Marlene is an urban farmer who enjoys preparing meals from fruits and vegetables grown in her garden. Her friends call her "Garden Girl!"
Garden Abundance of Cucumbers and Strawberries
There are several things growing abundantly in my garden—cucumbers and strawberries are among them. In my quest to find a dish that showcased both of these ingredients, I was fortunate to stumble upon this salsa recipe.
My garden is filled with everything needed to make salsa, but I had never thought of combining cucumbers and strawberries in the same dish. It was only when I saw my garden's incredible production that I realized I needed a quick solution to prevent waste. After tweaking the recipe to accommodate my harvest, I am proud to present a salsa that complements many types of dishes.
Most people are familiar with the type of salsa that contains tomato, onion, and pepper; but it turns out that the word "salsa" simply means sauce. The dictionary describes a sauce as anything that adds piquancy or zest.
This cucumber and strawberry salsa is spicy with a hint of sweetness. I have incorporated a tiny bit of tomatoes to give it somewhat of a traditional flare. This salsa goes well with savory dishes, such as spaghetti, as well as sweet dishes like sweetbreads.
|Prep time||Ready in||Yields|
- 1 cup cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced
- 1 cup strawberries, hulled and diced
- 1/2 cup tomatoes, diced
- 1/2 cup red onion, diced
- 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 small jalapeno pepper, minced
- Combine all ingredients into a large bowl and toss to mix.
- Scoop into an airtight container and place the container into the refrigerator until ready to use.
A note about the strawberries. If your strawberries are small, then you can simply slice them. If they are medium to large in size, it is best to dice them. You want all the pieces to be similar in diameter.
This recipe makes 2.5 to 3 cups which equals 20 to 24 ounces. The exact amount depends on how aggressive you are when mixing the ingredients together. The more you stir, the tighter the pieces mesh and the more condensed the mixture becomes. I seem to notice about a 1/2 cup difference.
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Storing: This salsa tastes best if used after an hour of chilling in the refrigerator, however, it is best to use this salsa within 48 hours because, after such time, the salsa begins to become soupy.
- How long does it take to grow cucumbers?
From seed, cucumbers are ready to harvest in about 50 to 70 days.
- When is the best time to plant cucumbers?
The cucumber plant grows the best in warm weather. After the last frost date for your area, plant cucumber in soil with a pH level between 6 and 7. The best growing platform for cucumbers is a raised bed so that the soil can drain properly.
- How much does an average cucumber weigh?
The average cucumber weighs about fourteen ounces.
- How many cucumbers equal a pound?
It takes about two medium cucumbers to equal one pound.
- How many cucumbers does one plant produce?
One cucumber plant produces about 5 pounds of cucumbers. And, since the average cucumber weighs about fourteen ounces, plan on one cucumber plant to produce about 10 cucumbers.
- How long is the average cucumber?
The average cucumber is about five to six inches long, however, if you do not pick it for a while, it can grow to be about 10 to 12 inches long.
- Is cucumber a fruit or a vegetable?
Because cucumber grows on a vine, it is technically classified as a fruit. However, in the culinary world, it is treated as if it is a vegetable.
- How much raw cucumber do I need to equal one cup?
See the table below to see what measurements equal one cup.
How Much Raw Cucumber = 1 Cup
1 small cucumber
1/2 medium cucumber
1 medium cucumber
1 small cucumber
- How long does it take to grow strawberries?
Once strawberry plants have blossomed, you should be able to harvest strawberries in about 28 days.
- When is the best time to plant strawberries?
Plant well-established strawberry plants in March or April, before the soil is hot from the summer heat.
Note: Growing strawberries from seeds is an intricate process. Strawberry seeds will remain dormant and will not germinate before going through a winter-like environment. This process is called cold stratification. You can fool the seeds into thinking they have gone through winter by placing the seeds into an airtight container and placing the container into the refrigerator for 3 to 4 weeks. Afterwards, take the container out of the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature before planting the seeds in the soil. If you do not have the time or patience required to nurture strawberry seeds, I suggest buying strawberry plants and then planting them in the ground sometime in March or April.
- How many pounds does one strawberry plant produce?
One strawberry plant produces about 1 quart of strawberries which equals about 1.25 pounds.
- How much does an average strawberry weigh?
A small strawberry (1-inch diameter) weighs about .25 pounds
A medium strawberry (1 ¼-inch diameter) weighs about .42 pounds
A large strawberry (1 3/8-in diameter) weighs about .63 pounds
- How many strawberries equal a pound?
See the table below to see how many strawberries it takes to equal a pound.
How Many Strawberries = 1 Pound
Salsa Serving Suggestions
Salsa is typically used as a condiment and most people place salsa on top of tacos and other Latin-inspired cuisines. However, when it comes to salsa, I generally make a large batch so that I can use it to enhance ordinary dishes that might be boosted by the fresh ingredients found in a nice spicy salsa.
I use this salsa in dishes that taste great with traditional salsa, and where the added hint of sweetness bolsters the flavor to a new level.
For an updated flavor treat, try adding salsa to the following dishes and savor a flavor that is a little bit different than the ordinary, and perhaps more favorable to your palate.
- Dipping sauce: Of course, the obvious use for salsa is to use it as a dipping sauce for tortilla chips.
- Topping: Use salsa as a topping for savory dishes such as burritos and tostadas; add a dollop of salsa to a slice of sweetbreads such as zucchini bread, banana nut bread, and pumpkin bread; use as the topping for crostini appetizers. By the way, crostini is an appetizer made by toasting French bread and topping it with fresh vegetables similar to the vegetables found in salsa.
- Pizza: Use as a base for pizza.
- Use it as a simmering sauce for any kind of meat: When you are slow-cooking chicken, beef, or pork, pour in a cup of salsa and let it simmer in the melded flavors of the salsa.
- Enhance your macaroni and cheese dish: Stir a tablespoon of salsa into your serving of mac and cheese before eating.
- Nacho sauce: Chop 1 cup of American or Velveeta cheese and place it into a small pot. Pour ½ cup of salsa into the cheese and heat until the cheese melts. Pour into a serving bowl and enjoy this sauce as a nice dip for corn tortilla chips.
- Diced tomato substitute: Whenever a recipe calls for diced tomatoes, I substitute it with salsa. Casserole dishes do well with this substitution, especially when the dish is Latin-inspired. I also like to put salsa into spaghetti sauce mixture to give spaghetti a Mexican-Italian infused flavor.
Depending on your mood, you can enjoy this salsa as a topping for savory or sweet dishes or mix it into your recipe to give it a completely different flavor profile.
© 2020 Marlene Bertrand