Cucumber

Cucumber is an annual plant belonging to the gourd family. The main part of the ingredient composition of the vegetable is water (95%). This is a low-calorie product in 100 g of which only 14 kcal is concentrated. In view of this, on the basis of cucumber, many weight loss programs (strict and combined) have been developed, designed both for emergency weight loss within 3 days, and for systematic weight correction for 1 month. It is a source of indigestible fiber, vitamins, mineral compounds, proteins, organic acids, which helps to cope with constipation and removes cholesterol from the body.

Interestingly, in terms of thiamine content, cucumbers are ahead of beets (0.03 mg vs. 0.02 mg), riboflavin - radishes (0.04 mg versus 0.03 mg).

The vegetable satisfies the feeling of hunger, reduces the severity of edema, maintains normal thyroid function, raises vitality, improves the appearance of the skin, and increases the elasticity of blood vessels. In addition, polyphenolic structures were found in the pulp of cucumbers, which minimize the likelihood of developing cancer of the uterus, prostate, breast and ovaries.

Botanical description

Cucumber is the oldest plant known to mankind since ancient times. The homeland of the vegetable is Western India, from where it spread throughout the world. This is one of the few crops used by humans in an unripe form. In view of this feature, the plant was nicknamed "aguros", which means "immature" in Greek.

Cucumbers are characterized by a tap root with a large number of lateral processes. The stem of young seedlings is smooth, erect, while that of flowering and fruiting seedlings is rough, creeping, ending in branched mustaches (for climbing vertical supports). Moreover, the central shoot of the plant forms many lateral lashes, from which vines of the second, third and fourth orders extend. At the same time, the number of secondary offspring depends on the variety of cucumbers and the growing conditions of the culture. The length of the main stem varies from 1 to 3 m, and the side branches from 0.3 to 0.8 m. The leaves of the vegetable are petiolate, heart-shaped, alternately located on creeping lashes. As the stem grows, yellow funnel-shaped flowers with serrated edges form in the axils of the rudimentary plates. Stamens on cucumbersfused in pairs, and the ovary, protruding, pubescent along the entire length. In the buds there are special glands that release fragrant nectar into the air.

Interestingly, bee-pollinated cucumbers are monoecious dioecious plants that form both female and male flowers. Moreover, their staminate corollas contain sticky pollen, and pistillate corollas contain ovaries with three- or four-lobed stigmas. At the same time, the number of male buds significantly exceeds the number of female ones. These plants require cross-pollination to bear fruit.

Monoecious plants are only suitable for outdoor cultivation. This is due to the fact that in greenhouse conditions it is impossible to ensure proper pollination. Breeders managed to solve this problem, who bred parthenocarpic forms of cucumbers that form ovaries without the participation of insects.

The outer surface of a vegetable can be either smooth or spiky or coarse. At the same time, the size, shape, color of "pubescence" and the structure of the peel directly depend on the plant variety.

Chemical composition

Cucumber is a valuable low-calorie product (14 kcal per 100 g). The vitamin component of the vegetable is not very expressive. Most of the ingredient composition is water (95%), which contains a natural adsorbent that absorbs and removes poisons from the body. It is a natural cleansing agent with an action spectrum reminiscent of activated charcoal.

Table No. 1 “Nutritional value of cucumber”
Name Concentration in 100 grams of raw material, grams
Water 95
Carbs 2.5
Mono- and disaccharides 2.5
Dietary fiber 1.0
Protein 0.8
Ash 0.5
Pectin 0.4
Organic acids (tartaric, lactic ) 0.1
Starch 0.1
Fats 0.1
Table No. 2 "Chemical composition of cucumber"
Name Concentration in 100 grams of vegetable, milligram
Vitamins
Ascorbic acid (C) 10
Pantothenic acid (B5) 0.27
Niacin (B3) 0.2
Alpha-tocopherol (E) 0.1
Pyridoxine (B6) 0.04
Riboflavin (B2) 0.04
Thiamine (B1) 0.03
Beta-carotene (A) 0.005
Folic acid (B9) 0.004
Biotin (H) 0.0009
Macronutrients
Potassium 141
Phosphorus 42
Chlorine 25
Calcium 23
Magnesium 14
Sodium 8
Trace elements
Zinc 0.22
Manganese 0.18
Iron 0.6
Copper 0.1
Fluorine ​​ 0.017
Chromium 0.006
Iodine 0.003
Cobalt 0.001
Molybdenum 0.001
Name Concentration in 100 grams of product, grams
Glutamic acid 0.14
Arginine 0.05
Aspartic acid 0.05
Leucine 0.03
Serine 0.03
Glycine 0.03
Valine 0.03
Lysine 0.03
Phenylalanine 0.02
Proline 0.02
Isoleucine 0.02
Threonine 0.02
Tyrosine 0, 02
Histidine 0.01
Methionine 0.01
Tryptophan 0.01

In addition to water, vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, proteins and fiber, cucumbers contain polyphenols (secoisolariciresinol, lariciresinol, pinoresinol), which have an oncoprotective effect on the body.

