Cucumbers are rich in potassium and dietary fiber. They are moderately rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin C, calcium, folate (folic acid), phosphorus, and magnesium. If they are eaten in their natural state (without adding salt or fat), they are low in calories, fat, and sodium.
Planting and Harvesting Cucumbers
The ideal time to plant cucumbers in Central Texas is March for spring planting and September for fall planting. Harvesting would begin in May after spring planting and begins again in in November until the first frost after the fall planting.
|Plant Cucumbers||Harvest Cucumbers|
|March||Beginning in May|
|September||Beginning in November until the first frost|
Storing Harvested Cucumbers
Cucumbers should be stored in the refrigerator and are best if used within 1 week of harvest.
Choosing Fresh Cucumbers
Choose firm, green, and slender cucumbers that do not have soft spots (indicating bacterial infestation) and wrinkled skin (signs of toughness and bitter flavor). The cucumbers should be well developed, but not too large in diameter. Avoid overgrown cucumbers that are large in diameter for they will have pithy centers and the fruit will be bitter. Also avoid those that have a dull color (starting to turn yellowish).
Cucumbers should not be frozen due to the dramatic texture change after being frozen; therefore, the best way to use cucumbers (either with or without the skin) is in salads or as part of a fresh vegetable appetizer. They can also be sautéed or stir-fried. In doing so, be aware that the fresh, crispness of the cucumber will be lost by cooking it and the texture will become extremely soft.
Since cucumbers are so prolific when they are growing, it is good to have a few recipes on hand so that the cucumbers can be used readily. Therefore, two recipes are offered below so that the cucumbers that you will produce can be used quickly and not go to waste.
- 7 c. cucumbers
- 1 cup onion
- 1 cup green peppers
- 2 cup sugar
- 1 cup vinegar
- 1 tbsp. salt
- 1 tbsp. celery seed
- Cut cucumbers, onion, and green pepper very thinly.
- Combine sugar, vinegar, salt, and celery seed. Mix well.
- Pour mixture over vegetables. Cover and refrigerate for 5 days before serving.
- Stir twice each day.
Nutritional Analysis (per serving): Calories:98; Protein:0.5 gm; Carbohydrates:25 gm; Total Fat:0.2 gm; Cholesterol:0 gm; Dietary Fiber: 0.5 gm; Vitamin A:12.2 RE; Folate: 7.7mcg; Vitamin C:7.6 mg; Calcium:14.6 mg; Potassium:97 mg; Sodium:357 mg;
Diabetic Exchanges: 1 1/2 Fruit, 1/2 Vegetable
California Cucumber Salad
- 2 cucumbers, scrubbed, not peeled
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1/4 cup chopped unsalted dry-roasted walnuts
- 1 tbsp. chopped fresh dill
- 1/2 tsp. minced garlic
- 2 tbsp. chopped green onion
- 1/8 tsp. black pepper
- 1/4 cup plain nonfat yogart
- Remove seeds from cucumbers, shred, and drain.
- Place in a bowl and add remaining ingredients.
- Toss to mix well. Serve on lettuce-lined salad plates
Nutritional Analysis (per serving): Calories:140; Protein:3 gm; Carbohydrates:24 gm; Total Fat:5 gm; Cholesterol:0 gm; Dietary Fiber: 2.2 gm; Vitamin A:36 RE; Folate: 29.3mcg; Vitamin C:9.9 mg; Calcium:72 mg; Potassium:459 mg; Sodium:18 mg;
Diabetic Exchanges: 2/3 Vegetable, 1 Fruit, 1/10 Bread, 1/10 Milk
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Publication Revised January 2009