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Page 58 ( 2 pages)
Cucumbers are practically their own food group in Russia.
The most enthusiastic cucumber farmers I know – and they are almost evangelical – are those who tend their small dacha plots, carefully calculating the precise moment at which a cucumber has achieved perfect ripeness: crunchy, but sweet.
Every March, I can tell these die-hard cucumber dachniki from the amateurs when talk turns to what variety of cucumber seeds have been started on window sills:* usually in egg cartons or loose-leaf tea tins. The devoted dachniki itch for the May holidays, so they can race out to the dacha, get the kitchen garden plot in order, and plant their cucumber seedlings.
Cucumbers are the perfect crop for European Russia’s long, hot summer days: yielding a bounty throughout summer months that reaches its peak in late July, at which point the fleeting enjoyment of fresh-off-the-vine cucumbers begins to give way to the frenzy that is pickling season.
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