Cucumbers are one of the most popular vegetables grown all over the world. They have been cultivated since ancient times and they were used in many ways like pickling, marinating, freezing, drying or even making into wine. Today there are several kinds of cucumbers which include: green, red and yellow varieties. Green Cukes (Citrullus lanatus) are considered to be the easiest to grow variety due to their small size and easy care requirements. These cucumbers are usually harvested when still young and tender. Red Cukes (Citrullus lanatus) are considered to be the most flavorful varieties because of their large size and hardiness. Yellow Cukes (Citrullus lanatus) produce the largest fruits but tend to be less sweet than red ones.
In India, Cucumbers are known as ‘Kalonji’ which means ‘little cucumber’. There are various varieties of these little cucumbers including: Kala Kadu, Karanja, Kesarjoo, Kalpavriksha and others.
There are two main types of cucumbers – the vine-ripened and the root-ripe varieties. Vine ripened cucumbers are those that mature from the top down rather than from bottom up.
Root-ripe cucumbers are those that mature from both sides at once.
Cucumbers are usually eaten fresh as a snack or in a salad and they can be served with salt, chopped onions, some lemon juice and sometimes a dash of vinegar. Cucumbers can also be stuffed with tuna fish or roasted chicken and they can be used as sandwich fillings or served with low-fat dairy products.
Cucumbers have more dietary fiber than any other vegetable. They contain silica, which makes them very beneficial to our skin and hair.
Cucumbers contain lots of water and can help hydrate a person suffering from dehydration or heatstroke. They are very low in calories as well.
Cucumbers growing is easy but one should remember that these plants do require lots of water so one must keep that in mind while growing them.
There are many different kinds of cucumbers to choose from, they can be listed by their color, their size or their use.
Information About Cucumbers
Cucumbers are widely used vegetables that belong to the same family as melons and squash. It is a fruit that is usually green in color but can also be seen in other colors such as yellow, orange or even a dark purple color.
It has a leathery skin and contains lots of water which is mostly located in the fleshy part situated under its peel.
Cucumbers, in their various forms, can be eaten raw, fried, boiled, stuffed or even pickled depending on your preferences.
Cucumbers are mostly cultivated in places such as India and the state of Queensland in Australia where the climate is usually warm and humid. Some types of cucumbers are also cultivated in the United States.
Several different types of cucumbers exist. Cucumbers can be either pickling types or slicing types.
Pickling types are usually smaller than slicing types and have a denser and smoother quality to their skin. They are not usually eaten raw but are cooked first before being eaten. Slicing types of cucumbers are the ones that are usually eaten raw and they tend to have a rougher skin as well as a thicker one too.
Some of the most popular types of cucumbers that exist are:
The Straight Eight: The straight eight is a slicing type of cucumber that is usually 8 inches long as the name suggests. It has a dark green zigzag skin and contains lots of seeds.
It has a rich flavor and is considered to be one of the best tasting cucumbers in existence. This type of cucumber originated in Egypt.
The Pickling: The pickling cucumber is a small variety of cucumber that is usually grown specifically for the purpose of making dill pickles. It has a shorter skin and contains a lot less water than most other types of cucumbers.
They are usually around 6 inches long and have a very wrinkled appearance.
The Miniature: The miniature cucumber is as the name suggests, a miniature version of the usual cucumber. It is usually no longer than 3 inches long.
It has a very soft skin that is sometimes striped and contains very few seeds. They have a very rich taste and are usually eaten raw in salads or sandwiches.
The Lemon: The lemon cucumber is a hybrid variety of cucumber and is usually between 6 and 10 inches long, sometimes longer but never shorter. It has a yellow skin with bumpy lines and a very soft and watery flesh.
This type of cucumber originated in China.
The European: The European cucumber is a long and slender variety that usually grows to around a meter in length. It has a dark green skin with white spots and a very crisp and dry texture.
It is crunchy and contains few seeds. It originated in Europe just like its name suggests.
Cucumbers contain lots of water which is mostly contained in the center core structure of the fruit which also consists mostly of pulp and liquid.
The rest of the cucumber is made up of mostly cellulose and has very little nutrition within it, almost none in fact. Cucumbers also contain traces of calcium, iron, magnesium and potassium.
Cucumbers are 95% water and at most contain only 2% fiber, which means that eating cucumbers will cause a considerable amount of calorie consumption as your body tries to digest them.
Cucumbers also have lots of uses other than just eating them. They can be used in cooking and can even be turned into face masks.
It is believed that the ancient Egyptians were the first to use cucumbers on their eyes to reduce puffiness, an act that led to the idea of using cucumbers on the eyes in general.
Cucumbers have been used in cooking for centuries as well as being eaten raw and even pickling them. They are usually chopped up before being added to food but some people like to just bite into them and enjoy them in their natural state.
It is also suggested that if you soak a cucumber in water that has a lot of vitamin C then it will increase the amount of vitamin C in the cucumber itself.
Cucumbers can be used for more than just food though, their seeds are used to make oils and their fertilizer and their vines can even be made into rope.
An interesting fact about cucumbers is that they are 95% water and contain very little nutrition within them. The reason for this is that the human body uses a lot of energy to digest food and doesn’t actually get much out of it.
In the case of the cucumber, your body uses plenty of energy breaking it down but only gets very little in return. If you were to eat a carrot instead then your body would get more nutrition out of it and less effort would be required on its part.
This is why eating foods such as fruit is a good idea, because they contain lots of vitamins and nutrients that your body can make use of whereas eating a cucumber is not so much.
The cucumber has been part of human culture since around 7,000 B.C.
where it was first cultivated in Egypt. It was usually used as decoration at first but people soon found that it had lots of practical uses as well and started eating it.
It then spread all over the world and is now grown and consumed in large quantities especially in places such as India and China.
The history of the cucumber is a long and interesting one and it has certainly made its mark on history. It is certain that it will continue to be popular in the future.
Sources & references used in this article:
Powdery mildew resistance in the US national plant germplasm system cucumber collection by CC Block, KR Reitsma – HortScience, 2005 – journals.ashs.org
… Soil to Plant and Distribution to the Different Plant Compartments Studied in Cultures of Carrots (Daucus carota ssp. Sativus), Potatoes (Solanum tuberosum), and Cucumbers … by M Lechner, H Knapp – Journal of agricultural and food chemistry, 2011 – ACS Publications
Growth stage, flowering pattern, yield, and harvest date prediction of four types of cucumber tested at 10 planting dates by TC Wehner, N Guner – … Congress: Advances in Vegetable Breeding 637, 2002 – actahort.org
Biological suppression of weeds: evidence for allelopathy in accessions of cucumber by AR Putnam, WB Duke – Science, 1974 – science.sciencemag.org
Predicting the future resistance of crop varieties to pest populations: a case study of mites and cucumbers by F Gould – Environmental Entomology, 1978 – academic.oup.com
Femaleness in breeding glasshouse cucumbers by E Kooistra – Euphytica, 1967 – Springer
Pathogenicity ofPythium species on cucumber in peat-sand, rockwool and hydroponics by F Moulin, P Lemanceau, C Alabouvette – European Journal of Plant …, 1994 – Springer