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Cucumber Cool

Justin Fox Burks

Are you like me and seem to plant too many cucumber plants each year?

In April, I am so excited about my summer garden that I can’t help but buy 3 of my favorite plants. Then about this time of year, I am looking for new ways to enjoy the 3 or 4 cucumbers that ripen everyday.


I asked my “vegetable-expert” friend Justin Fox Burks, author of The Chubby Vegetarian blog and The Southern Vegetarian Cookbook, to give me some new ideas.


“One of my favorite things to do with summer produce, cucumbers especially, is to make Summer Salad. My grandmother kept a sea foam green Tupperware container full of onions, tomatoes, and cucumbers in the refrigerator all summer long. The recipe is simple. Just cut up your vegetables and add salt, sugar, vinegar, and water.”


“For a more interesting twist, you can use your vegetable spiralizer to make cucumber noodles. Just add an Asian dressing, a few sprigs of mint from the garden, and some cashews for a great light lunch or side dish.” If you don’t have a vegetable spiralizer, Justin recommends making this dish with sliced or julienned cucumbers.


Sliced cucumbers and lemons can make a cold glass of water more refreshing. Justin takes it one step further. “A great way to use up a lot of cucumbers from your garden is to run them through your juicer and make cucumber lemonade.”


“One of the craziest things you can do is to make a quick pickle and add some Kool-Aid drink mix for a uniquely Southern treat.” Made with either lime or cherry Kool-Aid, Kool-ickles are a gas station delicacy in the Mississippi Delta.


This is Jennifer Chandler with The Weekly Dish. Stay Cool as a Cucumber!


For more recipe ideas,



Cucumber Noodles with Mint and Cashews


Honey/ Mint Cucumber Lemonade


Kool-ickles (Kool-Aid pickles)


Summer Salad


Summer is all about simplicity, and the combination of ingredients in a very Southern summer salad leaves little room for improvement.

Think of summer salad like a quick pickle. Leave it overnight or store about a week. Strain the salad and serve it with a drizzle of olive oil. Summer perfection on a plate.


  • 2 cucumbers (about 3 cups sliced)
  • 2 medium tomatoes (about 2 cups sliced, quartered)
  • 1 small white onion (thinly sliced, about a cup)
  • 1 1/2 cups vinegar
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar

Slice the cucumber any way you'd like. The easiest way is to slice them into "coins," but it's also fun to slice them longways using a vegetable peeler. Place the sliced cucumber, tomatoes, onion vinegar, water, salt and sugar in a two-quart food storage container. Stir and refrigerate for a day before serving.


Serves 4.



Recipe reprinted with permission from The Southern Vegetarian by Justin Fox Burks and Amy Lawrence.

Jennifer Chandler graduated at the top of her class from Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. She is a full-time mom to two daughters in Memphis, Tennessee, and is a freelance food writer, restaurant consultant, and author of four cookbooks The Southern Pantry Cookbook, Simply Salads, Simply Suppers, and Simply Grilling.