Lemon cucumber is a novelty vegetable mostly grown for its looks and the innovative and fun appearance it will bring to salads and dishes. It’s called that because it’s round and yellow like a lemon but it’s not a lemon or a variety of it. It’s just a cucumber in terms of its taste and the ways it can be use.
It’s a relatively new crop, it has been around for 200 years and in all that time it was used for decoration, and gaining a wider popularity now when food culture is such a big deal for more people.
Lemon Cucumber Trivia
- It’s known under a few more names such as: Garden Lemon, Apple cucumber, Budamkaya, and Dosakai.
- There are reports about these cucumbers in being grown in the middle east centuries before they are introduced to the west.
Lemon Cucumber Buying Guide
As the plant starts to ripen it turns from green to yellow. The key is to find the right color because that will mean that you’ve found the perfect spot between them being too soft and too ripe. You should choose them when they start turning yellow.
If the ends of the cucumbers are yellow, it means you’ve waited too long to start using them. If you’re not buying from a farmer but from a store, you’ll have much less of a control over this. Make sure that they are of a round shape and that there are no bruises or blemishes.
Lemon Cucumber Production & Farming in Texas
The same rules apply to growing these cucumbers as for the ordinary cucumbers. They are a vegetable that requires a lot of sunlight and not much more in terms of resource which means that they grow in Texas regardless of where you are. However, there’s no market for them in all areas, these are mostly sold to restaurants and high end stores.
They should be planted outside two weeks before the first frost. They could be rather easily damaged by the frost and sudden drops in temperature in general, which is why you need to be careful when you plant and pay attention to the weather.
Fertile soil is also a requirement and you’ll need to invest in composting and preparing manure on time. It should be planted to depth of 2 inches and work into the soil 6 to 8 inches deep. The seeds should also be two to three inches apart in order to allow the plants to grow to the side.
Lemon cucumbers are a bit sweeter and milder than the average ones but the same rule applies in terms of waiting too before harvesting. If you do, they will become too bitter and unusable in salads.
Out of 50 pesticides commonly used on cucumbers, about 19 of them have been deemed highly toxic. These include carcinogens like o-Phenylphenol, Dieldrin, Chlorothalonil, Carbaryl and Dichlorvos (DDVP).
Cucumbers originate from India and they are used for centuries if not millennia, but this particular species came about recently. There are documents that show that yellow cucumbers have existed in the Middle East in the 16th century. They are introduced to the US in 19th and early 20th century.
It’s mostly grown near urban areas because that’s where the market for it is. It’s used by the high end restaurants and stores and these are mostly in cities and where there are affluent buyers.
The packaging for these cucumbers is the same as it is for the ordinary ones even though they are different in shape. They are placed in cardboard or plastic boxes right there on the farm and moved in trucks and other vehicles.
In the store these are sometimes kept in sacks and sometimes individually wrapped in plastic. This is a practice that’s used less and less as the use of plastic is now frowned upon.
Enjoying Lemon Cucumbers
There are a few ways to eat these cucumbers. One is to simply use them as you would ordinary green cucumbers. It will have a bit milder and even sweeter taste and it will bring a bit of color to the salad since it’s unusual to see.
You can also eat them fresh and raw in ways you wouldn’t with an ordinary cucumber due to the sweeter taste. They can be used as an appetizer when they are cut into wedges and used with other crudities.
In the end, they can be grilled just like ordinary cucumbers and there, they are used to add freshness and colder feel and taste to the dish.
The recipes we mentioned above are simpler ones and here’s one that’s more complex and that combines these cucumbers with pesto and benefiting from the qualities of both.
Slice or chop cucumbers. If the skin is too tough, peel the skin and if the seeds are too hard, remove the seeds.
In food processor: combine basil leaves, parmesan, nuts, garlic, optional lemon juice, salt, and black pepper. While blending, gradually add the olive oil until the pesto reaches your desired consistency. Taste and adjust seasoning to personal preference and blend again if needed.
If using traditional mortar and pestle: add basil leaves a few at a time with the garlic. Crush and grind the all the leaves and garlic until well combined. Add the nuts and cheese and continue combining into the basil mixture until a paste forms. Add the optional lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Stir and slightly grind until the everything is incorporated into the pesto.
Taste the pesto and add additional salt/pepper to taste. If you want some spice, add a pinch of red chili flakes.
Dress the pesto over cucumbers.
The estimated glycemic load of cucumbers is one for a half-cup serving. There is almost no fat in cucumbers. Cucumbers are not a good source of protein, providing less than one gram per serving. Cucumbers are a good source of vitamin K.
Cucumber (with the skin) provides health benefits because of the vitamin K it contains. A single serving provides about nine percent of your daily needs. Vitamin K is a fat soluble vitamin that assists in blood clotting. For those people on Coumadin, it’s important to keep your intake of vitamin K consistent.
Cucumbers are also a good low-calorie and low-carbohydrate food to include in your diet if you are trying to reduce your wait or improve your eating habits. You can replace crackers and bread with cucumber slices or hollowed out cucumber boats to reduce your intake of refined grains and possible salt.
When Are Lemon Cucumber in Season in Texas?
To find out when Lemon Cucumber are in season in Texas, please check the seasonal chart below. Why is this important? We are rarely encouraged to think about the physical lengths our food travels before arriving on the market shelves. And all of this travel comes with a hefty environmental cost that is concealed from the consumer’s eye. One of the most salient benefits to eating seasonally is that you are effectively reducing your carbon footprint and supporting a more geographically sustainable food economy. Check other fruit and veg that’s in season in Texas now.