Cucumber

How to select for best flavor:

With cucumbers, it is more a question of what not to buy. Overripe cucumbers will have a puffy appearance and their color will be dull. Sometimes they will be yellowish. Avoid cucumbers that look wrinkled or shriveled. Also avoid them if they have dark or sunken spots. This indicates decay.

 

Peak of the season:

The peak season for cucumbers is May through August. They are available the rest of the year from Mexico and California.

 

Nutritional value:

Cucumbers contain a surprisingly high amount of protein and vitamin B1. Cucumbers also contain an enzyme called erepsin, which is very helpful in digesting protein. Cucumbers eaten with meat or other heavy protein dishes can aid in digestion. Six large (or eight small) slices contain about 5 calories, no fat and only 1 mg. Of sodium.

 

General information:

There are four main varieties of salad cucumbers, and they all have a distinct appearance. The most common cucumber in the U.S. is the Marketer. They have smooth, green skin and they taper at both ends and usually are between 6 and 9 inches long. The next most popular is the English or European. This is a long, skinny cucumber. Sometimes it has ridges with a light-green skin. English cucumbers can grow up to 2 feet long, but they are at their best at about 12 inches.

 

The Armenian or Syrian cucumber looks like an English cucumber but is usually paler green and slightly curved at the blossom end. Armenian cucumbers should be firm, but even when soft and flexible, they will be crisp and have an excellent flavor. Finally, there is the lemon cucumber, which gets its name from its shape and color. They will be almost round, about the size of a large lemon and greenish-yellow in color. White skin indicates that they are not mature. Yellowish-orange skin indicates they they are too mature.