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Zero Food Waste | Meal Plan To Use Up Cucumbers

Don’t let your cucumbers go to waste. Here are five ways to use cucumbers in a weekly meal plan without feeling like you’re eating the same thing every darn day.

As the weeks pass, the plants that produce the most food in our garden shift. A couple of weeks ago, we had more squash than we knew what to do with. The squash plants are still sprouting, but their pace has slowed.

Now the produce drawer in our fridge is overflowing with cucumbers. Thus, I set out to plan our meals this week around several options including cucumbers in a variety of ways. 

A Note About Cucumbers and Food Waste

Cucumbers from the grocery store are fairly homogeneous, thanks to the very aesthetic standards set by consumer grocery demands. We all apparently want cucumbers that are straight and eight to ten inches long.

Despite being perfectly nutritious, odd-shaped cucumbers often end up in the trash before ever having a chance at hanging out on a grocery store shelf, simply because they do not look right. While it’s not only a waste of food, it’s also a pretty crummy lesson to teach our children about assigning value to something simply based on its ability to meet strict visual criteria.

Some foods like squash tend to grow in a more homogeneous manner. The cucumbers in my garden, however, have arrived in a variety of shapes and sizes. If I only ate cucumbers that met strict commercial aesthetic standards, I probably would have thrown out over half of the cucumbers I grew. It’s crazy to think so much food goes to waste because the cucumbers are too long, too short or not straight. 

Meal Plan With Cucumbers in Mind

Nonetheless, we’re eating all the cucumbers that come from our garden no matter their shape and size. 

Here are five different ways we incorporated cucumbers in our meal plan this week to ensure we made full use of everything growing in our garden. 

Cold Cucumber Soup | This recipe calls for the cucumbers to be peeled and seeded. I removed the seeds but I did not peel the cucumbers and the soup turned out great. Many of the minerals and nutrients in vegetables reside in the skin, so eat them when you can.

Cucumber Chips | I had never tried cucumber chips before but they were delicious. Although cucumber chips don’t require a dehydrator and you can make them in your oven if the temperature drops low enough, I think they would be very difficult and time-consuming to make in an oven. I recently bought this dehydrator and have been thrilled with everything we’ve made so far. If you think you’ll use it regularly, it’s definitely worth the investment. 

Plain Cucumbers | I often add a raw fruit or vegetable to a meal. It’s an easy and healthy side dish that I can add to the table when we eat. We dip the cucumbers in hummus or ranch dressing, but you can definitely eat them plain too (of course).

Cucumber Cinnamon Bread | Our family loves quick, sweet bread. We make pumpkin bread and zucchini bread and tried this cucumber cinnamon bread for the first time. The recipe calls for muffins but putting all the batter in a loaf pan worked just fine. Next time, I think I will double the cinnamon, but the bread was delicious nonetheless. 

Dill Pickles | I just made these a couple of days ago and they are still fermenting in the fridge, so the jury is out on how delicious they taste. There are lots of different recipes on the internet for pickles, and we’re keeping our fingers crossed that ours turn out well.

Do you have any favorite cucumber recipes in your arsenal? Share them in the comments below, because the cucumbers are still growing like crazy in our garden and we need more ways to eat them all up.  

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