Cooking · Food & Drink · Gardening · Kitchen garden

Cucumber ice cream, really?

A few weeks ago I harvested a large number of cucumbers from the greenhouse.

I was thinking about what I could use them for, aside from salads and pickles, when it suddenly occurred to me that the crisp, clean flavour would lend itself well to an ice cream.

My thinking was inspired by a grapefruit and basil ice cream I’d made earlier in the year – it was clean, sharp and fragrant and the flavour seemed enhanced once frozen.

I’ve been meaning to give cucumber ice cream a go ever since and this weekend it became a reality.

The recipe was a bit of an experiment, I was very conscious of the need to control the sweetness so it didn’t overpower the taste of the fruit. I used honey together with sugar to naturally sweeten the mixture and only used the flesh of the fruit.

When the ice cream was fully frozen I couldn’t wait to try it – I thought it would either be a roaring success or a complete disaster. I’m happy to say that all worked out well.

The resulting ice cream was crisp and fresh in flavour and the taste of cucumber was well balanced with the sweetness of the honey and cream.

Last night we had the ice cream as a dessert after a fiery chilli con carne. It was a gorgeous palette cleanser and a wonderfully sweet treat to end the meal on.

If you have a glut of cucumbers and fancy giving the ice cream a go, here is my recipe. The type of honey you use will vary the taste of ice cream marginally depending on its flavour and intensity.

(And if you have a fig tree full of unripened small green fruit try this recipe for preserved green figs)

3 from 1 vote
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Cucumber ice cream

Ingredients

  • 160 g cucumber peeled, deseeded and diced (weight is after peeling and deseeding)
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 eggs
  • 80 g caster sugar
  • 60 g runny honey
  • 240 ml double cream
  • 240 ml whole milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Generous pinch freshly grated nutmeg optional

Instructions

  1. Peel and deseed the cucumber and chop finely. Place in a blender with the lemon juice and purée until very smooth.
  2. Beat the eggs, sugar and honey until foamy and light. Mix in the puréed cucumber, cream, milk and vanilla.

  3. Strain through a sieve and whisk in the nutmeg.

  4. Freeze in ice-cream maker. If making by hand place the mixture in an air-tight container and freeze for an hour and then mix in a food processor. Freeze for another two hours and mix again, do this one more time after another two hours and place back in freezer.

13 thoughts on “Cucumber ice cream, really?

  1. 4 stars
    This is delicious. The honey is a nice addition and adds a subtle flavor. My preparation resulted in a slightly icy, less creamy consistency which is probably from the high water content of the cucumbers and probably cannot be avoided. I made no changes except to add a dash of salt. I will make this again.

    1. I’m so glad you liked it, isn’t it wonderfully refreshing?! Did you deseed the cucumber? I often find that homegrown ones are much more watery than shop bought ones. Did you use an ice cream machine or churn by hand?

  2. I did not deseed because they were so tiny and I knew my blender would thoroughly blitz them, and it did. I did use a machine. I am making this again in two weeks when out of town family arrive for a meal. I’m sure there will be lovely comments all around! Thanks again.

    1. Good question! The 160g of cucumber is the weight after peeling and deseeding. It will vary quite a bit depending on the size of them and how many seeds they have. I used ones I’d grown in the greenhouse so it took two or three as they were quite small…

    1. I never have in this recipe, but many would not recommend raw eggs in a base. If you’d prefer you could make a custard base first – pop the cucumber mix in with the milk and heat in a saucepan to just below boiling, take off the heat and leave to infuse for around 30 minutes. Meanwhile mix the eggs and sugar until light in colour and after the milk mixture has infused, bring to just below the boil again and gradually add to the egg mixture, whisking all the time. Pour this combined mixture back into the saucepan and cook until it starts to thicken (without boiling it). Pour into a bowl and leave to cool, strain through a sieve and transfer to the fridge to cool before churning. I haven’t tried this so the flavour of cucumber might be somewhat reduced…

  3. 3 stars
    I am normally quite good at ice cream: earl grey, black pepper sour cream, and rose being my three specialties. This recipe is a nice start but I think it needs some improvement. My blender wouldn’t at all blend the cucumber so I had to mix in the cream. Maybe a good processor would have been better l’m not sure. I had a suspicion this would be too icey but I followed the rest of the recipe to a tee. I would next time cook the mix in the style of custard with half the called for milk, which I think might make for a creamier blend. I’m going to experiment with leaving the skin on without ever straining the mix for more flavor. I did add 1/2 cup of loose garden mint to mine which was excellent. Overall good but I’m not sure the instructions worked for me. I made a cucumber simple syrup to drizzle upon serve since I wanted a strong cucumber presence that this recipe didn’t quite reach for me (although subtly is no bad thing).

    1. Gosh, your repertoire of ice creams sounds delicious! You’re probably right that different blenders work to different levels of coarseness. It’s on my to-do list to make a custard-based version of this for comparison, my only hesitation is that the creaminess might overpower the delicacy of the cucumber. Do let me know how you get on, I’d love to hear. I use greenhouse cucumbers for this, homegrown – what sort did you use?

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