Cucumbers are so everyday, we don’t take the time to think about them often. Actually, there are three major types. They can be the general salad or slicing cucumber or and the longer, more slender, frequently cellophane-wrapped, “burpless” cucumber. And the smallest, the Kirby, is for pickling. Botanically, cucumbers classify as fruits along with their brethren squash and tomatoes. In real life, however, we’d have a problem dealing with our cucumbers as fruits.
We are led to believe cucumbers were native to India 3,000 years ago. Over the years cucumbers’ presence spread to western Asia, down into the Mediterranean, over to France, up to the UK when Columbus carried seeds to the New World in the 15th century.
Cucumbers are a member of the Curcubita family along with squash, pumpkins and watermelons. Their common structure is a thin skin and a substantial wall of flesh surrounding web-held seeds either eaten or discarded.
Cucumbers are especially rich in vitamin K supported by a good amount of molybdenum and pantothenic acid.
Recipes frequently call for discarding the seeds of a cucumber, however, it should be pointed out that the nutritional benefit of cucumbers is higher the seeds than the outer wall of flesh.
Choose cucumbers displayed in refrigerated cases. They should be firm, ends rounded and solid dark green in color. Avoid those with any yellow coloring.
Always store cucumbers in the refrigerator to prevent limpness.
Your host, while on a press trip in the 80s to St. Kitts-Nevis in the West Indies’ Leeward Islands, was fascinated to be served a warm cucumber dish at the Ocean Terrace Inn, St. Kitts. Foodsite research since seems to indicate the dish was similar to Julia Child’s Baked Cucumbers found on Food.com. In it,she marinated prepared, raw cucumbers in vinegar, salt and sugar for 30 minutes. After this, she drained them, tossed them with butter, herbs and pepper and baked them at 375-degrees until barely tender. (Above link has recipe.)
If you remove seeds from cucumbers, slice them lengthwise into quarters, then cut off the seeded side.
Foodsites with cucumber recipes.