Old Cucumber

by | Apr 10, 2009 | Ingredients | 2 comments

Ingredient Name: Old Cucumber

Traditional Chinese Name: 老黄瓜 (lǎo huáng guā)

Nature:  Cooling

Taste:  Sweet

Looking to build your Chinese soup pantry?  Watch this video on “7 Basic Chinese Soup Pantry Ingredients” to help you get started!

 

Thank you to a follower who asked about what “kind” of cucumber is an “old cucumber”!  After some research, it’s basically, the aged on-the-vine-regular-cucumber.

The key is to keep it aging ON THE VINE until the skin is a dark orange brownish hue.

Old cucumbers are usually yellow, brown, and orangey in color and have quite a thick and wrinkled skin (makes sense given that it’s aged).  The inner flesh is almost white, but slightly yellowed as well.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, old cucumbers are cooling and help clear heat and moisture, and eliminate toxins from the body.  They are best used in spring soups where the weather is damp and humid.

Generally, old cucumber soups found in the Cantonese cuisine are made with beans (yellow, mung, red, black eyed) or barley or lentil.  These ingredients also help dispel moisture and are perfectly suited as spring soups when days are getting warm and humid.

 

 

 

How do I prepare it?
    I will gently wash the outside skin with warm running water.  I tend to keep the skin ON when using old cucumbers so it doesn’t disintegrate as it softens in the soup.  The skin is quite tough and hard, so it does the job in holding the cucumber flesh together in the soup.
    Alternatively, you can remove the skin and cut into smaller squares for quick boil soups as well.
Where can I buy it?
      • In most Asian supermarkets, you will find this unique type of cucumber
      • In wet marts in Hong Kong, simply ask the produce vendor and they will point you to it
      • Be sure to buy large, firm and heavy in weight cucumbers
Where can I buy it and cost?
      • Old cucumbers cost around $20-25 HKD each
Any benefits?
      • Old cucumber is good for clearing heatiness (cooling effect) and has a diuretic effect
      • They help dispel moisture and clear toxins in the body
      • Extremely high in dietary fibre, Calcium and Iron
      • It is also a good source of Vitamins A, B6 and C
Any precautions?
      • Old cucumbers are known to be a “cooling” food
      • Women who are pregnant or menstruating should take caution when consuming this

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