Juicy and refreshing, cucumbers also have the palate quenching quality of tasting a little salty and sweet all at the same time. 

cucumberThe cucumber is a member of the gourd family originating in Southern and making its way around the globe. As an ingredient in the human diet, they have been found in written records dating back to prehistory.  Cultivated and hybridized to meet a variety of desired culinary needs, the cucumber can be found in many shapes and sizes, not to mention colors varying from shades of green to yellow. The type of cucumber will dictate the nuances of flavor, the thickness of skin, the length, color and even the palatability.

From a culinary perspective, cucumbers are an interesting addition to a variety of culinary endeavors. They are refreshing and easily added raw or pickled to dishes both sweet and savory. They can brighten a summertime meal or even add a refreshing note to a drink. My favorite ways to eat them? Pickled, of course, but then also chopped fresh into yogurt with garlic and mint, and lastly quick in summertime they are an amazingly refreshing treat when they are marinated in vinegar and honey to make a deliciously refreshing salad.  

cucumbersaladFrom a health perspective, the cucumber doesn’t disappoint with its wide variety of nutrients and phytonutrients. It contains a specific type of polyphenol which research suggests contributes to the decrease in certain cancer risks, most notably ovarian, breast, uterine and prostate.  It contains a combination of chemical compounds that contribute to the reduction of systemic inflammation and oxidative stress. Cucumber also is an excellent source of silica, which is one reason it is beneficial in decreasing joint and tissue inflammation. Research has demonstrated it can be a beneficial addition to your diet if you are suffering from inflammatory issues such as gout or arthritis. The silica and combination of other minerals and vitamins decreases uric acid in the system contributing to decreased inflammation.  Cucumbers are also good topically. They can help decrease the pain and inflammation of burns, especially sunburn and also help with other minor skin irritations.