Summer is here and with it, comes the cucumbers! Cucumbers are over 95% water making them great for keeping hydrated in the warmer weather. Due to their high water content, one-cup of cucumber slices contains just 16 calories. (No, they do not contain “negative calories”.) They are not as densely packed with vitamins and minerals as some other vegetables since water takes up most of their weight, but they do contain notable amounts of vitamin K, vitamin C, and potassium.
As cucumbers are known for their crisp, refreshing flavor and crunch, they are most commonly enjoyed raw:
- Use sliced cucumbers to top salads or to dip into salsa or hummus.
- Puree cucumbers along with fruit to make smoothies or tomatoes to make gazpacho.
- Toss chopped cucumbers into grain-based salads, like Tabbouleh or pasta salad, or a veggie pita or wrap.
- Use finely chopped cucumbers to make a cooling, yogurt-based Indian raita or Greek tzatziki sauce.
Did you know cucumbers can also be cooked? Baked, steamed, sautéed or tossed into stir fries, cucumbers do soften slightly, but don’t worry: they still provide their signature crunch and flavor. If you do decide to go this route with cucumbers, it can be helpful to lightly sprinkle cut cucumbers with salt prior to cooking; this helps to draw out water which prevents it from being released into the dish you are cooking.
One of my favorite ways to enjoy cucumbers is my 5-ingredient, Easy Sesame Cucumber Salad. I usually opt to pair this salad with an Asian-inspired entrée, but it can also be eaten on its own as a cooling snack, perfect for a hot day.