Interestingly, on the island of Fiji, a vegetable is considered the most valuable product, indicating a person's well-being. For example, the bride's parents do not agree to the daughter's marriage until the groom presents them with a supply of cucumbers.

Benefits and contraindications

For many people, the smell of cucumber is associated with freshness, lightness and energy. This is not surprising, since the vegetable is 95% water. Due to the high concentration of liquid in the pulp and low calorie content, the product is approved for use in almost all diets aimed at reducing body weight. This vegetable not only satisfies hunger perfectly, but also promotes the transformation of fat into energy. Along with this, cucumber is a natural sorbent that naturally cleanses the intestines.

Useful properties of fruits:

  1. Accelerates the removal of excess fluid from tissues, reduces the risk of lymphostasis, improves the functioning of the urinary system.
  2. Stimulates bile secretion, prevents stone formation.
  3. Strengthens the heart muscle, increases the elasticity of the vascular wall, reduces the risk of thrombosis.
  4. Strengthens the immune system, protects cell membranes from destruction (by free radicals), increases the body's antitumor resistance.
  5. Improves the condition of epithelial tissue, reduces the intensity of the formation of comedones and juvenile acne.
  6. Increases intestinal peristalsis, reduces the risk of diverticula formation, normalizes stools.
  7. Raises the energy potential of the body, improves the passage of a nerve impulse through neurons and mental performance.
  8. Reduces bleeding gums, neutralizes bad breath.
  9. Stimulates the natural synthesis of thyroid and sex hormones.

Remember, only fresh cucumbers that have not been exposed toheat treatment and preservation. However, with all the obvious benefits, the vegetable has a number of contraindications.

Fresh cucumbers should be excluded from the diet of people suffering from:

  • ulcers, gastritis, enterocolitis (especially during an exacerbation);
  • increased acidity of gastric secretions;
  • jade;
  • hypertension;
  • dysfunction of water-salt metabolism;
  • cholelithiasis;
  • atherosclerosis;
  • allergies to the product.

Remember, before eating, cucumbers are soaked in cold water for 30-40 minutes to remove nitrates. Rinse vigorously under running water.

Cultivation

Today, cucumbers are cultivated in 2 ways: seedlings and seeds. In the first case, the crop is harvested in early June, and in the second - in mid-July.

Cultivation of cucumbers by seedling method:

  1. Seed preparation (heating and soaking). Pre-treatment of the seeds is performed in order to accelerate the emergence of seedlings and increase the number of female buds.

The first stage of seedbed preparation begins with warming up. To do this, full-weight bones are kept for 4 hours in the oven at a temperature of 45 degrees (with constant stirring). Cucumber seeds can also be heated in a simpler way by hanging them in gauze bags near heating appliances (1.5 months before sowing). After that, the raw material is placed for an hour in a solution of potassium permanganate or garlic pulp (diluted 1:3). Then the disinfected seeds are placed in cotton bags and dipped in a nutrient mixture (from nitrophoska, wood ash and water). After 12 hours, the bones are washed with clean water and placed on a slightly damp cloth to swell (for 1-2 days). At the same time, it is important to ensure that they do not germinate, but only slightly “hatch”. After that, the planting material is placed in the refrigerator for a day.

Remember, hybrid varieties of cucumbers do not need pre-sowing treatment.

  1. Substrate preparation. The soil for seedlings is made up of humus, soddy land and mullein, observing the ratio of 7:2:1. After that, lime (30 g), ammonium nitrate (25 g), superphosphate (20 g) and potassium salt (6 g) are added to the finished mixture. The resulting soil is filled with individual peat containers, in which drainage holes are made. The optimal height of the pots is 0.1 m, the diameter is 0.07 m.
  2. Planting seeds in containers. To obtain an early harvest, hatched seeds are buried in the ground in mid-April (one piece per pot). After that, the soil is abundantly moistened and covered with plastic wrap. To avoid rottingseeds "greenhouse" is ventilated twice a day. Watering is rare, but plentiful (preferably in the morning).

To moisten the soil, crops can be sprayed with a spray gun. If it is necessary to slow down the growth of the seedling, the intensity of irrigation is halved.

