Light and refreshing the cucumber is one of the first vegetables to welcome the start of the summer produce season.
By Maya Dangerfield
What About It
There’s a lot to learn about cucumbers.They’ve been the subject of court cases; The Supreme Court ruled that cucumber along with the tomato were vegetables rather than fruit. Rumored to be the favorite food of Roman Emperor Tiberius, cucumbers were enjoyed centuries later in Charlemagne’s court. A summertime favorite with a storied past the cucumber has a long history of heralding in the start of the new season. A vined fruit with a thin skin, cucumbers are cylinder shaped and typically between eight and twelve inches in length. Comprised mostly of water like the equally hydrating watermelon, the cucumbers taste is light and refreshing.Of the 998 million pounds of cucumbers produced in the United States nearly 20% ultimately end up in jars. Pickling (where cucumbers are left in brine or vinegar mixture) is a favorite way to enjoy cucumbers and the average American eats more than nine pounds of pickles annually. Pickle preferences depend on regional tastes—North Americans prefer pickles with warts while Europeans prefer wartless varieties like gherkins (Burr cucumber). A summer favorite, cucumbers are harvested twice—one in early summer (May and June) and another in late summer/fall (August September).
How to Use It
Cucumber skins are easily removed and its seeds are soft and edible. Eating the cucumber’s skin depends on personal taste. When buying cucumbers select produce free from bruising or yellowing skin. Cucumbers hold up well when refrigerated but they’re best within a week of purchase. Want to keep your cucumbers fresh? Store your cucumbers away from fruits like peaches, apricots, or blueberries as they emit an ethylene gas that shortens vegetable lifespan.Looking for the latest cucumber recipe? Honest Cooking has you covered with these cucumber inspired favorites.
A recovering teacher and editorial intern for Honest Cooking, Maya began her journalism career at Greatist.com. A food lover who never misses dessert, she is also a passionate sports enthusiast. Currently Maya freelances for FoodmakerMedia and copywrites for Techturized. Her writing has been published for Greatist.com, Shape.com, and The Washington Post.