Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Wholesome Wednesdays: Cucumbers

I LOVE LOVE LOVE fresh cucumbers.

They might be one of my favorite things to snack on, and are definitely one of my favorite veggies to grow. They can be a little finicky - you have to keep them well watered, always a bit moist, and up off the hot ground. But if you treat 'em right, they are top producers of tasty, portable, summery veg. I can get a bit tired of cucumbers by the end of the season, cuz really = what can you really do with cucumbers other than snacking on them or adding them to salads?? A lot of things actually, these are some of the dishes/preparations i make with my cukes:
  • Cucumber salad - cucumbers, balsalmic, olive oil, seasonings, and any other veggies you might want to throw in
  • Tzaziki sauce - cucumbers with yogurt and seasonings
  • Pickles, vinegar or fermented
  • Cucumber buttermilk soup
  • Cucumber tea sandwiches with cream cheese
  • Gazpacho soup
One of my favorite cucumber snacks is actually as simple as slicing up the cuke, plating it, sprinkling on some salt, then drizzling all the slices with Sriracha sauce. Mmmmmmmmmm.

So, what's the big deal about cucumbers? They're not only edible: you see them listed in various beauty products and cleansers. Cucumbers are great diet foods: you can pile up a plate of cucumber slices and eat to your heart's content with zero guilt: they're 95% water! This website has some great information and recipes for cucumbers. Cukes are as good for the skin as they are on our tastebuds.

The World's Healthiest Foods website has some great things to say (as always) about our cucumber friends:
The flesh of cucumbers is primarily composed of water but also contains ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and caffeic acid, both of which help soothe skin irritations and reduce swelling. Cucumbers'hard skin is rich in fiber and contains a variety of beneficial minerals including silica, potassium and magnesium.
Cucumbers are a very good source of the vitamins C and the mineral molybdenum. They are also a good source of vitamin A, potassium, manganese, folate, dietary fiber and magnesium and contain the important mineral silica.  
The silica in cucumber is an essential component of healthy connective tissue, which includes muscles, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and bone. Cucumber juice is often recommended as a source of silica to improve the complexion and health of the skin, plus cucumber's high water content makes it naturally hydrating—a must for glowing skin. Cucumbers are also used topically for various types of skin problems, including swelling under the eyes and sunburn.

Cucumbers are a great source of fiber, can help reduce blood pressure, and are good for the skin - so why aren't you eating a cucumber right now???  Here's the nutritional breakdown:

And again - high in sugar. I'm starting to think all fruits/veggies are 'high in sugar.' I think 'high' must be relative.

Tomorrow i'll be posting some novel cucumber uses outside of the food/beauty realm. I received an interesting email a few weeks ago with all sorts of crazy sounding cucumber uses. I'll test them out and let you know what i find out: i'm all for utilizing my garden's produce to the best of its abilities!

What is your favorite thing to do with your cucumbers?

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Thank you so much for your feedback, especially if you've cooked one of my recipes or tried one of my tips: let me know how it turned out!