Monty Python forgot to mention the cucumber but they arrived in England with the romans and thankfully were left behind. Emperor Tiberius ate them daily and to meet demand his gardeners created mobile vegetable beds and chased the sun with their precious cargo. Fore-runners of the wheelbarrow perhaps?
One of the fun products Suttons sell is a mould kit allowing fruit and veg to develop into heart and star shapes. I thought this was quite novel but not so. The romans used very similar moulds for forcing their cucumbers into interesting shapes. The mind boggles.
Everything, including cucumbers, falls in and out of favour and in the 1600s they were considered only fit for feeding to livestock. This earned them the new name of “Cowcumbers”.
Some human deaths were attributed to cowcumbers. This has never been proven but could perhaps have been due to early varieties having very high levels of the bitter flavoured chemical cucurbitacin. In very high quantities this can be poisonous.
Thankfully, cucumbers developed and gardeners found ways of reducing the bitter flavour. See blog – How to Avoid Bitter Cucumbers.
Suttons Cucumber King George
In 1911 Suttons introduced Cucumber King George V. HRH King George V visited Suttons in 1926 and toured the Reading site. But that was more to say, “thank you” for the part Suttons played in feeding the nation during the war rather than for the cucumber!
Cucumber King George is no longer available but it was bred from Telegraph, an improved version of which remains in our range today.
Finnish Cucumber Pickle
This year I grew Cucumber F1 Passandra and Cucumber Delistar plus the Cornichon vert petit de Paris. And I’ve been picking the fruits for weeks. Great with salad, but even better in gin, I like to pickle them with dill. I was given the following recipe by a friend from Finland. So easy to make and ready to eat within just a few hours it is, to my mind, the best Pickled Cucumber recipe around.
3 to 4 cucumbers, sliced
0.5 cup of water
0.5 cup of cider vinegar
1 teaspoon of salt
3 tablespoons of sugar
1 teaspoon fresh dill, chopped
Heat the water in a pan with the salt and sugar until they dissolve.
Remove pan from the heat.
Add the vinegar and dill and stir gently.
Place the cucumber slices in a kilner jar or similar and pour in the liquid mixture.
Place in fridge and start to munch after 6 hours.