and tasty and hold up well in recipes.
If you want to use some of your newly picked cucumbers wisely, I’ve got just the recipe for you. Add fresh tomatoes, slices of red onion, parsley, oil, vinegar, and freshly toasted croutons and you’ve got a fantastic summer salad. It’s a gardener’s delight.
Got cucumbers? It’s simple. Make cucumber salad.
Joy Smith is a resident of Fort Mill. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org