With the mint in our garden now growing profusely once again, I can pick the leaves with abandon to mix into drinks. Not just for the minted green tea that Alex likes so much but for cold drinks too.
If you’ve gone through the archive of drinks recipes, you might have come across my cucumber cooler and cucumber and coconut smoothie, both of which are simply sensational especially during hot and humid days. Cucumber is such a great refresher — rehydrating and soothing, no wonder that slices of fresh cucumber are placed over tired and puffy eyes to soothe them.
But if you’re a stranger to drinks made from vegetables and the idea of pureed cucumber doesn’t sound all that appealing, well, although the cucumber is eaten as a vegetable, it is actually a fruit. Review your botany and be amazed. And when you stop thinking of the cucumber as a vegetable, then making it into a drink doesn’t sound so strange.
Still not convinced? Here’s an introduction to cucumber drinks that won’t make you turn your head away. By mixing cucumbers with sweet mangoes, you get that cucumber freshness without that feeling that you’re drinking a vegetable-based puree.
Mango, cucumber and mint smoothie
- 1 chilled cucumber
- 2 chilled mangoes
- plain simple syrup (you can substitute sugar), to taste
- juice of half a lime or lemon
- crushed ice
- 10 mint leaves
Peel the cucumber. Split into halves vertically. Scrape off the seeds with a teaspoon. Cut the flesh into small cubes.
Cut the mangoes, remove the stones and discard. Scoop out the flesh and cut into small cubes.
Put the cucumber and mango cubes into the blender. Pour in the lime or lemon juice. Add the simple syrup or sugar (start with a tablespoonful; you can add more later, if needed).
Add about half a cup of crushed ice into the blender. Process the mixture until the cucumber and mangoes are pureed. Taste. Add more syrup or sugar, if needed.
Tear the mint leaves and throw into the blender. Blitz a few times to chop the leaves.
Pour the smoothie into glasses. Garnish with whole mint leaves. Serve cold.