What is cucumber, kakadi, kheera? glossary | benefits | uses | recipes | Viewed 74533 times
Also known as
Kakdi, Kakadi, Kheera, