Harvest of the Month: Cucumbers
While most people think cucumbers are a vegetable, they are actually a fruit! This is because they contain seeds and grow from flowering plants. Surprisingly enough, they are in the same family as squashes and melons. They are low in calories and contain many nutritional benefits, including hydrating properties. Cucumbers are 95% water making them a great way to stay hydrated, especially during the summer. Cucumbers also have cooling and soothing effects on the skin to decrease swelling and inflammation, which is why they’re used in spas!
There are hundreds of varieties of cucumbers, but they are often classified to specifically be used for slicing or pickling. Slicing cucumbers are best eaten fresh and are usually larger and thicker. Alternatively, pickling cucumbers are intended for the brine jar.
How to Select
Choose cucumbers that have a dark green skin and are firm to the touch. The lighter shades of green tend to be older and lack crunch and freshness. You will also want to feel the cucumber for any spongy spots.
How to Store
Cucumbers lose moisture easily so always keep them in a refrigerator in a plastic bag. It is also advised to put them in the front of the vegetable drawer rather than the back.
How to Prepare
You should rinse cucumbers under cool, running water before enjoying. Cucumbers can be eaten raw with salt and pepper, added to a salad, or used for dipping! If you would like to prepare pickling cucumbers, first bring vinegar, water, salt, and any other spices to a boil. Then add the brine and cucumbers to a jar and store in the refrigerator for 48 hours.
Try cucumbers out in this Tuna Salad Cucumber Boats recipe!