Cucumber water is one of my all-time favorite summer drinks. Usually, I add lime or pear slices, but I was inspired by the herb garden at Wildcraft Studio School to gather a bunch of tea herbs to my jar.
This fresh herb-infused water was lighter than a brewed tea, and the crisp garden cucumber slices were of course refreshing, but they also added an palatable new dimension of texture to a the water.
Cucumbers are a little mucilaginous, don’t you think? That’s a technical way of saying slimy. Cucumber water is a tad cloudy, if you look closely. I’m waxing poetic about the every-so-slight slimy/mucilaginous texture of cucumber water because a) I think that is what makes it so refreshing to eat and drink, and b) said texture is what blends so nicely with the flavors of fresh garden herbs.
In short, the weight of the cucumber carries the lighter yet more pungent flavors of the herbs. A match made in heaven (or the garden).
Which herbs to use? In short: any herb that tastes good fresh. The possibilities are endless.
- culinary herb: basils, thymes, mints and sages of all sorts; cilantro, tarragon, parsley, rosemary
- edible flowers: scented geraniums, nasturtiums, chrysanthemums, violets, roses, hollyhock, marigolds, rose
- medicinal herbs: calendula, holy basil, chamomile, borage, mallow, elderflower, clover, bee balm, lemon balm, yarrow, stevia
- weeds: dandelion, plantain, mullein flowers, pineapple weed, ground ivy, nettle
- fruits and veggies: chili peppers, tomato, squash blossoms, any sort of stone fruit, any sort of berry
This would be a great justification (as if one needs any) for an edible kitchen garden with lots and lots of varieties of herbs. Imagine chocolate mint, pineapple-scented geranium with cherries and cucumber. Or thai basil with nectarine, chilies and marigold? How gorgeous would that be?
This is my rough “recipe” for Garden Herb and Cucumber Water
- 1 medium cucumber, sliced
- 12 sprigs mint
- 6 sprigs chamomile
- 6 sprigs of flowering bee balm
- two 3-inch sections of the flowering tops of borage, plus extra flowers
- 3 springs lemon thyme
- 2 quarts water
Just stir and drink! I made a smaller pint-sized individual serving jar as well with just a smaller amount of ingredients.
Like a good pot of green tea, this drink keeps on delivering the flavor. In fact, it had more flavor after a few cups had been poured out and more water was added. Since the drink is not heated, I think the water takes a while to permeate the herbs cell walls. Once they soften, more flavor can be extracted.
I can’t wait to try out some more varieties. Any day I’ll have a few more cukes for the picking!
A few other cucumber-herb inspired recipes:
A Couple Cooks, with lemon and rosemary.
Orange, lemon, mint and of course cuke at No Gojis, No Glory.
Cucumber, raspberry, grape at Bembu.com.
Style Blue Print likes basil and cucumber.