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Cucumbers

Cucumbers

Cucumbers are not only crisp, but also cool and moist, due to their exceptionally high water content. They are also a good source of Vitamin C. There are two basic types of cucumbers, those eaten fresh as on the Eating Plan (slicing varieties) and those cultivated for pickling. The slicing cucumbers are field grown varieties that have glossy, dark green skin and tapering ends. They are usually available throughout the year.

Cucumber must be kept cool, or it will quickly wilt. Look for cucumbers that are very firm and rounded right to the ends; avoid any with withered, shrivelled tips. Slender cucumbers typically have fewer seeds. Their skin should be a rich green, not extremely pale and definitely not yellow. Watch out for bruises or dark spots. Store cucumbers in the refrigerator crisper. Uncut cucumbers will keep for about one week. Check them every day or so and discard them if showing signs of decay. Wrap cut cucumbers tightly in plastic wrap and use within a day or two. You can leave the skin on, but rinse it well before eating it.

There are ways to remove bitterness cucumbers sometimes have. Try cutting off the ends and peeling the skin. If that does not work, sprinkle peeled cucumbers with a pinch of salt, a pinch of sweetener, and a few drops of vinegar, and let stand for 20 to 30 minutes.

The delicate flavour of cooked cucumbers nicely complements fish and poultry. Season the cucumbers after cooking with herbs - dill, mint, tarragon or basil, for instance - lemon juice as a fruit allowance, or make up a dressing.


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