Cucumbers

Pickle Jar with Pickles

Cucumbers are elongated gourds that grow on a vine. They are a member of the Cucurbita family. The history of cucumbers carries back to India, their point of origin. They have been cultivated since ancient times, even meriting two mentions in the bible and many in ancient literature including a famous book on Natural History, by Pliny the Elder.

Like most other vegetables, cucumbers have many health benefits and are a healthy addition to the diet. Most of the nutrients, including vitamin A, vitamin C, and folic acid are contained in the skin. Cucumbers have a soothing effect on the skin and can reduce swelling. For this reason they are often used in lotions and skin treatments.

Cucumbers are easy to grow in the garden. They should be planted three seeds to a hill about 1-inch deep, or in rows approximately five feet apart. Soil should be well-composted. The vines are spreading and may be trellised or allowed to roam free over the ground. They should be kept well-watered. Cucumber varieties are manifold, but, generally, they should be harvested before the seeds have a chance to harden.

Cucumbers are great in recipes. They are often found in salads, sandwiches, and cold soups. A classic elegant finger food is cucumber sandwiches. Though normally served cold, cucumbers can be found in an occasional hot recipe. Cucumbers can be baked in the manner of au gratin potatoes. However, the cooking time should be limited to about 1/2 hour. Cucumbers excel as an hors d'oerves. It is found lying beside other dipping vegetables such as carrot sticks, and celery. Too preserve as much of the nutrient value of cucumbers it is best to serve them with skins intact.

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