The humble cucumber - is it a fruit or
a vegetable? Most people would generally
consider the cucumber as a vegetable. But
by biological and scientific definition,
it is a fruit.
Cucumbers have enclosed seeds, and they
develop from a flower. But due to their
slightly sour and occasionally bitter flavour,
cucumbers are prepared and eaten as vegetables.
Even in the supermarket, you will find cucumbers
in the vegetable section rather than the
fruits corner. This reinforces the general
assumption that the cucumber is a vegetable.
The cucumber is a source of vitamin
A, the B vitamins (B6
or pyridoxine, B1
or thiamine, folate,
or pantothenic acid), vitamin
100 grams of cucumber provides about 8
percent RDA of vitamin
C, 6 per cent RDA of vitamin
A, 7 per cent RDA of molybdenum,
and less than 5 per cent of all the other
Cucumbers can be eaten raw or cooked. However,
cooking a cucumber will significantly lower
their nutrient value.
Some of the health benefits of
Because the flesh of the cucumbers is primarily
water, and the highest nutrient is vitamin
C. This helps soothe skin irritations,
and may help to reduce swelling. Cucumbers
also have moisture binding, moisture regulating
properties. All these skin beneficial properties
are especially good for the eyes.
Cucumber is also good for
the heart. Cucumber contains sterols which
have been known to lower cholesterol in
lab tests. The highest concentration of
sterols is in the skin/peel of the cucumber.
Cucumber selection and storage
Cucumbers are sensitive to heat. So choose
cucumbers that are displayed in refrigerators
in supermarkets. Cucumbers should be firm,
with round edges, and green to dark green
in colour. Try to avoid cucumbers that are
wrinkled, puffy, or yellow in colour.
Cucumbers in supermarkets are commonly
waxed, to protect them from bruising easily,
and to maintain their water content. Peeling
the cucumber is a good way to ger rid of
the wax, but this also strips away much
of the healthy sterols. Another option is
to scrub them in cool water with a brush.
Try to look for organic cucumbers. Organic
cucumbers should be free from wax. Some
supermarkets also have an organic corner
which should also stock organic cucumbers.
Additional uses of cucumbers
Cucumber peel can be used as a natural ant
repellent. Just place them in areas where
the ants are coming in, and this will act
as a safe and natural ant repellent.