Cucumbers belong to the Cucurbitaceae family, along with watermelon, zucchini, pumpkin, and other types of squash. Cucumbers have been cultivated in the East for over 3000 years, they are believed to be native to India. Cucumbers and were most likely brought to Europe by the Romans.
Today, cucumbers are consumed in salads on a daily basis, making them a key fruit to grow in your organic vegetable garden.
Cucumbers are generally annuals, which are grown in many home vegetable gardens, for their fruit. Cucumbers are a climbing vine, they have roots in the ground and grow up support structures, using their thin, spiraling tendrils.
The fruit, which develops from a flower, is cylindrical and elongated, and has large leaves.
Cucumbers grow best in loose, sandy soil, but can be grown in any well drained soil. Being a vine plant cucumbers need a lot of space to grow. Cucumbers may be harvested when they reach the desired size. Do not wait too long to harvest as the cucumbers will over-mature and turn yellow.
The whole fruit is used for medicinal purposes, raw or cooked, peeled or unpeeled. Cucumbers are used as a diuretic and are the seeds are also a very efficient taeniacide.
The fruit is primarily composed of water, but also contains ascorbic acid and caffeic acid, both of which help relieve skin irritations and reduce swelling.
The cucumbers' skin is rich in fiber and contains some very beneficial minerals such as silica, potassium and magnesium.
Eating cucumbers is the tasty way to increase your daily consumption of water and fiber!