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About Armenian Cucumbers
If you’re new to the Tucson CSA, you may be a bit overwhelmed by these strange-looking cucumbers that show up in your share in mid-summer. They certainly don’t look like the tame, unobtrusive cucumbers you’re used to seeing in the supermarket! And their striped varieties go limp so quickly in the refrigerator! But not true! Appearances can be deceiving!
We are privileged to receive what are known as Armenian cucumbers, specifically adapted to our desert conditions. They come in two varieties: the pale green ribbed variety and the darker green striped and crooked variety. Not surprisingly, the latter is also known as snake melon. The online Cook’s Thesaurus (www.foodsubs.com) notes they are “hard to find, but one of the best-regarded slicing cucumbers.” Not hard to find for us!
According to a report by the Environmental Working Group, commercial cucumbers are one of the top twelve most pesticide-laden produce items. The wax applied to commercial cucumbers, apples, and many other produce items is made of petroleum oils. Not only does it seal in moisture, prolonging shelf life, it also seals in pesticides.
Armenian cucumbers don’t need to be peeled or seeded, and despite their limp appearance, you’ll notice that they’re still crisp when sliced. As soon as you slice one, the perfumed aroma begs you to take a bite. And when you do, you won’t be disappointed. You’ll be amazed at how little it resembles the flavorless, tough-skinned varieties you’re used to. You could use slices of this cucumber to perfume and brighten mixed drinks, lemonade, or even plain water, or simply eat it with a light sprinkling of salt.