In Ontario, field cucumbers are in season from June to October, while greenhouse cucumbers are grown year-round.
The cucumber is typically referred to as a vegetable; however, it is actually a fruit and is in the same family as honeydew, cantaloupe, and watermelon.
Like most fruits and vegetables, cucumber is very low in calories, fat, cholesterol and sodium.
Cucumber is a perfect summertime food – its high water content (95%) helps prevent dehydration, and it has a refreshing and mild taste. Try adding cucumber slices to water to add flavour and electrolytes.
Cucumber is a source of vitamin K. A 1-cup serving of raw sliced cucumber (with the peel) provides about 11% of your daily needs. Vitamin K helps with calcium absorption, which helps keep bones strong and reduces the risk of fractures.
Cucumber contains lignan, which may help fight cardiovascular disease.
Cucumber can also be used on the skin – it has a cooling and soothing effect. It can help relieve swelling, irritation, inflammation and sunburns. Cucumber slices can also be placed on the eyes to decrease morning puffiness.
Use the following tips to increase your intake of cucumber this summer.
Add sliced or chopped cucumber to salads and sandwiches.
Slice cucumber and dip it in hummus or yogurt dip.
Blend cucumber into your smoothie.
Try this simple cucumber recipe.
Cucumber and Yogurt Salad (recipe source allrecipes.com).
Makes 7 servings
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt to taste
2 tablespoons dried mint
1 cup plain yogurt
1 tablespoon olive oil
Peel (optional), quarter lengthwise, and seed cucumbers. Slice thinly. Mix together with garlic.
Layer cucumber slices in a salad bowl, sprinkling each layer lightly with salt. Let stand for 30 minutes.
Pour off the liquid that has formed, pressing cucumber firmly. Crumble mint over cucumbers.
Beat yogurt until smooth; blend in a drizzle of olive oil if desired. Pour over cucumbers.
Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.