No question, this was an awful summer at the pea patch. But a glance through old archives shows carping about cold conditions as recently as two summers ago, when we didn’t get much ’til after Labor Day and the first cherry tomatoes came ripe on September 15. About the same as this year, go figure.

Something those old posts also suggest is that cucumbers grow no matter the conditions. Cukes are not exactly a superfood; a half-cup of slices yields 8 watery calories and a bit of vitamin K, and that assumes you eat the skin. But they’re refreshing to eat, and we never really seem to tire of them. A good thing, because they keep on coming. This year ours started producing in late July and are still going strong. Even when you channel a steady supply to the food bank, to nice neighbors, and to your mother, there’s still plenty to go around.

The thing to do these days of course is to make pickles. I love pickles, and last year I bought a pickle slicer and made lots of pretty-looking bread-and-butter pickles. Tasty. This summer I even planted a warty little cornichon bred for preserving. Problem is, we still have so many pickles from last year.

So. This season we’re slicing and dicing cukes and eating them fresh. Tossing them with avocado and blue cheese in a green salad. Tucking them into sandwiches of leftover roast lamb and a yogurt-dill sauce. You could even serve with smoked salmon and cream cheese on toast points if that’s the way you swing, and better peel away every trace of dark green skin while you’re at it. Me, I like to gussy up slices with a vinaigrette and serve alongside big flavors.

With steak tacos or similar good things: Combine juice of ½ lime / 1 tsp sugar / 1 tbls neutral oil / big pinch smoked paprika / big pinch cumin / 12 sprigs minced cilantro (optional) and toss with 1 cucumber sliced into thin rounds. Let flavors mingle for 15 minutes, then serve.

With Asian fare especially grilled meats or fish: Combine 2 tsp rice vinegar / big pinch sugar / 1 tbls neutral oil / ½ tsp chili-garlic paste, or to taste / 12 leaves minced fresh mint / 6 sprigs minced cilantro (optional) and toss with 1 cucumber sliced into thin rounds. Let flavors mingle for 15 minutes, then serve.

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