Cucumbers are thought to be one of the oldest cultivated crops, first domesticated in the northern plains of India about 3,000 years ago; they are now grown all over the world, including locally in the Lehigh Valley.
Cucumbers are one of the family Cucurbitaceae; since they grow from the ovaries of the plant’s flowers and contain the seeds, cucumbers are technically a fruit.
Related to: Squash, gourds
Growing Conditions: cucumbers require warm soil and do well with plenty of organic matter in the soil.
Pollination: Most varieties depend on pollination by honeybees.
Pesticides: The Environmental Working Group has placed cucumbers on its Dirty Dozen+ list, meaning that eaters may be exposed to high residues of pesticide. They therefore recommend eating organically-grown varieties — or you can grow your own!
Health & Nutrition: Generally high in vitamin K and micronutrients called cucurbitacins.
Nutrient content can vary greatly depending on soil conditions, with organic methods and a soil rich in organic matter generally producing the best results.
‘Dirty Dozen’ or ‘Clean Fifteen’ lists do not necessarily apply to produce grown on local farms — you need to check with the farmer to determine if and when any fertilizers or pesticides were applied.
More info – assertions about cucumbers & health:
- From Nutrition–and-you.com: “Cucumber nutrition facts”
- From Live Science: “Cucumbers: Health Benefits & Nutrition Facts”
- From Listovative: “Top 10 Useful Cucumber Health Benefits”
A cautionary note: while cucumbers are said to be a good source of Vitamin K, it’s not clear which Vitamin K. (A distinction might need to be made between vitamin K1 and vitamin K2, since vitamin K1 helps with blood clotting and not bone health, while vitamin K2, works synergistically with vitamin D and other nutrients to support bone health.)