Cucumbers and pickles
A cucumber, scientific name Cucumis sativus, is the fruit of a vine in the family Cucurbitaceae, a botanical category that includes watermelons and squashes. The cucumber is usually long and cylindrical in shape, has rounded edges, and can appear in various sizes. The fruit often has green skin and a white inside with many seeds in it. The taste of fresh cucumbers is usually refreshing, watery, and can have a slightly bitter aftertaste. Cucumbers are commonly eaten fresh or used in pickling.
Like the tomato, the cucumber is a fruit. Botanically speaking, a fruit is the mature ovary of a flowering plant and is used by the plant to disperse seeds. The term “vegetable,” on the other hand, is commonly used to describe any other edible part of a plant. Cucumbers and other such fruits are called vegetables because they are commonly used as vegetables in cooking. In addition, they are not sweet like other types of fruits.
In addition to being eaten fresh, many cucumbers are reserved for the pickling process-- which is where pickles come from. Pickling cucumbers probably originated as a way to preserve the watery fruit. During pickling, the cucumber is usually immersed in solution of salt, vinegar, and spices. The resulting liquid-- a pickle --kills bacteria that caused rotting. Once the pickle-- the food --is made, it is used in sandwiches, salads and various other products such as relish.
The Amazing Cucumber
* Cucumbers contain most of the vitamins you need every day. Just one cucumber contains Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B6, Folic Acid, Vitamin C, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium and Zinc. WOW!
* Do you feel tired in the afternoon? Reach for a cucumber rather than a caffeinated soda! Cucumbers are a great source of B vitamins and Carbohydrates that can provide that quick "pick-me-up" that can last for hours.
* Tired of your bathroom mirror fogging up after a shower? Try rubbing a cucumber slice along the mirror. It will eliminate the fog and provide a soothing, spa aroma.
*A fast and easy way to remove cellulite before going out or even yet to the pool? Try rubbing a slice or two of cucumbers along your problem area for a few minutes. The photochemical in the cucumber cause the collagen in your skin to tighten, firming up the outer layer and reducing the visibility of cellulite. Works great on wrinkles too!!
* Avoid a hangover or terrible headache by eating a few cucumber slices before going to bed and wake up refreshed and headache free. Cucumbers contain enough sugar, B vitamins and electrolytes to replenish essential nutrients the body lost, keeping everything in equilibrium.
* Need a quick shoe polish? Rub a freshly cut cucumber over the shoe, its chemicals will provide a quick and durable shine that not only looks great but also repels water.
* Have a squeaky hinge and you don't have WD-40? Take a sliced cucumber and rub it along the hinge and the squeak will be gone!
* Need a massage, or facial or just stressed out? Simply cut up an entire cucumber and place it in a pot of boiling water. The chemical and nutrients from the cucumber will react with the boiling water and be released in the steam, creating a soothing, relaxing aroma that reduces stress.
* Just finished eating and your out of mints or a piece of gum? Take a cucumber and press it to the roof of your mouth with your tongue for 30 seconds to eliminate bad breath. The photochemical will kill the bacteria in your mouth responsible for causing the bad breath.
* Get ink off your clothing or crayon marks off the wall by taking the outside of the cucumber and slowly rub, using it to erase the writing.
* Get GREEN - you can clean your faucets, sinks or stainless steel by taking a slice of cucumber and rub it on the surface you want to clean. It will not only remove years of tarnish it will bring back the shine, won't leave streaks and won't harm your fingers or fingernails while you clean.
TAKE AWAY TIP- Trouble with GRUBS, SLUGS AND ANTS in your garden? No worries - Just peel a cucumber, grind up the peelings and sprinkle it around the garden, or better yet put them in a pie tin and your garden will be free of pests. The chemicals in the cucumber react with the aluminum to give off a scent undetectable to humans but drive garden pests crazy - They'll be gone as fast as lightening!
FUN PICKLE FAQs
* The pickle is both a fruit and a vegetable.
* Americans consume 26-billion pickles a year. That's about nine pounds of pickles per person.
* More than half the cucumbers grown in the U.S. are made into pickles.
* Amerigo Vespucci, for whom America is named, was a pickle merchant before becoming an explorer.
* Pickling has been used to preserve food for almost 5,000 years.
Key Healthy Benefits of the Pickle
* Raw, lacto-fermented vegetables ( pickles ) have good bacteria that inhibit the growth of harmful microbes in the intestines.
* They have a higher concentration of vitamin C.
* They help you absorb iron better.
* Research show that vinegar can help with weight loss.
Pickle Juice is trending as the new savory drink of choice with many sports teams - available in both dill and sweet bread and butter. Pickle juice is usually loaded with potassium, sugar and salt. Potassium is necessary for the balancing of electrolytes in the blood to relieve symptoms of dehydration such as nausea and dizziness. The sugar is a quick source of energy that helps speed water to the cells and retain water in the blood. The salt also helps the body retain water, especially in the bodies tissue which can prevent dehydration. Often you will feel much better if you eat a pickle or drink pickle juice when you are dehydrated.
The fermented cabbage called sauerkraut contains a "friendly" bacteria proven to enhance digestion, speed up weight loss and boost immunity. Rich in vitamins and potassium, sauerkraut has a mere 27 calories per serving. Stuff it in your sandwich, heat it as a side dish or load it onto a baked potato.