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See also: Article on Cucumbers

CUCUMBERS

Store cucumbers at 45 degrees F.

Cucumbers should be used within 4 or 5 days of purchase. Smaller cucumbers are better tasting.

Cucumbers are 95% water and have very little nutritional value.

Bitterness in cucumbers can be caused by any stress on the plant such as high temperature, low moisture, low soil nutrients, etc. Bitterness is also associated with fruit harvested late in the season from poor yielding, unhealthy plants.

If you have bitter cucumbers, cut off the stem ends and peel them. Most of the bitterness is in the stem end and the peel and just below it.

The inside of a cucumber can actually be up to 20 degrees F cooler than the outside temperature.

VARIETIES - There are several varieties of cucumber; the most popular are English, Persian, and Pickling cucumbers. All these varieties are available year round.

    • Persian cucumbers are also known as regular cucumbers with soft, edible seeds. The skin is often waxed to seal in moisture.

    • English cucumbers are sometimes known as gourmet cucumbers, 'burpless', or seedless cucumbers. This variety has seeds that are very small but do not need to be removed. Longer and thinner than regular cucumbers this variety is usually shrink-wrapped to seal in moisture because they are not waxed.


SELECTION - It’s important to look for firm cucumbers with rich green color and no soft spots. Cucumbers that bulge in the middle, usually most likely means its filled with large watery seeds and tasteless flesh.


STORAGE - Whole cucumbers should be refrigerated in a crisper for up to a week. Unwaxed cucumbers will easily lose moisture so keep them wrapped tightly in plastic.


USES & PREPARATION - Wash; removing seeds and peeling depends on the variety and is optional. To seed, slice in half lengthwise and scrape out with the tip of a teaspoon.

  • Add a decorative touch to your veggie platter. Run tines of a fork down the entire length of the cucumber, penetrating the peel. Slice crosswise.
     
  • Add sliced cucumbers to tossed salads.
     
  • Shred cucumbers and mix with dill and low fat or fat free sour cream for a tasty dip or accompaniment to a salmon entree.
     
  • Use cucumbers as an edible garnish to your main dishes.
     
  • Serve cucumbers on your veggie platters at your next gathering.
     
  • Try cucumber gazpacho with diced cucumbers, bell peppers, scallions, garlic, and tomato juice, stir, chill and serve!

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