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  • Julie Saalsaa, NC

Food Friday: Cucumbers


Right now, we have an abundance of cucumbers growing in our garden, so I thought it would be fitting that it would be the next Food Friday blog topic. I will make sure from here on out that the foods I cover are currently growing in Wisconsin – at least during the growing seasons. There are several different varieties of cucumbers. I personally hate eating cucumbers out of season…well, at least the typical thick- skinned cucumbers that are covered in wax. I love this season when they are growing fresh and I can just pick and eat. So, what makes cucumbers so special?


Pros Low in calories. Good cleansing vegetable. Good source of vitamins C and A and folic acid. The skins contain fiber, as well as necessary minerals: silica (trace mineral needed for connective tissue health), potassium, magnesium, and molybdenum.(1)


Cons Can irritate some people's stomachs, especially the ones with seeds. To help with this, remove the seeds before eating. Can make you belch.




Fun Fact
Cucumbers are 95% water. 70% of the cucumbers grown in the US are made into pickles.(1) You’ve all seen it…a depiction of a typical spa day…clay mask on the face and cucumber slices on the eyes. Ever wondered if the cucumbers are really doing anything? Well, I’m here to tell you they are. When used topically, cucumbers can help reduce swelling under the eyes and also for sunburns. They contain ascorbic acid and caffeic acid, both which help prevent water retention. (1)

How to Cook/Eat/Serve Eat raw, make into salads, pickle.


Nutritional Facts (2) 1 cup sliced & unpeeled =

12 calories 0.8 g fiber 17 mg calcium

14 mg magnesium 162 mg potassium

3.8 mg vitamin C

17 µg folate

86 IU vitamin A


How to Store There's debate on how to store cucumbers. They like the temperature to be between 40 and 55 degrees. Below 40 and they get soft and watery. If you store them in the refrigerator, put them in plastic storage and put towards the front towards the door (it's warmer there). If you keep them on the counter, do not store them by tomatoes or apples and eat them within a couple of days.


Recipes



Cucumber Water

Instead of lemon in your water try sliced cucumbers. It’s a refreshing and cleansing thing to enjoy on a hot summer day. Just wash and slice cucumbers thinly, put in your water and enjoy. Keep a pitcher of cucumber water in your refrigerator ready to go.



Lynn's Sweet Cucumber Salad 3 to 4 medium cucumbers 1/2 cup mayonnaise 2 tsp. sugar or honey 1 Tbsp. milk

You can either peel the skins or leave them on. Slice cucumbers thinly. Set aside. Mix the next 3 ingredients together until smooth. Fold in cucumbers. Salt and pepper to taste.



Quick Gazpacho Soup (1)

Puree:

1 peeled cucumber

1 c fresh tomatoes

1 green pepper

½ red onion

Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve chilled.



Cucumber Dip (3)

2 c. plain yogurt

1 c. grated cucumber

1 minced garlic clove

1 ½ t. dried dill weed or 1 T. fresh dill

¼ t. salt

1 ½ T. lemon juice

Mix all ingredients together. Chill 1 hour. Can also use as dressing on salads. Makes 3 cups.

References

(1) Murray, M., Pizzorno, J., & Pizzorno, L., (2005). The encyclopedia of healing foods. New York, NY: Atria Books.

(2) United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, (2019). USDA Food Composition Databases. Retrieved from https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/search/list

(3) Kaping, J. & Anderson, C., (2015). Farm Girl Fresh eating pure in a processed foods world. Litchfield, MN: Farm Girl Fresh, LLC.

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