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Cucumbers have been cultivated for thousands of years with records of their use in ancient Egypt, as well as in ancient Greece amd Rome. The cucumber is one of the few vegetables mentioned in the Bible. As called cukes, they belong to the same family as pumpkins, zucchini and other squashes.

Occasionally, in a collection of old glass, people will find a simple glass tube of cylinder resembling a lamp chimney with parallel sides. This is an English cucumber glass, used at one time to force cucumbers to grow straight. George Stephenson, inventor of the locomotive, is credited for this invention.

As a crop, they rank 12th in cash value among all vegetables grown in the United States. In the United States, each person consumes more than four pounds of cucumbers each year. Cucumbers are just as popular in northern and eastern European cookery as in Mediterranean countries.

Stuffed cucumbers are popular in Poland.

General Ulysses S. Grant was extremely fond of cucumbers. General Horace Porter once remarked about the Union General, "Campaigning with Grant", the General "often made his entire meal upon sliced cucumber and a cup of coffee."

Cucumbers for slicing should be firm, fresh and well shaped. Cucumbers are of a good medium to dark green color. Avoid shriveled or withered cucumbers.

Overmature cucumbers appear dull, their flesh toughens and the seed cavity turns jelly-like.

Beneficial Effects

Cucumbers are alkaline, nonstarchy vegetables. They cool the body, hence the phrase "Cool as a cucumber."

They are a great diuretic.

Juicing Cucumbers

Juice cucumbers with carrots and celery for a juice that is beneficial to the kidneys, gall bladder and digestion in general. Like most green vegetables, a little bit goes a long way. Mix it with 4 parts carrot juice to one part cucumber juice.

Nutrition facts for Cucumbers

39 calories, 0.39 grams fat, Carbohydrates: 8 grams, Fiber: 2 grams, Protein: 2 grams

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