Germination time for planting material is 6 days. After the appearance of a pair of true leaves, the seedlings are hardened, fed with potash fertilizers and the frequency of watering is reduced (to stimulate the development of the root system).

  1. Planting seedlings in the ground. Young plants are placed in small holes (0.05 m deep) in phase 4 true leaves, ie 25 days after sowing. The optimal distance between planting pits is 0.5 m.

To prevent diseases, seedlings are treated with epin or immunocytophyte.

To obtain a mid-summer harvest, cucumbers (seeds) are planted in the ground in early June. Seed depth varies from 0.02 m to 0.04 m. To stimulate the formation of secondary lashes, soil-type vegetables can be pinched over the 5th leaf, and greenhouse-type vegetables over the first ovary. Considering that the plant “loves” warm, heated soil, the height of the vertical supports should not exceed 0.25 m.

How to pickle cucumbers

the most popular. There are many variations of pickling cucumbers, which differ in the quantitative composition of salt, herbs and spices. There are two ways to prepare vegetables for future use: “cold” (without sterilization) and hot.

Spices for pickling cucumbers (for a three-liter jar):

  • black pepper - 10 pcs;
  • garlic - 50 g;
  • horseradish root - 6 cm;
  • currant leaf - 3 pcs;
  • cherry (or oak) leaf - 3 pcs;
  • bay leaf (dry) - 2 pcs;
  • dill inflorescence - 2 pcs;
  • grape leaf - 1 pc.

If desired, a sprig of tarragon, mint, basil or savory is added to the bottle.

Hot method of pickling cucumbers

  1. Put spices (including fresh leaves of plants) on the bottom of the jar.
  2. Put cucumbers on top of spices (preferably vertically).
  3. Pour boiling water over raw materials, cover with sterilized lids, hold for 3 minutes.
  4. Drain water into prepared container. To facilitate the task, you can use a lid with holes or an ironed gauze cut.
  5. Pour the cucumbers with boiling liquid a second time, increase the steeping period to 5minutes.
  6. Drain hot water into a saucepan. Prepare the marinade (taking into account 35 g of salt per 1 liter of the initial liquid).
  7. Pour the pickle with boiling brine (do not fill the neck), roll up the jars.

After conservation, the pickle is turned down with lids (until it cools completely), wrapped and cleaned in a day in a cool place.

Recipe for cold pickled cucumbers

  1. Place cucumbers, spices and fresh leaves in prepared container.
  2. Prepare marinade. To do this, the salt is dissolved in 100 ml of hot water (based on 55 g of spice per 1 liter of liquid). The resulting mixture is brought to the required volume with ice-cold water.
  3. Pour cucumbers with cold brine, leave warm for 1-2 days (to activate enzymatic processes). After the end of fermentation, add the brine to the top of the jar and seal hermetically with a lid (without sterilization).
  4. Move pickle to refrigerator or cellar for 10-12 days.

The optimum storage temperature for the product is 0 degrees.

The secrets of proper pickling

  1. To get crispy cucumbers, it is better to choose small fruits with black "pimples" and a thick peel.
  2. Vegetables should be soaked in water for 2.5 hours before marinating. Otherwise, they may be bitter or "explode".
  3. The optimal time for salting cucumbers is the second half of July-August.
  4. It is better to use filtered, well or spring water to prepare the marinade.
  5. Greens, to preserve the taste and aroma, should be plucked from the bush an hour before salting.
  6. Cucumbers are placed in a bowl in dense rows in a vertical position.

Remember, the more vegetables you can fit in the jar, the longer the product will keep (due to the increased concentration of lactic acid during fermentation).

  1. Vegetables in the fermentation stage (when using the "cold" method) should never be capped.
  2. For crunchy fruits, it is important to use coarse table salt without additives.
  3. To avoid the appearance of mold when pickling cucumbers cold, it is necessary to sprinkle the surface of the marinade with dry mustard powder.
  4. To keep the bright green color, the vegetable is doused with boiling water and then immersed in cold water.

To obtain crispy cucumbers, it is important to put them exclusively in a sterile container. Remember, in 80% of cases, pickles spoil due to careless preparation of dishes.

Application in cosmetology

Cucumbers, due to the rich ingredient composition, have long beenused for cosmetic purposes. Products based on them have powerful antioxidant, moisturizing, toning, whitening and anti-inflammatory properties.

Cucumber formulations are used to eliminate oily sheen, lighten age spots (including freckles and dark circles under the eyes), reduce acne, even out skin tone (especially after tanning), narrow superficial pores, smooth fine wrinkles, moisturizing the stratum corneum.

