By Sabrena Salahudeen
Cucumbers are best eaten between May and July. The flesh of cucumbers is primarily composed of water and also contains ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and caffeic acid, both of which help soothe skin irritations and reduce swelling.
Cucumber’s hard skin is rich in fiber and contains a variety of beneficial minerals including silica, potassium and magnesium. As cucumbers are extremely sensitive to heat, choose ones that are displayed in refrigerated cases at the market. They should be firm, rounded at their edges and their colour should be a bright medium to dark green. Avoid cucumbers that are yellow, puffy, have sunken water-soaked areas, or are wrinkled at the tips. Thinner cucumbers will generally have less seeds than thicker ones. Many people are used to purchasing cucumbers that have a waxed coating, but it is highly recommended to choose ones that are unwaxed, so the nutrient-rich skin can be eaten without consuming the wax and any chemicals trapped in it.
Cucumbers should be stored in the refrigerator where they will stay fresh for several days. If you do not use the entire cucumber during one meal, wrap the remainder tightly in plastic or place it in a sealed container so it doesn’t dry out. For maximum quality, cucumber should be used within one or two days. Cucumbers should not be left out at room temperature for too long as this will cause them to wilt and become limp.
Cucumbers are a great source of vitamin C and the mineral molybdenum. They are also a good source of vitamin A, manganese, folate, and dietary fiber.