Armenian Cucumber "Apple" Crisp

Thanks to our friend, Renu, we have been gifted with some incredibly huge Armenian Cucumbers!  So what to do with these beauties?  Since we had 6 of these monsters, I decided to do something a little out of the box...

5020427476?profile=originalYou may have heard of the "Mock Apple Pie" recipes, there is one using Ritz Crackers and another that uses Zucchini and I thought if Zucchini works, then why not these overgrown melons?  The key ingredient to making this taste like apples is the Cream of Tarter.  Most recipes called for about 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of it and since I was making sooo much of it, I just upped it to approximately a tablespoon full (really just dumped in what I had left of it).   I have to admit, like most of the time I cook, I just winged this and didn't measure anything so I'll relate my best approximations of what was used. 

  • 1/2 gallon worth of diced Armenian Cucumbers (this was two melons each +/- 18 inches long), peeled and seeded (saved those seeds btw! the melons were ripe enough for viable seeds I think)
  • Juice and Zest from 2 Navel Oranges and 3 Limes (would have used Lemons, but I didn't have any at the moment)
  • 2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1 Tbls Cream of Tartar
  • couple handfuls of dried cherries
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1.5 Tbls cinnamon
  • 2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp cloves
  • 1 tsp dried ground ginger

I put all this in a very large saucier type pan brought to a boil then lowered the heat and simmered until the Cuke bits were translucent and I had a chance to adjust the flavors.  I added some corn starch to thicken it up (you could use flour or agar or something else I suppose if you prefer) and dumped it all into a baking dish.

The crisp topping was a medley of nuts ground in my blender, whole wheat flour, raw turbinado sugar and some butter.  If I were to guess on quantities:

  • 1.5 cups nut flour (cashews, almonds, walnuts, flax and pecans)
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour (freshly grown in said blender, yes I have a Vitamix)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter

The dish was baked uncovered for about 45 minutes in my convection oven at 350°F.

This was amazing.  It tasted like a rhubarb apple crisp that I grew up with in MN.  YUMMM!!

Sorry it didn't last long enough for me to get a picture of the whole thing, we ate some first...


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  • I made this again today using lemons and it tasted even more like apples in there, I used the zest and juice of three lemons in the dish.  And I tried it without peeling this time and it was all good.  So don't peel them and use lemons for your citrus.

    Also - tried the blender cuke soup and it was great!  I threw in a few tomato, since they were just sitting there on the counter and I really loved it.  The yogurt was absolutely essential, I used dill for the herbage and served with a side of toast.  Yum!

    • glad to hear it. The soup base is a great starter ! Options endless, depending upon preferences and availability. 

      hmmm tomatoes, cilantro... yogurt  gazpacho?  I like playing with my food :)

  • yum! I will have to try that one ! LAst year I had what I thought was huge armenians  but yours topped them. THis year I have not seen any yet. When did you plant yours?

    ANother recipe I loved with mine ( all cukes but Armenian especially) take off peels and seeds and throw into processor add garlic, dill and yogurt for summer soup , or just slice thin and same ingredients. 

    • Funny you should ask, Linda.... In looking over planting notes just this past wknd I was trying to figure out when I put my Desert King Watermelon in. Lo and behold it was the planting day, same as the Armenian Cucumbers, that I had my partner take notes/make the map (1st and maybe only time for that!). Yeah, you see where this is going...? No date. That said, it was ~3/24; I grew them in Mesa. The plant went CRAZY. We had multiple harvests of 50-90+lbs.

      Hope that helps! And your soup sounds delish. :)

    • It does help immensely being that I was under the assumption ( from varied sources I think ) that Armenians were planted later in season than other cukes. I have harvested a few  "regular" cukes ( around 16 - 18 " long) but no Armenians yet. The bad news is there is a bitterness to them and the leaves are starting to show varied stages of odd. WIll post photos tomorrow hopefully. ALl the cukes are in 5 gallon and larger pots so far this summer. Re my recipe , yep it is yummy --- variations are add mint , or basil, or avocado. I love goat yogurt  in it personally. I love cukes and was hoping for bumper crop this summer and fall of various kinds. 

    • Linda, these planting guides may help. There are some variations between the 2, but more overlap than not.

      And of course there is always wiggle room and taking conditions into account. In your case, since containers get heat from all sides, I would plant them as early as possible.

      Hope this helps!

      Vegetable Planting Calendar- Maricopa County.pdf

      Low Desert Planting & Harvesting Guide.pdf

    • Renu,

      thanks for sending these. I have these already, and with so many books etc they had gotten forgotten. LOTS of info to compare - of course not all agree with each other. 

    • Oh, that soup does sound good!  We'll have to try that as I'm always looking for a good raw foods recipe.  :)

  • So glad you made good use of them, Liz. Yum is right!

    I have inundated my friends with these giant cucs to feed to their chickens (they LOVE them), and I thought that was a darn good use. It hadn't dawned on me to cook them; you have inspired me.

    Your little guy is too cute. And strong! :)

  • oooh.. that looks good. Things were busy early this year and we got a late start on Armenian Cukes and our family is missing them SO much. Hopefully our vines will start producing like crazy in the next few weeks.

    I'll have to file that away for a desert idea.

    Do you think you really had to peel them? The skins are usually so thin on the cuke's that it seems like it wouldn't need to be peeled

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