Last week, we headed out east on Long Island. Traveling east is a great opportunity for discovery. We enjoyed small farmer’s markets with seasonal, fresh produce. Typically summer’s bounty is plentiful, including favorites like berries, tomatoes, salad greens, beets, cabbage, fennel, and cucumbers.
I’ll admit, I LOVE cucumbers. They’re a hearty plant, and really easy to grow in my amateur garden (just find a sunny spot). My favorite way to eat them is simply prepared, with some oil, balsamic vinegar, and a little sea salt. Yum.
Cucumbers are a hydrating summer food, made up mostly of water and nourishing nutrients, including B-Vitamins which are your body’s best source of energy.
The Many Health Benefits of Cucumbers Include:
- Containing more than 90% water, cucumbers quench thirst and treat the effects of summer heat
- Counteract toxins in the body
- Cleanse and purify the blood
- Helpful in lifting depression
- Excellent as a skin purifier: Caffeic acid and ascorbic acid in cucumbers reduce skin irritation & inflammation. Use to reduce swelling in puffy eyes; also great for applying to topically to burns (including sunburn).
- The juice can be used to help treat kidney and bladder infections
- The flesh contains Vitamin C, carotenoids, and folic acid
- The fibrous skin of the cucumber is rich in potassium, magnesium, and silicon, which is essential for calcium absorption
- Cucumbers contain a digestive enzyme called erepsin, which helps break down protein and supports gut health.
Selecting and Storing:
When selecting cucumbers, choose those that are plump, firm and heavy. Avoid yellow skin and puffy cucumbers with soft spots. When it comes to this vegetable, organic is best. Cucumbers are a heavily sprayed crop, due to the prevalence of cucumber beetles that threaten to weaken it. They’re also commonly waxed to prevent bruising during travel.
Cucumbers are very sensitive to the heat, so proper storage is key to maintaining nutrients and avoiding spoilage. Refrigerate in a plastic bag, wrapped tightly around the cucumber to keep the air out.
Quick Prep Ideas:
- Enjoy cucumbers simply, as in my favorite Easy Cucumber Salad
- Prepare a quick, refreshing summer cooler by placing sliced lemon, sliced cucumber and some fresh mint leaves in a large pitcher of water.
- Slice and add to your favorite salad
- Try mixing cucumbers with dill and yogurt
- Juice your cucumbers for their detoxifying and gut-healing benefits
- Enjoy cucumbers in your favorite smoothie
- Try a summer gazpacho (cold soup). Here, my Cucumber-Pineapple Gazpacho.
- Like popsicles? The Cucumber-Pineapple Gazpacho is great frozen into popsicles as well!
Your Simple Action Plan:
What’s your favorite way to enjoy cucumbers? What’s one new way you can add cucumbers into your diet this week?