The cries of victory likely could be heard to the next county--or to the next back yard, at least.
"We have one!" I heard Hubby exult somewhere amid the large expanse of vine in the middle of the garden. "It really did produce this year."
The cucumber vines had been gorgeous--all green and growing and huge. One would think that from them we'd have enough cucumbers to supply everyone in our hometown, or at least to make enough bread-and-butters to give to the family.
But alas! For weeks now, no cucumbers had turned up. Almost daily hubby would peer and paw around for some sign of life. The vines continued to spread out and become more lush, but very forelornly he would return from his hunt. No baby cukes under there.
That's what made this week's cry of joy from somewhere under the cucumber vines such a shock. We'd given up. Isn't that the way things just go? A popular song from a few years back sums things up pretty well: "Just when I thought our chance had passed, you went and saved the best 'till last."
Here as the summer moves on toward its finale, cucumbers--which usually are history at this point in the year--are starting to show. Just when time to plant the fall garden draws near, the cucumbers show promise (he says more blossoms are growing near the cucumber that's burst forth.)
But that's not all. Watermelons and cantaloupe are experiencing a late start as well. The watermelon vine, at this late date, has three promising melons and numerous other possibilities. The cantaloupe might have a late-summer bumper crop, too. Isn't life amazing?
Last night we celebrated our late-bloomer cuke with one of my all-time favorite cucumber dishes--Fried Cucumbers (prepared just like Fried Green Tomatoes) from my new cookbook, Way Back in the Country Garden. We shouldn't have, but Hubby and I were so ecstatic that the cucumbers had "made" this year, we poured a tiny bit of ketchup on and ate the whole bloomin' plate full.
4 medium cucumbers, washed, peeled, and sliced crosswise in thin slices
2 eggs, beaten (we use egg substitute)
1 cup milk (we use skim milk)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt (we use salt substitute)
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Wash, peel, an slice fresh cucumbers. A few at a time, dip cucumber slices in a mixture of beaten eggs combined with milk. Place flour and corn meal in a clear plastic zip bag; add salt and pepper. Into bag place cucumbers that have been dipped in egg-mik mixture. In skillet heat about 1-inch oil. Fry coated cucumbers in hot oil. Fry as you would fried green tomatoes.