Cukes!!!

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

I am writing this blog post on what may be the hottest and most humid day of the summer that we have had thus far.  Aside from watermelon, I don't think there is any other food more thirst quenching and hydrating than a cucumber. It is 95% water and contains minerals that help balance the body's electrolytes. 

According to Dr. Axe, "Electrolytes are certain nutrients (or chemicals) present in your body that have many important functions — from regulating your heartbeat to allowing your muscles to contract so you can move. The major electrolytes found within the body include calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, phosphate and chloride."  In the heat of summer, cucumbers are not only delicious and nutritious, but critical to support heavy electrolyte loss when we are sweating. There are also many other reasons for electrolyte imbalance.  A major electrolyte disturbance can cause serious health risks and can be fatal.

Cucumbers are rich in elements needed for healthy digestion. They are low in calories, making it an awesome food to snack on and add to your meals. They contain B vitamins which help to manage stress, and other phytochemicals to reduce the risk of cancer.  

On the Dirty Dozen list cucumbers show up as #13...the list has grown the last number of years... What does this mean?  Your cucumber should be organic or local, preferably local and organic, to minimize your exposure to harmful toxins.  Today we are bombarded with toxins from so many sources: electronic emissions, wifi, air, water, food, furniture and textile emissions, anything that touches your skin...on and on... 

Storing

 There are different discussions on how to best store this vegetable.  Some say to store on the countertop, dry and away from foods like bananas, tomatoes, and melons, which release ethylene gas and cause the cucumbers to spoil. Another says to wrap individually in plastic and store in the front of the refrigerator, the warmest part of the fridge.  Cukes are prone to injuries from moisture and stored in temperatures below 50 degrees accelerates this. Lastly, individually wrapping them in a paper towel, then placing in a plastic bag, and refrigerating.  I guess the method or storage you use should depend upon how quickly you plan on eating your cukes... What works for you?

Prep

Always thoroughly wash your produce in white vinegar and water or a store bought veggie soap, even when you  purchase local and/or organic. I do not peel my cucumbers as most of the nutritional value is in the skin. If you must peel, save the peel and toss in a salad, smoothy, juice, sandwich, whatever.  Although many recipes call for the removal of the seeds, they are quite nutritious.

Cucumbers are most often served raw: shred, dice, slice, ribbon, spear, spriralize. Add to your mojito, your water with mint or blueberries, a green salad, a grain side dish, sandwiches, chilled soups.  Make a cucumber and mint sorbet, a fresh pressed juice, a raw "pasta." Use thick slices as "crackers."

PICKLES!!!!!! BETTER YET, LACTO-FERMENTED PICKLES!!!!!

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