Homemade facial formulations:

  1. Nourishing mask for dry dermis. Ingredients: 25 g cucumber puree, 15 ml natural honey, 10 g oatmeal, 10 ml sour cream. The mask is applied to clean skin at least once a week. After 20 minutes, the product is washed off with warm water. With regular use of the composition, the skin becomes velvety, smooth and well-groomed.
  2. Anti-inflammatory mask for problem skin. To create a composition you will need: cucumber pulp (30 g), lemon juice (15 ml), ground turmeric (3 g). The exposure time of the mask is 15 minutes, then rinse with water. This tool will help normalize the work of the sebaceous glands, dry old ulcers and reduce the intensity of the formation of new acne.
  3. Toning lotion for oily skin. Preparation scheme: combine 400 g of fresh cucumber pulp with 100 ml of high-quality vodka (40%). Mixture insist for 7 days in a dark place. Owners of oily dermis are recommended to wipe the skin with the resulting composition after each wash (to complete the process of cleansing and toning).
  4. A brightening, soothing facial mask. Active ingredients: 50 g cucumber puree, 15 ml chamomile infusion, 5 g chopped parsley, 3 g fresh mint, 2 ml sour cream. The ingredients are thoroughly mixed, and then applied to the irritated dermis for 20 minutes, washed off. The mask perfectly eliminates redness, evens out skin tone, dries small acne.
  5. Cleansing mask for all skin types. The composition is prepared from grated cucumber (15 g), white cosmetic clay (10 g) and boiled water (10 ml). The product is applied to the skin after make-up removal. The exposure time of the mask is 15 minutes. After a quarter of an hour, it is washed off with water. To obtain the desired effect, the composition should not be allowed to dry on the face.

In addition, fresh cucumber is used as a single agent for the care of oily, pigmented and aging skin. To do this, the vegetable is cut lengthwise into 2 halves and wiped with the dermis after make-up removal.

Interestingly, Queen Cleopatra used cucumber juice internally and used it externally as masks to maintain youthful skin.

Popular recipes

Culinary cucumbers are used in fresh, pickled and pickled forms. On the basis of the vegetable, salads, cold soups, sauces and dressings are prepared.

Recipe No. 1 Pickled Cucumber Pickle

Ingredients:

Cooking scheme:

  1. Cut the meat fillet into pieces, boil for 1.5 hours.
  2. Pour the pearl barley with liquid, boil in a separate container for 25 minutes. After cooking, leave the porridge for 15 minutes for further swelling.
  3. Throw the finished cereal on a sieve, rinse under running water, combine with meat broth.
  4. Remove peel and large seeds from cucumbers and then cut them into strips.
  5. Chop the vegetables: onions in half rings, carrots in slices, potatoes in cubes.
  6. Heat a frying pan with vegetable oil. Pass the onions and carrots, and then combine with tomato paste, leeks and 50 ml of boiling water. Simmer the resulting mixture for 7 minutes.
  7. Strain the broth, combine the liquid with the potatoes. After 15 minutes, add porridge and cucumber slices to the pickle. Boil the dish for another 5 minutes.
  8. Fry boiled beef until golden brown.
  9. Add fried vegetables, meat, spices, fresh herbs to the pickle, boil for another 3 minutes.
  10. Infuse the first course with the lid closed for 15 minutes.

Rassolnik is served to the table with fresh sour cream and a sprig of greens.

Recipe No. 2 “Korean Cucumbers”

Ingredients:

  • cucumbers - 500 G;
  • carrots - 150 g;
  • onion (white) - 100 g;
  • vegetable oil - 80 ml;
  • garlic - 70 g;
  • vinegar (preferably apple cider) - 50 ml;
  • sesame - 45 g;
  • Korean salad dressing - 20 g;
  • fresh herbs, salt - to taste.

Cooking principle:

  1. Chop vegetables: onions - in half rings, cucumbers - in strips, carrots - in bars. Mix the mixture thoroughly, and then make a small depression in the center (for garlic).
  2. Heat up the panwith oil, to a state of light "haze". Add sesame seeds and spices to the heated fat. Korean salad dressing can be replaced with a mixture of equal parts coriander, paprika, ginger, black and red pepper.
  3. Place the minced garlic in the indentation made in the vegetable mixture and pour the hot spiced oil on top.
  4. Season the salad with salt, sugar, vinegar and herbs.
  5. Stir the garnish, carefully spreading the seasonings, garlic and sesame over the vegetables.
  6. Mash the cucumbers and carrots with your hands so that the juice stands out slightly.
  7. Put the salad in the refrigerator for 6 hours (for pickling).

