Summer is the time to get the most out of seasonal foods. Among them is a must-have of a summer diet – a low-calorie and refreshing cucumber.
Cucumber: what is it
Cucumbers are fruits of the pumpkin family. Scientifically known as Cucumis sativus, they belong to the same family as zucchini, watermelon and pumpkin. It is a widespread crop with various varieties grown all over the world. Cucumber is an ideal food for those who care about their well-being and keep fit. It contains many essential nutrients such as vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin C, vitamin K, manganese, copper and potassium. Including cucumbers in your daily diet has a positive effect on your health.
Fruits help fight dehydration, as they are 90% water, which keeps the body hydrated and flushes out many hazardous substances.
Although this vegetable is most often consumed fresh, salted, pickled and pickled cucumbers are also popular. Many people close their cucumbers for the winter, and in the cold season they enjoy conservation.
- Contains many nutrients
Cucumber, which is very low in calories, contains many important vitamins and minerals. One large unpeeled raw cucumber weighing 300 g contains 45 kcal. In this case, cucumbers are composed of approximately 96% water. Cucumbers should be eaten unpeeled to increase their nutrient content.
- Contains antioxidants
Antioxidants are molecules that block oxidation, which build up in the body can lead to chronic disease and even cancer. Fruits and vegetables, including cucumbers, are especially rich in beneficial antioxidants that can reduce the risk of these conditions.
- Promotes hydration
Water is critical to the functioning of the body – it regulates temperature, transports nutrients, and proper hydration affects physical performance, metabolism and other important processes. We get the water necessary for the body by drinking various liquids, but you can get up to 40% of the total water intake from food. Cucumbers, which are almost 100% water, are ideal for moisturizing.
- Cucumbers will help you lose weight
Cucumbers are low in calories, so they can be added to salads and made sandwiches with them without risking weight. Moreover, the high water content of cucumbers can also aid in weight loss.
- May lower blood sugar
Several studies have shown that cucumbers can help lower blood sugar levels and prevent some of the complications of diabetes.
- Good for the skin
You can use cucumbers as a home remedy to nourish your skin by applying a thick face mask (see below for how to do it). The natural mask provides a soothing and cold effect, protects the skin from dryness, acne, irritation.
- Good for eye health and effective against crow’s feet
Cucumbers are known to hydrate the skin around the eyes well. Vitamin E plays an important role in enhancing collagen production by acting as a natural anti-wrinkle agent. In addition, regular consumption of cucumbers helps to improve vision, as it contains several anti-inflammatory substances and antioxidants that help avoid cataracts.
- Cucumbers eliminate bad breath.
Instead of chewing gum, place a slice of cucumber in your mouth to “chase away” bacteria that cause bad odor and also eliminate germs that cause oral complications and gum disease.
- Stronger bones and hair.
Cucumber contains ascorbic and caffeic acids, which help to strengthen the ligaments, cartilage, tendons and bones of your body. The vegetable also contains silica, which helps in the formation of connective tissue, which helps to strengthen weakened bones. Cucumber masks also help dry and weakened hair.
- Arctic – can be grown both in the greenhouse and in the open field. The taste of this variety is rich and fresh.
- Cupid is a salad variety that is also suitable for conservation.
- Artist – Suitable for pickling and pickling, but also good fresh.
- Herman – ripen early, also have a high yield.
- Nezhinsky – easily tolerates dry weather.
- Chinese miracle – refers to a special subspecies of cucumbers, the main feature of which is the length of the fruit (reaches 40-60 cm). Most types of Chinese cucumbers are only suitable for fresh consumption.
- Cybriya is a versatile variety that is great for pickling and pickling.
- Tchaikovsky is an early ripening variety.
- Competitor – the cultivar matures five weeks after planting. They require careful maintenance.
