According to Accuweather, the temperature in Antipolo at 5.15 p.m. is 32C with a RealFeel of 34C. It was higher between noon and 3.00 p.m. I was wilting so I thought I’d hydrate with a glass of refreshing cucumber cooler with fresh mint. So refreshing!
I first tried cucumber juice at Alfredo’s Steak House along Tomas Morato in Quezon City. At first, I was a bit hesitant. Cucumber juice? I mean, I’ve tried carrot juice and hated it. Vegetables always seemed better eaten than drank. I’m glad I tried it though. After the first few sips, I was hooked.
After that, my brother and I would make cucumber cooler at home using the blender. That was a few decades ago. I’ve been enjoying cucumber cooler for that long and I still love it. Today, a conventional blender or food processor is not necessary to make cucumber juice. There are a lot of hand held gadgets, many of them non-electrical, that will puree the cucumber just as well. Or, you can even use electric juicers. I still use the blender though.
The best thing about this cucumber cooler? You need to add very little sugar because cucumber is already naturally sweet. You just want to heighten that sweetness to make a more exciting drink.
And the addition of mint? That was something I only started to do when we got into herb gardening. I love mint and I love adding it to drinks, hot or cold. And when you use mint straight from your garden? It’s hard to put into words but there’s this feeling of elation when, after watching herbs grow, you snip off the leaves and use them in all their glorious freshness.
So, how do you make this delightful cucumber cooler?
First, you peel the cucumber. It’s one medium-sized cucumber per person. Peeling is optional if the skin is thin. Otherwise, the cucumber cooler will have a not-so-goos mouth feel if you puree the cucumber without peeling.
Second, scrape off the seeds. The first time my brother and I made cucumber cooler years ago, we did not scoop out the seeds and, my, the result was just terrible. If the mouth feel of pieces of thick cucumber skin is bad, the sensation of ground cucumber seeds in your mouth is even worse.
I know, I know. Cucumber seeds are perfectly edible. Sure, if you’re eating the cucumber. But since you’re pureeing it to make a drink, you want the puree to be smooth and free from “grits” which the ground seeds resemble.
If you’re using a blender, dice the cucumber before pureeing to make it easy for the blades to smash the pulp. Add a little water too to help the motor along.
Ready to make cucumber cooler? Here’s the recipe.
This is an updated version of the recipe originally published on February 1, 2006.
Peel the cucumber.
Cut the peeled cucumber lengthwise and scrape off the seeds.
Dice the deseeded cucumber.
Place the diced cucumber in the blender with the ice cubes and a quarter cup of water. Process just until smooth.
Add the mint leaves and pulse two to three times.
Pour the cucumber cooler into a glass, garnish with a sprig of mint and enjoy!