Super Simple Tzatziki with Local Cucumbers & Tree Island Greek Yogurt

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When it's the season for cucumbers; they come fast and furious and farmers need to keep picking when they are at the prime. At our own farm we often find ourselves with a glut of cucumbers and zucchini, as they seem to come all at once. I've gotten really creative with ways to use them up over the years. 

Still one of my favourite ways to enjoy, is as a cooling summer dip or condiment to add to a spicy chili or curry in the form of Tzatziki or Raita. Here is a really simple recipe shared from our local Vancouver Island Small Batch yogurt producers, Tree Island Yogurt. 

This could easily be a 100% local recipe at this time (if you grow or know someone with a lemon tree - yes! you can grow lemons here!) 

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Local Cucumber & Greek Yogurt Tzatziki

Ingredients
1.5 cups Tree Island Natural Greek Yogurt
1-2 tbsp lemon juice (or juice of 1/2 a lemon) 
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped (I'm using my fresh, uncured garlic as it's so juicy) 
1 large cucumber, grated (or if making this as raita, then finely diced)
1 tbsp salt (this can be local too, so pick up some from Vancouver Island Salt co.)
1/3 cup dill, chopped (or if making this as raita, you can sub cilantro. Actually almost any green leafy herb like parsley, tarragon or parsley will do if that's what you happen to have on hand) 
Salt & Ground Pepper, to taste

Instructions
Peel and grate the cucumbers (or if fresh and organic, leave the skins on). 
Put in a colander & sprinkle with a tbsp of salt to draw the water out. 
Cover with a plate and put something heavy on top. 
Let site for approx. 30 mins, then drain well. (you can use cheese cloth to strain it).
Combine the cucumber with yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, herbs and salt & pepper to taste. 
Mix everything together, add more salt and pepper if needed. 
Put in refrigerator for at least an hour before serving. 

Enjoy with fresh veggies, pita bread or crackers. 

Local Sources: pick up local fresh herbs & cucumber at most any farmers' market this week (find them here), Sun Trio Farm grows beautiful organic cucumbers and greenhouse cukes are always in plentiful supply at Sun Wing. Or stop by your locally focused grocery store or market (find the list here).

Alternatives: I like to make a couple of changes to this and call it Raita (Indian condiment). Instead of grating the cucumber, I chop small. For the fresh herb, I use cilantro and add a bit of freshly toasted and ground fairly traded cumin from Gathering Place Trading Company. A great topping for a spicy veggie curry! 

Link to original recipe at Tree Island Gourmet Yogurt

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