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All About Cucumbers

How to Buy, Store & Use Cucumbers


Cucumbers are truly cooling (their inside temperature can be up to 20 degrees cooler than the air around them!). Their fresh, light flavor and crunchy-when-thick and crispy-when-thin texture is a wonderful addition to salads and crudités platters. Get the best from cucumbers with information on how to buy, store, and use these cooling summer vegetables below.

How to Choose Cucumbers

Photo © Molly Watson
Look for firm cucumbers, without blemishes or soft spots. Most grocery stores either wax cucumbers or enclose them in plastic to help them retain their moisture and keep longer; un-waxed varieties can be found at some co-ops, natural food stores, and farmers markets.

Cucumber Varieties

Photo © Molly Watson
Make sure to choose a cucumber variety that fits your purposes. English and Persian cucumbers are delicious without peeling; lemon cucumbers and kirbys are great for eating raw or pickling; gherkins are best for pickling.

How to Store Cucumbers

Waxed or wrapped cucumbers will keep chilled for a week or two; un-waxed cucumbers will keep for up to a week if wrapped loosely in plastic and stored in the crisper.

How to Use Cucumbers

Photo © Molly Watson

We all know cucumbers are great sliced into salads or served raw, but cucumbers can be cooked to great effect. Peel and slice or chop cucumbers and sauté in a bit of melted butter. Sprinkle with salt and some chopped fresh herbs, if you like, for a mild, crunchy side dish perfect with simply cooked fish.

For the less adventurous, scrub cucumbers clean, cut a slice and taste it. If the peel is unpleasantly thick or bitter, peel the whole vegetable before slicing to chopping for salads, otherwise you can leave the peel on. Serve plain with soy sauce or a light yogurt dressing.

For tasty yet simple recipes see these Cucumber Salads and Cucumber Cocktails.

Related Video
How to Pick Cucumbers

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