Produce Spotlight on Cucumbers
Cucumbers, which are 95% water, make a cool, crisp, and refreshing low-calorie snack. The peel contains fiber, which helps us feel full, cleans out our digestive system, and may also lower our risk of certain diseases, such as cancer.
Shopping for Cucumbers
Select dark green cucumbers that are firm all around. Avoid cucumbers that are shriveled and wilted on the ends. The correct size of the cucumber will depend on its type. Cucumbers grow in Massachusetts during the summer.
Salad – also known as slicing cucumbers; 6 to 9 inches long, round, and dark green with glossy skin and a bitter, melon-like flavor; most common type sold.
English – thin, long, and usually seedless; mild flavor.
Pickling – small and bumpy, with white dots; best for making pickles.
Storage and Preparation
- Store whole cucumbers in the refrigerator unwashed and dry in a reusable container or plastic bag with holes for up to 1 week.
- Before using, rinse under cool water and dry.
- Refrigerate cut-up cucumbers in an airtight container and use within 3 days.
- Cucumbers are best eaten raw, when they are freshest. You may peel them to remove some of the bitter taste, but peeling will also remove some fiber.
- One way to preserve cucumbers is to pickle them, either through conventional pickling methods or in the refrigerator.
- It is best not to freeze, can, or dry cucumbers as they will lose their texture and taste.
- Mix diced cucumbers with low-fat yogurt, garlic, dill, and lemon to make tzatziki sauce to add to a grain bowl or serve as a dip.
- Sauté cucumbers in olive oil with garlic and dill or parsley.
- Create a cucumber salad with oranges, salt, lime, and chili powder.
- Try cucumber-and-mint infused water, refrigerated overnight.
- Make refrigerator pickles.
1 medium cucumber =
1⅔ cups sliced
Using Locally Grown Produce
For recipes featuring fruits and vegetables, visit our website https://extension.umass.edu/nutrition/recipes/. To locate places to buy local produce, visit https://www.mass.gov/orgs/massachusetts-grownand-fresher.