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TEXARKANA, Ark. –
Have you ever heard the expression, someone is as cool as a cucumber? It usually refers
to someone who is extremely calm, relaxed and in control of their emotions. This phrase
may have originated from the fact that even in hot weather, the inside of cucumbers
are approximately 20 degrees cooler than the outside air.
Therefore, a person who stays cool, calm and relaxed in a difficult situation can
be compared to a cucumber staying cool inside, even in hot weather! Cucumbers are
a member of the gourd family and have been cultivated by man for at least 3,000 years.
It is believed to be native to the great Indian center of plant origins which lies
between the northern part of the Bay of Bengal and the towering Himalayas. It has
never been found wild anywhere, but species closely related to it have been found
wild in that region of India.
Most of the distinct types of cucumber grown today were known at least 400 years ago.
Present forms range from thick, stubby little fruits, three to four inches long, up
to the great English greenhouse varieties that often reach a length of nearly two
Cucumbers provide potassium, vitamin K, magnesium and fiber. Potassium helps maintain
healthy blood pressure, vitamin K and magnesium help build and maintain strong bones,
and fiber helps control cholesterol and keep your digestive system regular. Most of
the nutrients in a cucumber are found in the skin, so keeping the skins on will boost
The so-called "gherkins" that we buy pickled in bottles or glass jars are pickled
small cucumbers. The true gherkin, or West Indian gherkin, is a different species
that is rarely grown in the United States. It produces a warty (or "prickly") oval
fruit about an inch long.
When choosing cucumbers, choose those that are firm, green and slender. Avoid those
with soft spots or wrinkled skin. Store unwashed cucumbers in a moisture-proof bag
in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
When ready to use, wipe off any visible dirt. Then rinse the cucumbers well under
cool running water and scrub the outer layer before eating or using in recipes. They
should be eaten with the skin on for maximum nutritional value; however, if you must
peel, use a vegetable peeler. You may wish to remove the seeds of older cucumbers
since they can become bitter and tough by slicing lengthwise and scooping the seeds
out with a spoon.
Cucumbers are best eaten raw or barely cooked. They can be eaten plain as a snack
or an appetizer, and sliced or chopped to add to salads. They also are great dipped
in low-fat dressing or other low fat dips. Try adding sliced cucumbers to sandwiches
One half cup fresh cucumber with the peel contains only 10 calories due to their high
water content. It has zero fat, sodium or protein, and contains only 2 grams of carbohydrates.
Cucumbers can be found in supermarkets year round and at farmers markets and gardens
from now through October.
For more information, contact the Miller County Extension Office, 870-779-3609 or
visit us in room 215 at the Miller County Courthouse. We're online at email@example.com,
on Facebook at UAEXMillerCountyFCS/CarlaHaleyHadley, on Twitter @MillerCountyFCS or
on the web at uaex.uada.edu/Miller.
By Carla Haley-Hadley County Extension Agent - FCSThe Cooperative Extension ServiceU of A System Division of Agriculture
Media Contact: Carla Haley-Hadley County Extension Agent - FCSU of A Division of AgricultureCooperative Extension Service400 Laurel Street, Suite 215 Texarkana AR 71854 (870) 779-3609 firstname.lastname@example.org
The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative
action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need
materials in another format, please contact your County Extension office (or other
appropriate office) as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay. The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to all eligible persons
regardless of race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin,
religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any
other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.