Produce Overload
July 20, 2022 4:54 PM   Subscribe

I got a produce box from the local library today with more food than I can eat (they're for everyone, but sized for families). I have ideas for some stuff, but not others.

The two problem items are carrots and cucumbers. There are a half dozen cucumbers. I need ideas on what to do with them. Usually, I eat them raw with a little sea salt. But not that many.

I also have about 3 pounds of carrots. I bake. So I'm wondering if I roast them like I do sweet potatoes (also in the box) and puree them, can I bake with them like I would sweet potato puree?

Out of the box ideas for potatoes also welcome. It's a 10 pound bag and I'm not a huge potato eater. I know they'll stay good for a while.
posted by kathrynm to Food & Drink (32 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Cucumber agua fresca
posted by phunniemee at 4:57 PM on July 20, 2022 [2 favorites]

Cucumber makes excellent summer salads! Cucumber Raita is a yogurt based Indian recipe and I also like vinegar-based cucumber salads like this one. You could easily add shredded carrots to it.

Carrots are also nice added to most curries or strews.
posted by coffeecat at 5:08 PM on July 20, 2022 [3 favorites]

I would do carrot soup, with some potatoes, planning to freeze some. Roast half the carrots, chop and simmer the others, add stock salt garlic turmeric, whatever. You can cook the tasters into the purée, or blend early and simmer potato chunks in that for a heartier feel.

Roasted carrots generally don't fall apart and disintegrate as easily as sweet potatoes ime; so plan for that.
posted by SaltySalticid at 5:09 PM on July 20, 2022

If you have a mandoline (or patience and knife skills), shave the cucumbers quite thin, let them sit in the rice vinegar/sugar/salt mix for sushi rice for 15 minutes or so, drain and eat.
posted by Kreiger at 5:14 PM on July 20, 2022 [2 favorites]

Refrigerator pickles! Cucumber and Martha Stewart has one with both carrots and cucumbers
posted by hydropsyche at 5:15 PM on July 20, 2022 [4 favorites]

I've made Sheldo's Special smashed cucumber salad from this recipe (in the notes section), it's very good, and uses a lot of cucumber.

I also like to add cucumber to tzatziki, I do a mix of finely chopped and blotted cucumber, Greek yogurt, garlic, olive oil and salt. It's good with grilled meats and vegetables, or just with pita.
posted by Lycaste at 5:25 PM on July 20, 2022

I do not know about baked carrots but I do like this five ingredient carrot salad which tastes MUCH better than you think it would, it's super refreshing.

4 carrots (or double seems to work fine too)
1/3 C. salted peanuts (I like cocktail)
2 T red wine vinegar
2 T peanut oil
few drops of sesame oil
(a sprinkling of roasted sesame seeds optional, but nice touch)

Cut carrots into small chunks. Add everything. Mix. Chill. Even better the second day.

With potatoes I will often mandoline or shred a ton of them, parboil them and then freeze them (parboil is a must, as you probably know) in one or two-serving size containers. Then I can just pull them out of the freezer and dump them in a pan to make hash browns, scalloped potatoes, various potato bake things.
posted by jessamyn at 5:33 PM on July 20, 2022 [3 favorites]

I love cucumbers so much so I jealous of your bounty. Two cucumber salads I have known and loved:

1. A big bowl of very thinly sliced peeled and seeded cucumber rings and very thinly sliced red onion with fresh garden herbs in a sherry vinaigrette. Scattered nasturtium flowers on top.

2. Cubed cucumber and cubed watermelon with fresh mint and feta cheese. Fresh lime zest and juice, olive oil, salt and cracked black pepper.

Agree with making tzatziki for sure. Yum.

My number one plan would be this super refreshing chilled cucumber arugula soup. It's delicious.

I like to use carrots for baking or pickling.
posted by RobinofFrocksley at 5:35 PM on July 20, 2022 [4 favorites]

This is a really good simple roasted carrots recipe
posted by hydropsyche at 5:53 PM on July 20, 2022

Chinese smashed cucumber salad is amazing
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 6:11 PM on July 20, 2022 [6 favorites]

Cold cucumber soup is delicious! Your search engine of choice will show you many recipes. Vichyssoise (cold leek and potato soup) is also great!
posted by MelanieL at 6:13 PM on July 20, 2022

Sort of old school, but Copper Pennies is a tasty summer salad. This is just one version, there are many recipes.

Definitely seconding refrigerator pickles.
posted by HonoriaGlossop at 6:19 PM on July 20, 2022 [1 favorite]

The answer to nearly every bumper crop problem, is a pickle.

