top of page
  • Writer's picturegfmeade7


The cucumber has to be one of the most common vegetables these days and it is pretty much taken for granted being so unassuming and just making up the numbers in the salad world. Nothing could be further from the truth for this important ingredient in our everyday diet. Ever since it’s Indian subcontinent genesis thousands of years ago then migrating to Europe via ancient Greece and finally transported by the Spanish to the Americas it has become a global favourite. It may be mostly water but it packs a big crunch and surprisingly powerful punch on the goodness front.

   First and foremost they are great for diets with so little calories, actually only about thirty and zero fat, hardly any carbs but loads of vitamins, minerals and fibre which will help you feel full. They are also anti-inflammatory, helping lower your blood pressure, aiding with digestion and keeping you hydrated as an effective detoxicant, so they are a true super food. In addition they are excellent for external use with skin and eye conditions. I recall working with a fifty year old Middle Eastern kitchen worker who rubbed a few slices of cucumber on his face before work every day and he had the smooth skin of a twenty something without a wrinkle in sight.

Technically they are a fruit belonging to the same cucurbit family as melon, marrow, courgette, squash and pumpkin with over a hundred varieties of it alone grown around the world. The word cucumber itself comes from Latin via French and even in old English it was called an apple of the earth. Most are grown on vines indoors on climbers in a couple of months and of course they need to be planted for summer if outdoors.

They also get morphed into their smaller pickled cousins the gherkins and cornichons and the bitterness that was prevalent in previous years is long gone now so they are much more edible from raw today. Cooking wise they are quite versatile in both cold and hot pureed soups and sauces but they are mainly eaten cold in a myriad of recipes. The English love their cucumber sandwiches as part of afternoon tea, the Greeks make them into tsatsiki mixing it with yoghurt as do the Indians with their raita.

The Japanese will elevate it with some soy sauce and vinegar but most people are happy just to have a few thin slices as part of any salad concoction either raw or dressed with some form of vinaigrette.  Even your hamburger will have some form of it hidden under that plastic cheese. Salmon as an oily fish is particularly suited to cucumber.

     The herb most associated with cucumber is dill especially in pickling recipes but just chopped up fresh and sprinkled over it will give a whole new flavour. Other herbs work well too like basil, mint, tarragon, oregano, sage and coriander. Spice wise, cumin, turmeric and paprika compliment it well.

My favourite way of having cucumber is small barrel shaped pieces of its flesh glazed in the pan with a little lemon and butter until just warned through and then served as a garnish to a nice grilled fillet of wild trout along with a buttery dill sauce. I also like its flesh finely diced in a nice summer salsa containing chopped chives, tomato flesh, coriander and a drizzle of good olive oil.

   The skin is often peeled but it’s of great benefit to us as well as is the case with many fruit and vegetables. A lot of skins get thrown out when often it can be the best part of a natural ingredient and in this case going as far as even helping your eyesight with its high level of vitamin A. So do save the skin for purees or healthy shakes. The same goes with the seeds and their antioxidant properties giving us a heart health boost every time, so the less you do to it and the more you eat of a cucumber the more you gain. Cucumber should be a regular part of everyone’s diet if it is not so already.

1 view0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page