Korean-style cucumbers can be used as a separate appetizer or as a side dish for main courses.

How to choose a variety of cucumbers

Currently, there are parthenocarpic and bee-pollinated varieties of cucumbers. Plants of the first type are excellent for cultivation in small-sized greenhouses, since the formation of ovaries occurs without the participation of insects. For the cultivation of vegetables in the open field, both bee-pollinated and parenocarpic varieties of cucumbers can be used. In addition, when choosing seed, one should take into account the intended purpose of the fruit: for preservation or fresh consumption.

It is interesting that the prefix "F1" is added to the name to designate hybrid forms of the plant.

Cucumbers (varieties) for open ground:

  1. "Bouquet F1". Parthenocarpic hybrid early ripe with a large number of female flowers. The plant is medium-sized, weakly climbing, capable of producing crops throughout the summer (indeterminate). These vegetables are characterized by short tuberculate fruits with white pubescence and light green stripes. The average weight of Zelentsy is 100 g.
  2. “Graceful”. Early maturing bee-pollinated variety, characterized by high yield. The fruits are ellipsoid, small tuberculate, covered with a dark green dense skin. The weight of Zelentsy varies from 100 to 140 g. A distinctive feature of the variety is its high cold and disease resistance.
  3. "F1 is the envy of everyone." Beam self-pollinated hybrid of gherkin type. The culture can bear fruit in open ground and in temporary greenhouses. The advantage of the variety is shade tolerance, which allows you to get high yields regardless of growing conditions (especially during rainy summers). The fruits of the culture are painted in a bright green shade, the branching of the lashes is genetically self-regulating.
  4. "Baby F1". Early bee-pollinated variety with partial parthenocarpy. The hybrid is characterized by a mixed type of flowering and an average branching of the stems. The fruits are very short, slightly ribbed, regular cylindrical shape. Weightone vegetable - 85 g.

Instead of bromine - cucumber. Interestingly, in the old days, the seeds and unripe fruits of the vegetable were used to relieve sexual arousal. That is why cucumbers were grown in large quantities in the monastery courtyards.

The great commander Napoleon honored the green vegetable so much that he announced a reward equivalent to 250 thousand dollars to anyone who would come up with a way to increase the shelf life of the product during campaigns. Unfortunately, the method of prolonging the freshness of the fruit was not obtained not in the 18th century, not to this day.

F1 cucumbers for greenhouses:

  1. Berendey F1. Parthenocarpic hybrid of medium early maturity. The culture is indeterminate, weakly branched, forming a large number of female flowers. The flesh of the vegetable is dense, sweet without a taste of bitterness. The average yield of commercial cucumbers is 13 kg per 1 sq. m.

Advantages of the variety: shade tolerance, high yield, disease resistance. The weight of one cucumber is 130 g.

  1. “Little finger F1”. Ultraearly self-pollinating hybrid of high productivity. Zelentsy small tuberculate medium size (8-9 cm long). Cucumbers of this variety are intended for cultivation in spring unheated greenhouses. The variety is resistant to disease and drought.
  2. "Siberian garland F1". Hybrids of early maturation with bunched laying of ovaries. Plants do not require cross-pollination, which allows them to be used in film greenhouses. The fruits are small, white-thorned, not prickly (5-7 cm long). The pulp is juicy crispy without voids and bitter taste. Hybrids of this type are characterized by long fruiting and resistance to low temperatures.
  3. Antoshka F1. Self-pollinating gherkin hybrid intended for protected ground. The plant is highly branched with a central stem of medium ripeness. The mass of greenery varies within 80-85 cm, length - 10-13 cm. The fruits are small-tuberous with black "pimples". The pulp is crispy juicy without bitterness.

Remember, when choosing a cucumber variety, one should take into account the region of cultivation, climatic conditions, as well as the intended purpose of the product.

Conclusion

Cucumber is an annual vegetable grown in almost all countries of the world. The culture is valued for fragrant unripe fruits (zelentsy), used in cooking, diet therapy, traditional medicine and cosmetology. In the food industry, cucumber is used both as an independent snack and as part of summer salads, cold soups, and various pickles. Given that the pulp of the fetus is 95% water, cucumber is an integral component of weight loss cleansing and detoxification programs. Along with the liquid, it contains vitamins,minerals, organic acids, tannins, flavonoids, dietary fibers, adsorbents. The fruits of this culture perfectly satisfy hunger, potentiate the synthesis of thyroid hormones, help reduce edema, stimulate the contractile function of the intestine, increase the elasticity of blood vessels, and improve the appearance of the dermis.