Lacto-fermented carrots are both damn easy, and superior to non-fermented carrots in every way shape and form. They also happen to be a great, reliable way to get the natural pickle skills you never knew you needed.
posted by furnace.heart at 6:24 PM on July 20, 2022

Cucumbers: Korean Oi-Muchim
posted by paradeofblimps at 6:24 PM on July 20, 2022 [1 favorite]

Seconding that Chinese smashed cucumber salad. If you’ve got some Laoganma or other spiced chili and oil product, just cut up cucumbers and mix in a couple spoonfuls of that.

I have never found carrots to purée as well as sweet potatoes but I would recommend this Moroccan carrot salad. I would also recommend adding a few cloves of minced garlic to the linked recipe, and also zesting the lemons before squeezing and mixing them into the salad.
posted by Jon_Evil at 6:54 PM on July 20, 2022

When I have too many cucumbers from my garden at the end of the season, I peel them, scrape out most of the seeds, purée them and then freeze the pulp in ice cube trays. I toss an ice cube in water to give a hint of flavor and they’re also great in cocktails—grapefruit cucumber ginger gin fizz is my favorite.

For eating fresh, cucumber and cream cheese (or Boursin) sandwiches are delicious.

posted by kittydelsol at 7:08 PM on July 20, 2022



4 cups cucumber, chopped and peeled (1 lrg English cucumber)
4 cups chopped pineapple (1 large or two small)
1 cup fresh pineapple juice (or an extra cup of pineapple, if you don't have access to good, pure juice)
1 small red chili, seeded and chopped (if you want less spice use a jalepeno)
1 green onion (white and 1 inch of green), chopped
1 tbs lime juice
2 tsp sea salt
1 handful of cilantro leaves, plus a few extra for garnish
3 tbs of avacado oil, macadamia oil, or extra virgin olive oil
1 handful of finely chopped macadamia nuts (optional)

Do This

In a blender, add 3 cups each of cucumber and pineapple, the pineapple juice, chili, lime juice, salt, green onion. Blend until smooth.

Add remaining 1 cup pineapple and cucumber, the handful of cilantro, and 1 1/2 tbs oil. Pulse a few quick times (you want it to remain chunky). Taste for seasoning.

Chill in fridge.

Distribute evenly among bowls and evenly divvy up the Macadamia nuts, if using. Drizzle remaining oil and garnish with a bit of cilantro.


3 cups of carrot juice
1 small, ripe avocado
1/2 cup coconut meat
1/4 lime juice (about one reamed lime)
2 tbs of agave nectar
1/2 tbs minced ginger
1/4 tsp of cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp sea salt

1. Put everything in a blender and puree until completely smooth. Taste for seasoning.

2. Garnish with a few cilantro leaves (optional).

This soup is terrific. The recipe actually asks for 1 tbs of ginger but the two times I made it it was too gingery so I cut that in half.

And yes, it's a raw soup, to be served at room temperature.
posted by dobbs at 7:11 PM on July 20, 2022 [1 favorite]

For the Potatoes, Spanish Tortilla.
posted by dobbs at 7:21 PM on July 20, 2022 [1 favorite]

Carrot cake, of course!
posted by Mizu at 7:28 PM on July 20, 2022 [2 favorites]

I’ve found that slicing cucumbers thin adds a nice crunch and flavor to meat or cheese sandwiches.
posted by corb at 8:10 PM on July 20, 2022

Just this week, I tried two new recipes with cucumbers.

These sandwiches with cucumber, tomato and mint are delicious and refreshing.

I tweaked this recipe for cucumber hummus boats. I skipped the quinoa (Why bother cooking?), and I mixed everything with the hummus. Very summery also.

Both pretty easy.
posted by NotLost at 8:16 PM on July 20, 2022

Gazpacho is delicious and you can add extra cucumbers.

Roast the carrots in miso broth and olive oil. Let the broth reduce away and let them get quite done. delicious.
posted by theora55 at 8:57 PM on July 20, 2022 [1 favorite]

Carrots have a lot of sugar and carrots roasted to the point where carmelization happens are delicious and I can down huge quantities of them at a time. You can balance with savory stuff like garlic or chili or herbs (rosemary works well) and salt, or just salt.
posted by trig at 9:18 PM on July 20, 2022 [2 favorites]

Do you have a spiralizer? I’d do a version of Chinese cold sesame noodles with the noodles subbed with spiralized cucumbers.
posted by music for skeletons at 10:29 PM on July 20, 2022 [1 favorite]

Do you juice? Both cucumber and carrots make nice juice.

