I’m always looking for ways to use the endless supply of cucumbers growing in my garden. This recipe is just right on a hot summer day. It combines slices of cucumbers and white onions with a sour cream dressing. I added in just a little dried dill and fresh mint from my garden. And finally, a way to use my garden mint. For a variation, I made the recipe using non-fat plain yogurt for a healthy alternative.
Growing Mint in Louisiana Garden
Mint grows very well in a Louisiana garden; I have both peppermint and spearmint. In fact, mint is sort of like a weed and grows without any attention. The plants spread along runners and can quickly overtake a garden bed and everything in its way. On the positive side, mint grows best in a shady area of the garden–and I have several shady gardens. It is nice to step outside and pick a few aromatic leaves to add to a half-gallon of ice tea.
I don’t run across many recipes which use mint as an ingredient — cucumbers and sour cream is a good one and the mint adds a surprising and refreshing flavor. This is some of the spearmint growing in my garden.
Cucumbers also grow well in Louisiana. I planted these in early April and the began to get ripe cucumbers in May. (The cucumbers are the plants in the foreground of this photo.) I always get carried away and purchase too many seedling plants — but I want to make sure I have some to harvest. Most of these cucumbers became pickles. And we pick a few every night for salads.
This recipe is very easy to make. Here are the ingredients for “Cool Cucumbers with Sour Cream & Mint.” I like to use smaller cucumbers, if possible, in this salad. And an onion? I like to add a small, sweet white onion. Why? Well, I love onions and this adds a flavorful contrast to the cucumbers.
To make the recipe, slice the cucumbers and onion. A mandoline slicer makes this task much easier and the cucumbers come out evenly sliced. I especially like the hand holder on the slicer — it prevents your fingers from getting nicked, too. How many times has that happened?
Should you peel the cucumbers? Cucumbers purchased at a grocery store are sometimes waxed for longer preservation. These should definitely be pared (or peeled). And for cucumbers from a garden or farmer’s market, peeling them is optional. Towards the end of the season when the cucumbers are larger with many seeds, I prefer to peel them and hollow out the seeds. I find that paring also helps remove the bitter taste which is sometimes found with cucumbers late in the season which were subjected to dry growing conditions.
I made a tasty variation to this salad using non-fat plain yogurt replacing the sour cream. I added a little olive oil to the dressing. It makes a very healthy and low-fat alternative and tasted just as good. Couldn’t tell the difference.
Here’s “Cool Cucumbers with Sour Cream & Mint.” This is a flavorful way to use cucumbers. In the summer months, when cucumbers are easily found in farmers markets and grocery stores, its a good time to use fresh vegetables.
Cool Cucumbers with Sour Cream & Mint with a Yogurt Variation
- 2 medium cucumbers (12 oz or 2 cups peeled and sliced)
- 1 small sweet, white onion
- 1/2 cup sour cream or plain non-fat yogurt
- 2 Tbsp olive oil (omit if using sour cream)
- 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
- 1 Tbsp fresh mint leaves, finely torn, plus more for garnish
- 1 tsp dried dill seeds
- 1/2 tsp salt
Method and Steps:
- Wash the cucumbers and remove any rough nubs. Cut off about 1/4 inch from each end and discard., If desired, pare skin from cucumbers and hollow out removing seeds.
- Using mandoline slicer, slice cucumber into thin slices. Place in medium size bowl. Set aside.
- Peel onion, slice thinly using mandoline slicer, separate into individual rings and add to cucumbers, alternating layers.
- In small bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients–sour cream, dill, finely minced mint and salt. (If using non-fat plain yogurt, add olive oil.)
- Pour dressing over cucumber and onion slices, carefully toss to combine.
- Cover with lid or plastic wrap, place in refrigerator and chill for several hours.
- Prior to serving, remove from refrigerator and garnish with fresh mint.