Inside a cucumber is a very pale green flesh that is both moist and crunchy, with edible fleshy seeds. Varieties that are to be eaten fresh are known as ‘slicing cucumbers’.
Gherkins cucumbers, usually much smaller than slicing cucumbers, are specially grown to make pickles.
HOW TO CHOOSE
Make sure you add them to your meals & snacks during the warm summer months when they are in season. Although slicing cucumbers are available year round, they are at their best from May through July.
Field Cucumbers: Small, firm and bright medium to deep green are best. Although occasionally bitter, due to an unhealthy plant, most of the bitterness can be removed from the peel and the stem. Thinner cucumbers will generally have less seeds than those that are thicker. Whenever possible, select unwaxed cucumbers, so the nutrient-rich skin can be safely eaten. Avoid cucumbers that are yellow, puffy, have water-soaked crevices, or are wrinkled at their tips.
Long English Cucumbers: A good variety if you focused on looks–you can cut it into round, green trimmed slices. This green house cucumber is longer in length, usually between 12 and 20 inches, has less seeds, a thinner skin, and is displayed at the farm market in a plastic wrapper–instead of a wax coating–to improve shelf life. These characteristics are great time-savers in the kitchen, since there’s no need to peel or seed the cucumber before slicing it.
Pay close attention to the colour. A fresh one has a deep green skin and no blemishes, that is, also, firm and not soft at the ends.
Cucmbers are temperature sensitive, best in 7-10°C (45°- 50°F):
- Unwashed cucumbers keep well in the crisper drawer of the fridge, for up to 10 days.
- If too cold, the cucumber will get soft, translucent and slimy.
- Cucumbers should not be left out at room temperature for any length of time, as this will cause them to wilt and become limp.
- Don’t freeze cucumbers, since they will turn to mush.
To preserve freshness, wrap unused portions with plastic wrap and place in a sealed container.
There is no need to peel unwaxed cucumbers, but should still be washed before cutting. Without exception, waxed cucumbers should be peeled first. Cucumbers can be sliced, diced, or cut into sticks. Although the seeds are edible and nutritious, some people prefer to remove them. This is an easy process when the cucumber is cut lengthwise. Use the tip of a spoon to gently scoop out the seeds.
Cutting: For best results, use a sharp serrated knife. First, remove the cello wrap on the cucumber. Lay it on its side, cut off, and discard 1/2″ from each end. Then cut your slices to desired thickness. Not required, but to seed a cucumber, cut it lengthwise and scrape the seeds out with a spoon or knife.
Skin Scoring: This is not necessary with Long English Cucumbers but to release more flavours from the cucumber, you can score the skin with a fork before cutting.
Sautéing: Cut cucumber into 1/4″ thick slices. Sauté over a medium heat in a few tablespoons of your family’s favourite sauce. Stir often until cucumbers are crisp with a tender interior.
Steaming: Cut cucumber slices as directed above and place in steamer. Total cooking time is 3-5 minutes.
Adding a crunchy cool cucumber to your salads, as bigger chunks or wedges, is an especially good way to increase your fiber intake. They are lovely pickled and make a nice side or topping with seasonings such as salt, dill, chives, tarragon or mint, dill, onions, vinegar, and sugar.
Extemely low in calories with a 95% water content. Cucumbers’ hard skin is rich in fiber and contains Vitamin A and Vitamin C, folic acid, ilica, potassium and magnesium.
The silica found in cucumber juice is a recommended source for:
- healthy connective tissue (muscles, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and bone)
- improving the complexion and health of the skin. In addition, its high water content provides natural hydration for glowing skin.
- along with the cucumber’s ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and caffeic acid, it’s a great topical aid for various types of skin problems (swelling under the eyes, burns, sunburn, and eczema).
Cucumber (raw, sliced), 1/2 cup (50g)
Total Fat: 0.06g
- Cucmbers are a non-toxic source for insect pest control: Ants have a natural aversion to cucumbers, especially bitter ones. Place the cucumber peelings with salt along the routes you see ants coming in your home or garden and they won’t cross this line.
- Although we’ve all grown up using milk, water, or bread as a soothing remedy for the burning sensation experienced when eating spicy foods, cucumbers will do the best job at soothing the mouth.
Cucmbers belong to the same family as watermelon, zucchini, pumpkin, and other types of squash.