|A bitter cucumber?|
Now I know what you are thinking - but that is a picture of cucumber. Yes. You are right, it is. And it is a cucumber on our polytunnel at Eco-Gites of Lenault. Maybe I therefore need to expand the title a bit to "I cannot grow non-bitter cucumbers!" Every year I try and every year one of two things happens (and sometimes both).
Thing 1 :- I plant cucumber seedlings, they grow, they produce fruit and the fruit tastes bitter.
Thing 2 :- I plant cucumber seedlings and they shrivel up and die.
However I can grow ROUND cucumbers know as either Crystal Apple or Crystal Lemon. I can even grow these from seed! In fact I can grow these so well that we soon become inundated with them! No worries. If we can't eat them all the pigs love them.
|Plentiful round cucumbers|
These are today's haul and we have been picking them for weeks. This crop are in fact a little over-ripe being a touch too large and yellow. Ideally they should be the very pale green colour you can see on some of them and a bit smaller, around the size of a tennis ball. They will still be fine to eat if you don't mind have quite a few pips in them but I suspect these will make for a porcine breakfast tomorrow.
Luckily we all like cucumbers and this summer I came up with the simplest of cucumber salad recipes:
Cucumber, Apple and Sultana Salad
Approx 2 round cucumbers, peeled and cut into cubes (or the equivalent of green cucumbers)
1 apple, cored and cut into cubes
A handful of sultanas
Mix together the first 3 ingredients.
Add salad cream to coat.
Now I know mayonnaise took over from the great British tradition that was salad cream and that sales were so low a few years back that Heinz almost stopped making it. I know many families no longer keep a bottle in the fridge but I really do recommend salad cream for this recipe over mayonnaise. It just works!
Whilst cucumber harvests are rather dependent on their shape, a couple of other harvests are looking very good.
I have actually managed to get some of my peppers to turn red this year and the orange peppers came off a plant I picked up reduced in price very late in the season. We are yet to taste them so are hoping they taste as good as they look.
|Traffic light peppers|
After a disastrous apple harvest there is one tree fruit that is looking fabulous - the ancient pear tree that grows up the side of our house is literally dripping with huge fruits. I will need to pick these very soon and possibly before they are fully ripe as I am worried that if we get any windy weather their swinging weight will break the branches and/or they'll crash into the window and bruise themselves! They are not the best pears for eating raw but bottled in syrup or pan fried with butter and brown sugar they are meltingly sweet and delicious.
I now have to decide whether to try cucumbers for just one more year ... because that could be the year I succeed ... or should I simply stick to the round ones and grow something else to replace the long ones? What do you think I should do? And do you have you got a vegetable you simply cannot grow? Cucumbers perhaps!
I am linking up with Annie's weekly gardening blog linky over at Manneskjur. Do pop over for some more gardening blogs and what, I am sure, will be some fabulous garden pictures from Annie herself.