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Chinese Yellow Cucumbers
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Chinese Yellow cucumbers are oval-shaped cucumbers that grow to around 25 centimeters in length. Chinese Yellow cucumbers change color as they mature, starting green when young, then developing a lemon-orange, variegated pattern as they mature. The green-white inner flesh is crisp with a mild, sweet flavor that has hints of lemon and apple. Each cucumber contains many hard seeds that are surrounded by a thin, gelatinous coating.
Chinese Yellow cucumbers are available from the late spring to early fall months.
Chinese Yellow cucumbers are botanically classified as Cucumis sativus. They are a Chinese heirloom cultivar that is considered to be rare, even in China. They have vigorous vines and are very prolific, producing hundreds of cucumbers from just a few plants. Chinese Yellow cucumbers should be picked and used when they are young and tender, when the cucumber is just turning yellow and developing its stripes, as the seeds and skin turn tough and hard as the cucumber gets increasingly yellow and mature.
Like other cucumbers, Chinese Yellow cucumbers contain iron, potassium, and vitamins C and K.
Chinese Yellow cucumbers may be used raw in salads, or in cooked applications such as soups. They may also be used as a pickling cucumber. As their skin is non-bitter, it is not necessary to remove it before eating. Chinese Yellow cucumber can be used in the Sichuan-styled smashed cucumber salad known as “pai huang gua”, which features cucumbers dressed with seasame oil, soy sauce, rice vinegar, garlic, chiles or Sichuan pepper. They can be used in sandwiches and crudité plates, and pair well with other vegetables like snap peas, tomatoes, green peppers and onions. Store cucumbers in a bag in the refrigerator, where they will last for several days.
Cucumbers are considered to be cooling foods in Chinese medicine, and it is common to eat them during the hot, humid summer months. The Chinese often use cucumbers in stir-fries and soups.
Cucumbers were first found in India. They spread to ancient Greece and Rome before they were brought to China, where written records of cucumbers exist from around the 5th century BCE. It is unclear when Chinese Yellow cucumbers were developed, but many varieties exist in China. Chinese Yellow cucumbers are most commonly grown by home gardeners, and are occasionally available at farmers markets and specialty grocers in the United States.