Cool as a Cucumber

Cool as a Cucumber
Posted July 3, 2012

Your farmers’ market has a wide selection of cucumbers to enjoy right now. From Persian and English, to Asian and pickling (Kirby) cucumbers, select some of each for great taste and crunch in all your summer recipes. Most of the farmers’market vegetable growers will have a selection from which to choose. In California alone, about 6,600 acres are planted with slicing cucumber varieties and 4,400 acres with pickling cucumbers. "Slicing cucumbers" are produced for fresh consumption. "Pickling cucumbers" are produced for eventual processing into pickles. Slicing cucumbers are usually larger and have thicker skins, while pickling cucumbers are usually smaller and have thinner skins.

Best for slicing:  garden cucumber, English cucumber, Japanese cucumber, Armenian cucumber, lemon cucumber
Best for pickling:  gherkin, cornichon, Kirby cucumber, lemon cucumber

Cucumbers provide us with a unique combination of nutrients. They’re loaded with phytonutrients that have valuable antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer benefits. They’re very low in calories – a whole cup is only 15 calories! 

Selecting & Storing Cucumbers

Choose firm, dark green, slender cucumbers that do not have soft spots and wrinkled skins.  The same goes for lemon cucumbers which should be firm.  Avoid those that have a dull color, starting to turn yellowish. Cucumbers should not be frozen due to the dramatic texture change after being frozen; therefore the best way to use cucumbers (either with or without the skin) is to use them in salads or as part of a recipe as soon as possible.  Cucumbers should be stored in the refrigerator and are best if used within one week.

Cucumber Trivia

  • Have you heard the term, “cool as a cucumber?” The reason is that the inside of a cucumber can be up to 20°F cooler than the outside temperature!
  • The cucumber is an edible fruit which belongs to the gourd family Cucurbitaceae.
  • All of these products can be made directly from California fresh cucumbers: Eye soothers, Facial astringent, facial masks, soaps.
  • Cucumbers are native to India and have been cultivated for over 3,000 years.

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