Cucumbers and gherkins belong to the same species, but are different cultivar groups.
Cucumbers are usually eaten as a vegetable, mostly raw but sometimes cooked. Cucumbers are also used in skin care.
Cucumbers are related to pumpkins, zucchini, watermelon and other squashes. Cucumbers are mainly composed of water, but also contain some Vitamin C.
Basic information and facts
Cucumber originates in India.
From Western Asia it has spread first to Europe and later to Americas.
Annual, biennial, or perennial:
Large leaves that usually form a sheltering roof over the fruits.
Cucumbers have cylindrical green fruits with a thin green rind. The fruits are elongated, with tapered ends. The flesh is white or very light green and contains many soft seeds.
Climate and weather:
Grows in a wide range of climates.
Pollination by bees. But some cucumber varieties are parthenocarpic and produce seedless fruits without pollination.
The cucumber is a creeping vine. If not supported in spreads out over the ground. It grows up on supporting frames or over other plants.
Aphids, cucumber beetles, red pumpkin beetle.
Cucumber fruits grow very fast.
Cucumbers are picked by hand. They can be harvested at any stage during their development, but preferably when immature (before the seeds become hard). Cucumbers used for pickles are harvested before they are 5 cm long. Cucumbers for slicing are usually 15 to 20 cm long, but some cultivars are longer. Pick them before they turn yellow; the best quality is when the skin is uniformly green.
Cucumbers are usually eaten fresh (in salads) but sometimes cooked. Small cucumbers are pickled in vinegar (gherkins). Cucumbers are sometimes used in skin care.
Proverbs and Quotes
- As cool as a cucumber. (Meaning: calm, unruffled)
- To sell cucumbers to the gardener. (Meaning: a useless act)
Did you know that?
- The sea cucumber is not a vegetable but an animal that lives in the sea. It has a cucumber-like shape.