Friday, August 7, 2015

TIPS: Cucumbers

Cucumbers belong to the same plant family as squash, pumpkin, and watermelon (the Cucurbitaceae family). Like watermelon, cucumbers are made up of mostly (95 percent) water, which means eating them on a hot summer day can help you stay hydrated.

However, there's reason to eat cucumbers all year long. With vitamin K, B vitamins, copper, potassium, vitamin C, and manganese, cucumbers can help you to avoid nutrient deficiencies that are widespread among those eating a typical American diet.  Plus, cucumbers contain unique polyphenols and other compounds that may help reduce your risk of chronic diseases and much, much more.

Cucumbers should be stored in the refrigerator - this will extend their life by a few days as opposed to storing them on the counter.  However, they typically won’t stay fresh for more than 5 days.  One recommended method for storage is to wrap each cucumber individually in a paper towel, then put all cucumbers wrapped in paper towels inside the plastic bag.  Put the plastic bag with the cucumbers in a refrigerator and keep the bag on a  shelf toward the front of the refrigerator, which tends to be warmer.

Best uses: Peel waxed cucumbers; unwaxed ones need only a light scrubbing. Cucumbers are tastiest served raw, as in a side salad.

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