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9 Healthy Facts About Cucumbers

The cool cuke is low in calories and high in refreshing taste. Try it in our Cold Creamy Cucumber Soup With Avocado recipe!
By Chloe Thompson
WebMD Magazine - Feature

The Cucumber Family

Cucumbers belong to the plant family Cucurbitaceae, which includes melons, squash, and pumpkins.

Cucumber Varieties

Cucumbers come in many sizes, shapes, textures, and colors, including white, yellow, and even orange.

Slicing vs. Pickling Cukes

Two common kinds of cucumbers grown in the U.S. include slicing and pickling. Slicing cucumbers are usually large with a thick skin, while pickling cucumbers are smaller with a thin skin.

What's in a Pickle?

Pickles are cucumbers that have been soaked in a brining solution made of salt, vinegar, and water.

Cucumber Nutrition

A half cup of sliced cucumbers has 8 calories and contains more than 10% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin K.

Cucumber's Water Content

A cucumber is more than 95% water.

Cucumber for the Eyes

Cucumber slices over the eyes may help reduce puffiness, thanks to a combination of the fruit’s water content and caffeic acid.

World's Largest Cucumber

The biggest cucumber, grown in southern China, was 67 inches long and weighed 154 pounds.

Sea Cucumbers vs. Land Cucumbers

Sea cucumbers are not related to the produce variety. They are just named after its oblong shape.

Cold Creamy Cucumber Soup With Avocado

Makes 6 servings

Ingredients

1 tsp unsalted butter

1 tsp extra virgin olive oil

3 leeks, washed and sliced

1 clove garlic, minced

4 cups (about 3 large) cucumber, peeled, seeded, and cubed

4 cups low-sodium chicken stock

1 tbsp chopped fresh dill, divided

2 tsp sherry or red wine vinegar

½ tsp salt

Freshly ground pepper

8 oz fat-free plain Greek yogurt

1 ripe avocado, peeled and cubed

Directions

  1. In a heavy-bottom 4-quart pot, heat butter and olive oil over medium heat. Sauté leeks 5-7 minutes until tender. Add garlic and continue sautéing 2 more minutes.
  2. Add cucumber and chicken stock. Simmer until cucumber is softened (about 6 - 8 minutes).
  3. Pour small batches of cucumber soup into a blender and purée until smooth.
  4. Return puréed soup to pot and add 1 tsp of dill, sherry or vinegar, salt, pepper, and yogurt. Whisk to thoroughly blend.
  5. Cover and refrigerate soup until chilled, about 2-3 hours.
  6. To serve, ladle soup into bowls and garnish with avocado and the remaining dill.

Per serving: 112 calories, 3.4 g protein, 13.5 g carbohydrate, 6.2 g fat

(1 g saturated fat), 2 mg cholesterol, 3 g fiber, 6 g sugar, 254 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 50%

Find more articles, browse back issues, and read the current issue of "WebMD the Magazine."

Reviewed on May 15, 2012

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