All About Cucumber
A mainstay in cuisines around the world, cucumber is a vegetable from the gourd family.
Cut up cucumbers add freshness to garden salads, while pickled cucumbers are the perfect salty snack!
While the cucumber plant originates in South Asia, it grows in nearly every continent. Given its global prevalence in farms, there are many varieties of cucumber that differ based on size, shape, and taste.
Cucumber plants are vines that root into the ground and grow up supporting frames. They wrap around any support with their thin tendrils. If there are no supports, a cucumber plant sprawls on the ground.
Even though it is eaten as a vegetable in nearly every cuisine, cucumber is a botanical berry similar to tomatoes and squash.
Varieties of Cucumber
Farmers grow cucumber in three significant ways, depending on how they will be consumed. The first variety is slicing, with these cucumbers grown to cut them up to add into fresh salads or cooked meals.
Pickling cucumbers are bred to meet a specific length to diameter ratio. Growing cucumbers to one particular size allows for the ideal absorption of brine, sugar, vinegar, and other spices added during the pickling process. These cucumbers are usually thicker and shorter than slicing varieties.
There are also burp-less cucumbers, which have a sweeter taste and much thinner skin. Persian, Lebanese and East Asian cucumbers are usually of the burp-less variety.
Delicious Cucumber Dishes
The beauty of the cucumber lies in its ability to complement other foods and flavors. Cucumbers go perfectly in fresh or chilled salads, sandwiches and wraps, skillet recipes and much more.
Pickled cucumbers are rarely added to other dishes, as most people prefer to eat them on their own. They are sometimes sliced and added to sandwiches and burgers.