Jun 022015

Cucumber.2jpgAs it turns out the Cucumber is not just for getting rid of puffiness under your eyes.  This extremely low calorie fruit* is filled with many nutritional benefits far beyond hydration.  And yes, the cucumber is a *fruit of the same family that includes squash and melons.  Who knew?

The wonderfully crunchy Cucumber is also is easy to grow. Varieties, varying in size, shape, and color, are cultivated all around the world under different climatic zones. In general, the cucumber fruit features dark-green skin, crispy, moisture rich flesh, and small edible seeds concentrated near its core.  Read more about the cucumber to find out about its nutritional and health benefits:

What is the Nutrition in Cucumbers?

The humble cucumber has just 8 calories in a ½ cup serving of slices.  They contain no fat or cholesterol and 0.1 grams of sodium.  They are 95 % water—as good as a glass of water!—and have good amounts of potassium, Vitamin K and small amounts of Vitamin C and iron.

What are the Health Benefits of Cucumber?Cucumber herb water

  • Cucumbers are a good source of Potassium is a heart friendly electrolyte that helps bring a reduction in total blood pressure and heart rates by countering effects of sodium.
  • Cucumber is one of the lowest calorie foods; provide just 15 calories per 100 g. It contains no saturated fats or cholesterol. Cucumber peel is a good source of dietary fiber that helps reduce constipation, and offers some protection against colon cancers by eliminating toxic compounds from the gut.
  • Cucumbers surprisingly have a high amount of vitamin K, provides about 17 µg of this vitamin per 100 g. Vitamin-K has been found to have a potential role in bone strength by promoting osteotrophic (bone mass building) activity. It also has established role in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease patients by limiting neuronal damage in their brain.

How to select and store Cucumber

When selecting cucumbers, look for long and firm cucumbers, which are dark vivid green and feel heavy for their size.  Avoid those that have soft or shriveled spots, or marks.

Cucumbers can be stored in a plastic bag up to a week in the produce bin of your refrigerator.  I you indeed to store them longer, wrapping them in plastic or foil should do the trick.  If you see moisture build up, just dry them off and put them back in the bin.

How to ferment Cucumber Pickles

cucumber picklesNatural fermentation of foods been shown to preserve nutrients in food and break the food down to a more digestible form.  There has been a surge in fermentation, and for very good reason. The quantity of probiotics created during the fermentation process, could explain the link between consumption of fermented foods and improved digestion.

Cultures around the world have been eating fermented foods for years, from Sauerkraut in Germany to Kimichi in Korea and everywhere in between. Studies have even shown the link between probiotic rich foods and overall health

I have been afraid to ferment, and I’m not sure why, but I think this will be my launching pad.  Watch this video on how to make Fermented Crunchy Cucumber Pickles.  By the way the ones soaked in vinegar at your store are not fermented.

To stay hydrated this summer try this weeks recipe for Cucumber Water, inspired with herbs and lemon.  It will do more than quench you thirst.  It’s high in Vitamin C, contains important minerals, and your skin will love it.

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