Cucumbers are botanically fruits but are known as vegetables in the culinary world. They are cylindrical and grow on vines, ranging from thick and stubby to long and smooth in shape. Cucumbers are freshly available in the summer season.
HOW TO SELECT AND STORE
Choose cucumbers that are firm with rounded ends. They should be a bright medium to dark green in color. Avoid those that are yellow, have sunken areas, or are wrinkled at the ends. Those that are smaller or with thinner skins tend to have fewer seeds than their thick-skinned counterparts. Store cucumbers in a plastic bag in your fridge. If you do not use the entire cucumber, store it in a tightly sealed container to prevent it from drying out.
HOW TO PREPARE
Both the seeds and skin of cucumbers are edible and nutritious. Wash the cucumbers first to remove any wax on their skins. To remove their seeds, cut the cucumber lengthwise, and then use the tip of a spoon to scoop them out. Cucumbers are best eaten raw.
A LITTLE HERE, A LITTLE THERE
Slice and top them with cream cheese, garnished with a cherry tomato, chives, or bacon
Toss them with a coleslaw-style dressing for a side salad
Thinly slice and add to sandwiches
Finely chop and replace the tomatoes in your favorite salsa recipe
Slice and add to water for a refreshing drink
WHAT DO YOU GET FROM THEM?
Cucumbers are good sources of vitamin A, C, and K. They are also high in fiber and water content, both aiding in good digestive health.
DID YOU KNOW
The phytochemicals in cucumbers help tighten the collagen in your skin. Slicing them to place on your body can help with both wrinkles and cellulite.
TRY THESE RECIPES!
Refrigerator Dill Pickles
3 1/2 cups water
1 1/4 cups white vinegar
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp sea salt
4 cups cucumber, sliced or cut into spears
2 garlic cloves, whole
2 heads fresh dill
Stir water, vinegar, sugar, and sea salt together in a saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil; remove from heat and cool completely. Combine cucumber spears, garlic cloves, and fresh dill in a large glass or plastic container. Pour cooled vinegar mixture over cucumber mixture. Seal the container with a lid and refrigerate for at least three days.
Crunchy Cucumber Salad
Servings: 8 (1/2 cup servings)
A cool side dish to bring and share at a summertime barbecue or for enjoying with a veggie sandwich. Use one teaspoon of fresh dill in place of dried dill when available for a vibrant green addition.
3 cups thinly sliced cucumbers (2 medium or 1 large cucumber)
1 cup thinly sliced sweet onion (1/2 large onion)
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon granulated Splenda or 2 tablespoons apple juice concentrate
1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Pinch cayenne pepper, or to taste
Place cucumber slices in a medium bowl and stir in onions.
Mix remaining ingredients in a small bowl.
Pour mixture over cucumbers and onions; toss lightly and cover.
Refrigerate until ready to serve. Toss before serving.