What is A Cucumber?
Cucumber, Cucumis sativus, is from the family Cucurbitaceae that originated from India. Like melons, gourds, squashes and zucchini, cucumber is a creeper (vine). The best cucumbers are those that are harvested young, because they taste sweet and have a crunchy texture. The color of the peel varies from green to white. Inside, you will find pale green flesh that is thick, yet crispy sometimes, with edible fleshy seeds.
Let us start with some facts many people do not know:
▪ More than 90% of cucumber is water.
▪ Although cucumbers are popular as vegetables, cucumbers are classified as Accessory fruits, because they are developing from flowers and have enclosed seed.
▪ In the legend of Gilgamesh, people are eating cucumbers.
▪ The Emperor Tiberius was very fond of cucumbers, and according to Pliny the Elder, every day, in summer or winter, he had a cucumber on the table.
▪ Charlemagne grew cucumbers in his garden in the 8th century.
▪ In ancient Rome, women who wanted children wore cucumbers around their waists.
▪ Romans used cucumbers to treat scorpion bites.
▪ Cucumbers were interesting weapons to scare away mice.
▪ Cucumbers are the fourth most cultivated vegetable in the world.
▪ Above all, cucumbers have been cultivated for at least 3000 years.
There are three different types of cucumber: slicing, pickling and burpless.
People grow “slicers” to eat them fresh. Yellow cucumbers are usually sour and bitter, so these slicers are green and longer.
“Pickles” are bred in a specific way: they are shorter, thicker, with bumpy skin, and usually grown from 7 to 10 centimetres long and 2.2 centimetres wide. They are soaked in brine or vinegar and brine.
Burpless have sweet and pleasant taste, thinner skin and grow as long as 2 feet. Mostly grown in greenhouses, these seedless cucumbers are very popular in grocery markets.