There are several varieties of cucumber: English/common, telegraph, apple, Lebanese and mini/cocktail cucumbers.
Choose cucumbers with a firm skin and an even colour — a vibrant green skin with no sign of yellowing. Apple cucumbers, however, are naturally yellowish. Avoid those with soft spots, blemishes or that are easily bent.
Store cucumbers in the refrigerator vegetable draw and use within a few days. Avoid storing near fruit, as this will cause them to deteriorate quickly.
Cucumbers are about 95 per cent water and the skin is their most nutritious part. They are a source of vitamins C and K (good for bones).
Cucumbers are most commonly added to a salad but their use is not limited to that.
- Slices of cucumber can be used like crackers when serving nibbles or make cucumber ‘cups’ by hollowing out a section of cucumber and filling with a tuna or cottage cheese mixture.
- Make a chilled soup: grate a cucumber, add 225g low-fat plain yoghurt, 1 teaspoon vinegar, chopped fresh mint and chill. Add 2 cups trim milk and season.
- Make a refreshing salsa to accompany barbecued meat or as a dip with tortilla chips.
- Stir together chopped cucumbers, tomatoes, green capsicum, chilli and red onion. Mix with crushed garlic, lime juice and dill.
- Add cucumber to refreshing summer cocktails or mocktails (eg. cucumber, mint, soda water, lime juice).
- Peel, chop and lightly fry cucumber to serve as a side dish.
- Try this tasty Mango and macadamia salad.
Did you know? Cucumbers were known to ancient Egyptians, who had a drink made from fermented cucumber.