I am a great fan of cucumber for the very simple reason that it’s easy to eat, fills the stomach quickly and cab be eaten in large quantities without being guilty of calorie gain. Yes!!! Cucumber is perhaps the only magic food in the world that has the lowest calorie value (100 gm of cucumber has only 16 calories). Well, this is not the only unique characteristic of cucumber, there are several more which makes cucumber the most sought out vegetable. Cucumber belongs to the same family as watermelons, pumpkins and muskmelons. It contains 95% of water which makes them an ideal hydrating and cooling food. They are also rich in polyphenols called lignans which helps to lower the risk of breast, uterine, ovarian and prostate cancers. Cucumber contains multiple B vitamins, including vitamin B1, vitamin B5 and vitamin B7 which are known to ease feelings of anxiety and stress. Cucumbers are also rich in fiber which contributes to a good digestive health. In addition to these rich nutrition benefits, cucumbers are quite inexpensive and can be affordable by all.
In India, there are 3 varieties of cucumber commonly available, the yellow cucumber or dosakkai, the kakdi variety which is dark green in color and the himangi variety which is thick, whitish green color with stripes.
How to select a cucumber
- Choose cucumbers that are firm and heavy for its size. Avoid cucumbers with wrinkled shriveled ends as they may taste bitter.
- Much similar to water melons, an ideally ripe cucumber makes a hollow, thudding sound.
How to chop cucumber
Prior to chopping, the cucumbers must be washed very well in running water to get rid of dirt and mud, and also the waxes which are coated on them to protect from bruising and to add a sheen to the cucumber.
- For making salad, raitas and sandwiches, the kakdi variety is usually chosen, which is sliced in round shape or a small size wedges or as long noodle like slices.
- For recipes like cucumber pachadi, cucumber kheer, pulisseri, mixed vegetable bhaji, the himagi variety is chosen. Its skin is peeled and seeds are removed and then cut into small pieces.
- For sambhar or the pappu recipes, the yellow cucumber is chosen. It skin is peeled and seeds are removed and cut into pieces.
Cucumbers blend very well into any recipe like a sandwich, raita, salad, sabji, aviyal and many other foods and provide volume to the food item. Enjoy this inexpensive, easily available, low calorie, cool vegetable in your daily and reap its rich nutrient benefits.
Recipes with Cucumber
Yellow Cucumber (Dosakaya)