The cucumber is a widely cultivated plant in the gourd family Cucurbitaceae, which includes squash, and in the same genus as the muskmelon. The English word cucumber originated from Indian word "kachumbar". The dark green colored fruit is roughly cylindrical, elongated, with tapered ends, and may be as large as 60 cm long and 10 cm in diameter. Cucumbers grown to be eaten fresh (called slicers) and those intended for pickling (called picklers) are similar. Cucumbers are mainly eaten in the green form.Much like tomatoes and squash, however, their sour-bitter flavor contributes to cucumbers being perceived, prepared and eaten as vegetables. Some varieties, which are grown in greenhouses, are seedless, have thinner skins and are longer in length, usually between 12 and 20 inches.
Chopped green cucumber
Place the peeled and washed cucumber on a chopping board and chop it into small pieces. Can be finely chopped or roughly chopped or chopped into big chunks as per recipe requirement.
Green Cucumber cubes
Turn the cucumber on its side and make a series of slices. Lay the cucumber slices on top of each other and make a series of lengthwise slices, (½ inch slices for smaller cubes, 1 inch slices for larger cubes. Make a series of ½ inch or 1 inch crosswise cuts through the cucumber and it will fall away into cubes.
Green Cucumber strips
Cut the cucumber into thin or thick strips as per recipe requirement
Grated green cucumber- this requires grating the cucumber in a hand held grater. This grated cucumber is fine in texture and is used for making baked dishes like au gratin or casseroles or raitas.
Sliced green cucumber
You may place the peeled cucumber in a slicer or slice them in thin or thick slices with a sharp knife, as per the recipe requirement.
Deseeded green cucumber
While the seeds are edible and nutritious, some people prefer not to eat them. To easily remove them, cut the cucumber lengthwise and use the tip of a spoon to gently scoop them out.
How to select
As green cucumbers are very sensitive to heat, choose ones that are displayed in refrigerated cases in the market. They should be firm, rounded at their edges, and their color should be a bright medium to dark green. Avoid green cucumbers that are yellow, puffy, have sunken water-soaked areas, or are wrinkled at their tips. Thinner cucumbers will generally have less seeds than those that are thicker. While many people are used to purchasing cucumbers that have a waxed coating, it is highly recommended to choose those that are unwaxed, so the nutrient-rich skin can be eaten without consuming the wax and any chemicals trapped in it.
· To be "cool as a cucumber" add them to your menus during the warm summer months when they are in season
· Use half-inch thick green cucumber slices as petite serving "dishes" for chopped vegetable salads.
· Mix diced green cucumbers with sugar snap peas and mint leaves and toss with rice wine vinaigrette.
· For refreshing cold gazpacho soup that takes five minutes or less to make, simply purée cucumbers, tomatoes, green peppers and onions, then add salt and pepper to taste.
· Add diced cucumber to tuna fish or chicken salad recipes
How to store
Green Cucumbers should be stored in the refrigerator where they will keep for several days. If you do not use the entire cucumber during one meal, wrap the remainder tightly in plastic or place it in a sealed container so that it does not become dried out. For maximum quality, cucumber should be used within one or two days. Green Cucumbers should not be left out at room temperature for too long as this will cause them to wilt and become limp.
· 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
· 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.