My fav. way to have cucumber lately is to peel and slice very thinly on my mandolin. Sprinkle with salt, let sit for 15+mins and then squeeze out any excess liquid. Make a yogurt dressing with dill, pepper and a bit of vinegar or lemon juice. I don't normally feel the need to add more salt. Add some very thinly sliced onion and mix in my squeezed cucumber. The salt/squeeze process greatly reduces the volume of the cucumber. So I basically eat a whole cucumber with my protein of choice as main meal by myself. I do not have any other sides. Surprisingly filling and very refreshing when it's hot outside. This would also be very nice with just a baked potato and not protein or both but if the purpose is to eat a lot of cucumber I'd pick one.

For carrots I normally just have carrot sticks or roast them, which doesn't use a whole lot of them. I will say that blanched carrots freeze well. Blanching them and then freezing means you maximise future use options as veg side, for soups or baking.
posted by koahiatamadl at 12:43 AM on July 21, 2022 [1 favorite]

Fuchsia Dunlop's Sichuan smacked cucumber recipe, which you will find right at the start of this Guardian summer salad roundup, is amazing. I can happily eat a whole cucumber at a sitting.

Caveat, for me the specified amount of chilli oil is too much (I use La-Yu chilli sesame oil, and it's powerful stuff), so I have to swap out most of it for plain sesame oil.

I would make carrot cake ( probably Nigel Slater's walnut carrot cake with mascarpone and orange frosting, or Nigella Lawson's ginger and walnut carrot cake, or maybe this cider and olive oil carrot cake from Smitten Kitchen) with some of the carrots... but one cake only needs 150 - 250g of carrots, which is a drop in the ocean, sorry!
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 2:24 AM on July 21, 2022 [1 favorite]

Carrots will keep for a month or more in the fridge (I wrap them in a damp towel and put them in my produce drawer) so don't worry about them too much. My strategy with carrots is to peel them and cut them and eat them with hummus. You can peel them up to a week or two before you get around to eating them.

If you still have a lot of carrots in a few weeks and they're starting to get floppy (they are still edible when they get floppy!) that's when I think you should start thinking about recipes.

For potatoes, my favorite easy preparation is oven-fried home fries/patatas bravas. Basically: chunk up as many potatoes as you want to eat, put them in an oven safe pan with kind of a lot of oil, and roast in a 450F oven for 30-40 minutes, turning the potatoes halfway through the cooking time. I used to try to make two or more servings of this at a time, even though I knew it wouldn't reheat perfectly; the problem was not that it didn't reheat well, it was that these are so delicious I eat them all no matter how much I cook!
posted by mskyle at 4:33 AM on July 21, 2022 [1 favorite]

Carrots play a big part in Moroccan cuisine, maybe you can find some inspiration there? Here is a couscous with seven vegetables, but perhaps explore that site.

I agree that carrots are great conveyors of dips. Once we always started a meal with a serving of carrot sticks, cucumber sticks and some dip, either hummus or yogurt-based.

Quick pickled cucumbers are delicious and versatile, I serve them with chicken, meatballs and in sandwiches. I boil I/2 cup each of water and vinegar, with salt, pepper and bay leaf, for about ten minutes. Then I pour the mixture over half a sliced cucumber. Traditionally, you make very thin slices on the mandolin, last time I made thicker slices and they were good too. Let cool for at least 30 minutes.

It's a bit of work, but both potatoes and carrots make delicious chips.. I haven't tried this specific recipe, but it is very close to what I do in the air frier.

Also, my dog loves carrots as a snack.
posted by mumimor at 7:05 AM on July 21, 2022

I'll also say that just biting into a raw cucumber on its own, can make for a refreshing summer snack - if it's a good, tasty cucumber, which not all of them are. You can sprinkle on some salt between bites or dip in stuff like salt water, soy sauce, sesame oil, and so on, but really it's good even on its own. (Good) cucumbers are underrated.
posted by trig at 7:33 AM on July 21, 2022 [1 favorite]

This is a really good cold cucumber soup.
posted by amarynth at 8:34 AM on July 21, 2022

Nthing the tzatziki idea. And the "dip the vegs in things" idea and the cucumber envy and the fast pickling!

Yes to the roast carrot puree as sweet potato substitute. You might have to tweak the sugar for the baked goods you're doing the swap in, but it'll work deliciously. Roast carrot puree will probably freeze well.
posted by SaharaRose at 4:25 PM on July 21, 2022

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