Cucumbers are the perfect summer food for a refreshing burst of rehydration.
The cucumber is a type of melon that comes from the same family as watermelon, zucchini and other squash. You can find cucumbers in various shapes and sizes: crisp Persian and Kirby varieties are perfect for salads and pickles, longer varieties like the English and burpless, and specialty varieties like the round lemon cucumber. Cucumbers are available year-round but they peak in the summer. Choose firm, unwaxed cucumbers without wrinkles, soft or slimy spots or withered ends. Refrigerate cucumbers unwashed and wrapped in a plastic bag for up to 1 week.
Health Benefits of Cucumbers
Hydration - Cucumbers are about 96% water making them great for rehydration, perfect for summer. So if you’re spending some time in the heat of the summer sun, try eating some cucumber to help stay refreshed and hydrated.
Vitamins - Cucumbers contain vitamins A and C, as well as small amounts of folate, manganese, molybdenum, and potassium. Most of a cucumbers vitamin A is found in the skin, so try consuming the skin as well (you may need to buy organic since conventional varieties are coated in wax).
Alkalinity - The alkalinity of the minerals in cucumber help regulate the body’s blood pH, neutralizing acidity. This helps reduce your risk of developing chronic illnesses.
Skin & Hair - Cucumbers can be used to relieve sunburn, as well as reduce eye puffiness. This is due to their anti-inflammatory properties. They can also promote hair growth due to their silica and sulfur content.
Cancer Prevention - Cucumbers are a valuable source of vitamin antioxidants such as vitamin C, beta-carotene, and manganese. Cucumbers also contain numerous flavonoid antioxidants, including quercetin, apigenin, luteolin, and kaempferol, which help neutralize cell-damaging free radicals. This aids in cancer development.
Chilled Cucumber, Basil, and Mint Soup
This cool cucumber soup is the perfect blend of herbs, lemon juice, and hot sauce. Add a little tangy zing to your summer luncheon by trying this refreshing chilled soup.
- 1 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt
- 1/2 cup fresh basil
- 1/2 cup fresh mint
- 1/4 cup sliced scallion
- 1 cup water
- 1 English cucumber, peeled, seeds removed, and chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
- Pinch of salt
- Optional: Thin cucumber slices
- Puree sour cream or yogurt, basil, mint, scallion, and water in a blender.
- Add cucumber.
- Pulse until just combined but still slightly chunky.
- Stir in lemon juice and hot sauce, and season with salt.
- Chill soup at least 3 hours (soup is best served the same day).
- Top each serving with thin cucumber slices if desired.