By Cathy Wilson
Cucumbers are popular long, lean and green garden vegetables. Technically, they’re fruits from the same family as watermelons and pumpkins, but most people consider them veggies.
The three most used varieties of cucumbers are:
Common slicing — smooth skin, 8-12” long.
English — seedless and referred to as burpless, 12-14” long.
Pickling — thicker and has bumpy skin, 3-7” long.
Nutritional value of a medium cucumber:
Total fat: 0 grams
Carbs: 6 grams
Protein: 3 grams
Fiber: 2 grams
Vitamin C: 10% of the recommended daily value
Vitamin K: 57% of the DV
Magnesium: 9% of the DV
Potassium: 12% of the DV
Manganese: 9% of the DV
Being 95% water, cucumber are a good source of hydration and replacing of electrolytes, especially for people who have trouble drinking enough water.
Producers put synthetic wax on cucumbers, and though it is harmless, it is best to peel the skin, buy organic or use a vegetable wash before consuming.
Cucumbers are a non-starchy vegetable, which is one of the best categories of food for managing diabetes. The American Diabetes Association recommends three to five servings of non-starchy vegetables per day, but that’s just a minimum.
When hunger strikes, having more non-starchy vegetables can help satisfy appetite without raising blood sugar levels. The fiber and water content of fresh cucumbers makes them an ideal choice for glycemic control.
Cucumbers are a refreshing, nutritious and incredibly versatile addition to any diet. They are low in calories but contain many important vitamins and minerals, as well as a high water content. Dare I say they are crunchy — like a cookie, only oh so much better for you.
Cucumbers are always soothing to place slices on your eyes to reduce puffiness and delicious to add to water for a cool flavor.
Simple Cucumber Salad
2 large, thin cucumbers (English if possible)
1 small yellow or white onion
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill (optional)
½ cup white vinegar
1 to 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Fresh ground pepper
1. Slice the cucumbers as thin as possible, using a mandoline if desired. Peel, cut in half top to bottom and thinly slice the onion. Layer the cucumbers and onions in a large shallow bowl; add the dill (if using).
2. In a small bowl, mix the white vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper. Pour the mixture over the cucumbers and onions, mixing everything together to ensure even coverage. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
3. Stir again to evenly mix the dressing. Then serve with a slotted spoon. Store refrigerated for up to seven days.
Cat Wilson lives in South Bend and transitioned from a vegetarian diet to eating a plant-based diet over two years ago. She may be contacted at [email protected].