This cucumber cooler is made with Hmong cucumbers. Hmong cucumbers are larger and more watery than pickling cucumbers. The riper the cucumber gets (as it turns from yellow to orange), the less bitter. The mint adds a nice note.
The Hmong cucumber is halfway between a cucumber and a melon. It doesn’t taste like much on its own until you add sugar. Then it is transformed. Without a Hmong cucumber, use honeydew melon or a pepino dulce melon.
5 to 8 large mint leaves
1. Halve the cucumber lengthwise, in needed. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds.
2. Use the tines of a fork to scrape out the flesh, depositing them in a bowl. Try to get down to the cucumber skin. Discard when there is little flesh left. The flesh will be in pale green pieces. (If you want a smoothie-like texture, puree the flesh in a blender before moving on.)
Alternative method: Peel the cucumber; Follow step 1 to remove seeds; and then pulse in a food-processor or blender.
3. Measure how much flesh you have. For every cup, stir in 1 tablespoon sugar and 3 or 4 mint leaves. Your stirring will dissolve the sugar and bruise the mint. Don’t be alarmed as the cucumber flesh gives off some bubbles. Taste to make sure there is a pronounced sweet flavor.
4. For each 1 cup of flesh, add 1/2 cup water, stirring to combine. Serve over ice, stirring a few times to chill the mixture. (Alternatively, chill the mixture and then serve it over ice.) Present this cooler with a spoon for guests to eat the flesh. Garnish with lime wedge or lime slice.