Why cucumber may be bitter
Often we are faced with an unpleasant bitter taste in cucumbers. Why is this happening? The fact is that the vegetable contains cucurbitacin B and cucurbitacin C. The combination of these substances makes their leaves bitter and less tasty for rodents. The highest concentration of these elements is found in leaves, roots and stems, but also passes into fruits. The bitterness of a cucumber indicates insufficient watering, lack of nutrients in the soil or lack of sunlight.
Cucumber face masks
Since cucumbers are good for the skin and have a healing refreshing effect, they can be used to make a face mask at home.
Simple Cucumber Mask:
- Peel a large cucumber and cut into small pieces.
- Place the slices in a blender or food processor.
- Chop the cucumber until puree.
- Pour the cucumber puree into a sieve to separate the liquid from the mass.
- Squeeze the remaining mass with your hands to squeeze out the juice.
- Wash your face and neck with warm water and an oil-free makeup remover. This prepares the skin for the mask by opening up your pores.
- Apply cucumber juice to your skin and let it sit for fifteen minutes.
- After fifteen minutes, wash your face with cold water and pat dry with a soft, clean towel.
- Your skin will become firmer and healthier in just one treatment.
Cucumber and aloe mask
- Cut half of the unpeeled cucumber into slices.
- Peel them and place these pieces in a blender, stir until watery.
- Add two tablespoons of aloe vera gel and mix until smooth.
- Wash your face and neck with warm water and an oil-free cleanser to remove makeup and open pores.
- Massage the paste evenly over your face, neck and chest.
- After fifteen minutes, rinse off the mask with cool water and pat dry with a soft towel.
Cucumber will be an excellent addition to salads, meat, and can become the centerpiece of a dish.
Lavash with chicken, vegetables and cheese
- 2 slices of cooked chicken breast
- 1 large cucumber, cut into small slices
- 1 can of ripe olives, chopped
- 1 medium tomato
- 1 small sweet red pepper, chopped
- ½ slice cheddar cheese
- ¼ cup chopped red onion
- For refueling:
- ¼ glasses of mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon Italian dressing
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- Herbs and spices to taste
In a large bowl, combine the pita bread ingredients. In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, Italian dressing, garlic powder, pepper and herbs; pour over the mixture of chicken and vegetables and stir. Then put the resulting mixture on pita bread, wrap in a roll.
Broken cucumbers (Chinese cucumbers)
- 3 cucumbers Chinese miracle
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil, toasted
- A pinch of salt
- Grated ginger or chili paste (optional)
Beat well chilled and washed cucumbers with a rolling pin or empty beer bottle.
Break the broken cucumbers into small pieces in a bowl.
In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, and a pinch of salt. You can add grated ginger or chili paste if desired. Combine cucumbers with dressing and serve.
Spicy cucumber and peach salad
- 1 cup raw pumpkin seeds
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pod of cardamom
- 1 whole clove
- ½ teaspoon coriander seeds
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 chili serrano, finely grated
- 1 clove garlic, finely grated
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro, plus tender-stemmed leaves for serving
- 3 tablespoons (or more) fresh lemon juice
- 2 cucumbers, chopped
- 4 medium yellow peaches, cut into small pieces
- 1 avocado, cut into 3-4 cm pieces
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
The oven must be preheated to 350 ° C. Fry the pumpkin seeds on a baking sheet until golden brown (5-7 minutes). Transfer to a small bowl and stir with 1 tbsp. oil; season with salt.
Toast the cardamom, cloves, coriander and cumin separately in a small skillet over medium heat (2 minutes). Remove the seeds from the cardamom pod. Finely grind the seeds along with other spices in a spice mill or using a mortar and pestle. Toss in a large bowl with chili, garlic, parsley, chopped cilantro, lemon juice, and remaining ¼ cup oil; season with salt. Add cucumber and stir. Leave it on for five minutes.
Add peaches, avocado and half pumpkin seeds to the cucumber mixture and season with salt; you can add lemon juice to taste. Serve with sesame seeds, cilantro leaves and leftover pumpkin seeds.