Harvest of the Month: Cucumber

Cucumbers are a part of the gourd family, which includes melon and squash. They are typically divided into two types: slicing cucumbers (often found on salads) or pickling cucumbers (often processed into pickles). Cucumbers are low in calories, being made up of mostly water. Although they don’t get the same attention as other foods for their nutritional properties, cucumbers are a good source of vitamin K, potassium, copper, and vitamin C.

How to select

It’s best to choose cucumbers that are in refrigerated cases, as opposed to those with no temperature control. They should be firm, rounded at the edges, and their color should be a bright medium to dark green. Avoid cucumbers that are yellow, puffy, have sunken water-soaked areas, or are wrinkled at their tips.

How to store

Cucumbers will keep for several days if stored in the refrigerator. If you don’t use the entire cucumber at once, you may put the leftover in a tightly-sealed container in the refrigerator to keep it from drying out.

How to prepare

Before you consume cucumbers, you should thoroughly wash the whole vegetable under cool water while scrubbing with a bristle brush. This will help remove the wax coating if it has one. Another option is to remove the skin before eating. If eating a slicing cucumber, just slice or dice to your desired shape and enjoy!

Try cucumbers in the delicious recipe for Cucumber and Black-eyed Pea Salad from Eating Well.

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