Tomatoes and Cucumbers, oh my!

Photo by Polina Tankilevitch on Pexels.com

Is this the time of year where neighbors are leaving excess produce from their gardens on your doorstep? Our church has a table set up for such a garden’s exchange. Take a few tomatoes, leave a few cucumbers while wondering what will anyone do with that huge zucchini. Summer is winding down and gardens are being harvested everywhere which make it a prime time to pull out some family recipes and enjoy the bounty.

My father (Thomas Neunaber) loved to slice ripe tomatoes and add a little salt or mayonnaise and eat them separate from any green salad. Find him a nice Beefsteak Tomato and he was a happy man. A delight only topped by being around his family, especially the grandkids.

Other than tomatoes, the other vegetable that seemed to always be in abundance this time of year was the cucumber. If you Google Cucumber Salad, you will find a number of Gurkensalat  or German Cucumber Salads available. Most of these recipes are laden with sour cream and I am sure they are tasty. However, the cucumber salads we grew up with in our household were not the creamy variety. These are the type you would find on the Salatteller, the salad plate, of most German restaurants. I found this one online that is probably the closest to the one on our table but it is even more fancy than our creation. German Cucumber Salad (Gurkensalat)

My family version of the Cucumber salad.

My father’s recipe is simpler than those I found posted elsewhere. He did not add chives and there were always fresh onion slices in the vinegar solution, not minced dried onions. Instead of dill, often there was celery seed. I am not a fan of dill myself, so this is my preference as well. It is easy to throw together.

Simply slice the cucumbers in the serving bowl. Slice an onion over the cucumbers. If standard onions are a bit strong, try red onions or Walla Walla Sweet Onions. I this bowl, I added both celery seed and dill. Lastly, add about 1/4 cup of vinegar, some sugar to sweeten and some water to help blend it all together. Seal it and refrigerate awhile before eating. Simple. Simple, Simple.

If you have some summer recipes to share, especially if they are part of your German heritage, let me know. Maybe I can put them in a future post.

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