Cucumbers Healthy Food Guide

Peak season: May through August

Recipe shown above: Tropical Cucumber Salad


To see cucumbers in a dream denotes that you will speedily fall in love. Or, if you are in love, then you will marry the object of your affection

—Richard Folkard in Plant Lore (1884)

Food historian Waverley Root once wrote that a cucumber is “about as close to neutrality as a vegetable can get without ceasing to exist.” He must not have tried the right ones. From crisp kirbys to nearly seedless greenhouse cukes, there are plenty of alternatives to the thick-skinned types that typically dominate supermarket bins.

What you get

While the cucumber isn’t known as a nutrition powerhouse, it does provide a small amount of fiber, minerals and vitamins—particularly vitamin C (about 6 percent of the Daily Value per cup).


Shopping Tip
The English or European greenhouse cucumber, often sheathed in plastic wrap to protect its very thin skin, and the American slicing cucumber, which has a slightly thicker skin and more seeds, are the most common. Don’t overlook other varieties like the pickling cucumber (a.k.a. kirby) and Middle Eastern slicer. There’s even a “burpless” variety of cuke. Whichever variety you choose, be sure to select firm cucumbers that feel heavy for their size. Avoid those that have any yellow on them or have soft or wrinkled spots at the ends, a sign of improper storage.
Storage Tip
Store cucumbers in a ventilated plastic bag in the crisper of your refrigerator.

Fun Fact

A 2000 study published in HortTechnology measured the burp potential of three different cuke varieties. Over three consecutive days, judges were given an undisclosed variety of cucumber and then were instructed to rate the burpiness level on a scale of zero (no burpiness whatsoever) to nine (extreme burpiness). Judges gave the oriental trellis, often marked as a burpless cucumber, a rating of 1, while the American slicer received quite a different burp report, scoring between a 3 and a 3.5.

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