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.
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.
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.