Cooling Cucumber Gazpacho

Cucumbers are the fourth most widely cultivated vegetable in the world. Cucumbers are one of the most underrated vegetables around; they have exceptional healing powers. Studies have shown that cucumbers clear the body of toxins, cleanse and purify the blood, strengthen the heart, moisten and cleanse the large intestines and lungs, treat kidney and bladder infections, alleviate fevers and summer heat, and can even prevent heat stroke.

Cucumbers aid in hydrating the body, reducing edema/swelling and are a popular remedy for relieving redness and swelling of eyes. They have the ability to cool the body's temperature and can improve the complexion and health of the skin. Experts say that a pack of grated cucumber placed on the skin brings healing to the cells and tissues of the face. The juice of cucumber can even accelerate the healing of burns and wounds. This super food also has diuretic properties and is anti-inflammatory.

What better way to stay hydrated and cool during the dog days of summer of the year than a gazpacho made with cucumber? Originating in the southern Spanish region of Andalusia, gazpacho is a soup made of raw vegetables and is served cold.

5 small cucumbers, peeled and chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
3 green onions, chopped
1⁄4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 small jalapeño, seeded and chopped
2 cloves of garlic, pressed
1⁄2 cup water
1⁄4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Juice from 1 lime
Salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste

Combine cucumbers, bell pepper, green onions, parsley, jalapeño and garlic into a blender or food processor. Add water, lime juice, salt and fresh ground pepper and then pulse to reach the desired consistency. Some folks like their gazpacho chunky, while other prefer complete liquefaction. The gazpacho is best if chilled for at least 2 hours. Taste the soup and add more salt and pepper if needed before serving. You may garnish with a variety of complimentary additions such as mint, basil, a dollop of sour cream or even nasturtium leaves.