Monday, 3 November 2008
This drink is simply delicious.
It's an iced cucumber drink apparently from Aceh on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, the unfortunate epicentre of the 2004 tsunami.
The cucumber adds a cooling, melon flavour while the lime gives zing. It was so good that I can honestly say it could be my new favourite drink.
Es Timun Aceh (Aceh-Style Cucumber Limeade)
Based on a recipe from The Art and Science of Food. Makes 2.
Juice of 3 limes
100ml kaffir lime syrup
1. Halve cucumbers lengthwise and scrape out seeds.
2. Coarsely grate cucumbers, reserving juices.
3. Combine cucumber juice, lime juice, kaffir syrup and ice. Shake vigorously.
4. Stir cucumber pieces through and pour into glasses. Drink immediately.
Cucumbers (Cucumis sativus) are related to squash and muskmelons, growing from creeping vines with curly tendril and leaves that form a canopy over the elongated fruits.
Green cucumbers are the unripe fruit whereas the ripe, yellow stage is too bitter for consumption.
In the past I have always argued that cucumbers have a slight melon flavour, depsite many people scoffing at this observation. Having done my research I am pleased to report that this is not my imagination and that cucumbers indeed have a “watery, light melon taste”. Interestingly, however, a minority of people will report a “highly repugnant taste some say almost perfume like” due to the “presence of the organic compound phenylthiocarbamide”
There are many varieties of cucumber, the most interesting being the Indian dosakai which is spherical and yellow and commonly used in soups, pickles and chutneys.
The large genetic varieties of cucumber present in India leads botanist to believe it was native to the subcontinent. It has probably been cultivated in Western Asia for more than 3,000 years and was recorded in ancient Ur and the ancient saga of Gilgamesh.
Romans were very keen on cucumbers and Emperor Tiberius ate them daily. The Bible gives cucumbers two shout outs (Numbers 11:5 and Isaiah 1:8) and French emperor Charlemagne grew them in his 9th century gardens.
England had two introductions, the first in the 1300s and then again in the 1500s and Christopher Columbus introduced cucumbers to Haiti in 1494. In 1535 explorer Jacques Cartier discovered cucumbers growing in the area which is now Montreal and the Iroquois were already growing them when the first Europeans arrived in what is now upstate New York.
According to Wikipedia “The Romans are reported to have used cucumbers to treat scorpion bites, bad eyesight, and to scare away mice. Wives wishing for children wore them around their waists. They were also carried by the midwives, and thrown away when the child was born.”
Cucumbers are 96% water, making them ideally hydrating, but they also contain some vitamin C and caffeic acid which soothe the skin. Hence cucumber eye presses in beauty treatments.
Cucumber skin is rich in fibre, silica, potassium and magnesium. Silica is important for connective tissue (eg muscles, ligaments, cartilage and bone) and cucumber juice is said to benefit the skin’s complexion and relieve dermatitis and sunburnt.
The fitness worlds uses cucumbers are a diuretic and for weight loss although cucumber seeds and skin can give some people gas.
Cucumbers are flavoured by their seeds and age faster when stored with tomatoes, melons or apples. 60% of world cucumber production comes out of China, with the next largest producers being Turkey, Russia, Iran and the USA
Our family has always loved to eat cucumbers sprinkled with salt, vinegar and olive oil but there are many other ways such as pickles, tzatiki, stuffed with seafood or puréed into a cold soup.
Weekend Herb Blogging host for this week is Wiffy from Noob Cook, so be sure to visit her blog for the recap.
References & Photo Sources
Tags: morsels and musings food blog food and drink australia recipes weekend herb blogging whb drink beverage lime cucumber es timun aceh lime recipes cucumber recipes beverage recipes drink recipes indonesian recipes indonesian food indonesian cuisine