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Cucumbers: 9 Things You Didn't Know

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By Chloe Thompson
WebMD Magazine - Feature

1. Cousin to Melons

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

2. Colorful Cukes

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

3. Slicing vs. Pickling 

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.

4. What's in a Pickle?

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

5. Nutrition Stats

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

6. Watery Wonder

A cucumber is more than 95% water.

7. Soothes the Eyes

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

8. World's Largest Cucumber

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

9. Sea Cucumbers vs. Land Cucumbers

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

 

Recipe: 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

1/2 tsp salt

Freshly ground pepper

8 ounces 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. Saute leeks 5-7 minutes, until tender. Add garlic and continue sauteing 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 puree until smooth.
  4. Return pureed soup to pot and add 1 tsp of dill, sherry or vinegar, salt, pepper, and yogurt. Whisk to blend thoroughly.
  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 grams protein, 13.5 g carbohydrate, 6.2 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 2 milligrams cholesterol, 3 g fiber, 6 g sugar, 254 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 50%

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Reviewed on June 03, 2014

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