Cucumbers, Fruit or Vegetable, Does It Matter?
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Fruit or a vegetable? Technically the cucumber is a fruit because it contains the seeds to reproduce, but typically cucumbers are grouped and grown with veggies due to their use. But if you are a cucumber lover does it really matter? Cucumbers may not boast of having the highest nutritional value of some other fruits and vegetables but it still has many of its own merits! Check it out!
-Raw cucumber, when applied to the skin, can help reduce heat and inflammation. The diuretic, cooling and cleansing property of cucumber makes it good for the skin.
-Fresh cucumber juice can provide relief from heartburn, acid stomach, gastritis and even ulcers. It has also been known to be beneficial for those suffering from lung, stomach and chest problems.
-Placing a cucumber slice over the eyes not only soothes them but also reduces swelling.
-Daily consumption of cucumber juice helps control cases of eczema, arthritis and gout.
-The potassium in cucumber makes it useful for the problem of high and low blood pressure.
-Cucumber juice is said to promote hair growth, especially when it is added to the juice of carrot, lettuce and spinach.
Cucumber Sandwich, A Southern Tradition
2 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 tablespoon low-fat plain Greek Yogurt (if you are going for the real tradition, use Duke’s Mayonaise)
1 tablespoon sliced fresh chives
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
¼ teaspoon ground pepper
2 slices whole-wheat sandwich bread.
½ cup thinly sliced cucumber
Stir cream cheese, yogurt, chives, dill and pepper together in a small bowl until well blended. Spread the mixture evenly on one side of each bread slice. Top 1 slice with cucumber slices, then top with the other bread slice, cream cheese side down. Cut the crusts from the sandwich and cut it in half diagonally. Serves 1.
Each Sandwich contains; Calories 358, Protein 12g., Fiber 4g., Fat 6g., Sodium 439mg.
Creamy Cucumber Salad
4 fresh cucumbers, thinly sliced (3 to 4 pounds)
2 small red onions, thinly sliced in half rounds
4 cups (32 ounces) plain whole-milk yogurt
1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
2 tablespoons champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
1/2 cup minced fresh dill
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
Mix the cucumbers, red onions, and 1 1/2 tablespoons of salt in a bowl. Pour them into a colander and suspend it over a bowl. Wrap the bowl and colander with plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator to drain for at least 4 hours or overnight. Discard the liquid that collects in the bowl.
Pour the yogurt into a sieve lined with a paper towel and suspend it over another bowl. Wrap the bowl and sieve in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. Discard the liquid that collects in the second bowl.
When the cucumbers are ready, roll them up in paper towels or a kitchen towel and press the towel lightly to remove most of the liquid. Place the cucumbers and yogurt in a large bowl with the sour cream, vinegar, dill, 2 teaspoons salt, and the pepper. Toss well and refrigerate for a few hours to allow the flavors to blend. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and serve chilled.
Cucumber Tomato Salsa
1 large cucumber, peeled
1 small onion
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped roughly
Juice of 1 lime
3 to 4 fresh tomatoes, seeded and chopped into large chunks (I do not always seed)
1 dash hot sauce or 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. kosher salt or sea salt
1/2 tsp. freshly-ground black pepper
To seed the cucumber, cut lengthwise. Take a spoon and scrape seeds out over a sink, leaving a boat, almost as if for a filling. Place in the work bowl of a food processor, fitted with a metal blade.
Peel and slice onion in quarters. Add to the food processor. Add the garlic cloves. Pulse four to five times, until the cucumber and onion are diced. Be careful not to over-process, or the salsa will end up mushy. Add the cilantro, jalapeno peppers (without the seeds unless you want this salsa to be spicy), lime juice, tomatoes and hot sauce. Pulse a few times until the salsa comes together. Do not over-process or you will have soup! Taste and season with salt and pepper.
8 ounce cream cheese
½ chopped arugula
10 chopped basil leaves
1 tbsp. chopped chives
2 tbsp. diced red pepper
Salt and pepper
Peel and cut the cucumber into 8 equal pieces; hollow them out by three-quarters.
Mash the cheese, arugula and basil together with a fork. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the peppers and mix well. Stuff the cucumber pieces with the mixture and serve on large basil leaves.
Simple and Refreshing Cucumber Soup
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 large clove garlic, minced
2 large fresh cucumbers, peeled and thinly sliced
2 small zucchini, peeled and thinly sliced
3 cups vegetable broth
Melt butter with the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook and stir onion and garlic in the butter mixture until tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Add cucumber and zucchini slices; cook and stir until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Pour vegetable broth over the mixture; bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and let simmer until the vegetables are cooked through, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from heat and cool a few minutes.
Pour soup into a blender no more than half full. Cover and hold lid in place with a towel; pulse a few times before leaving on to blend. Puree in batches until smooth.
Serves 3, each contains; Calories 151, Protein 4g., Fiber 4g., Fat 9g., Sodium 500mg.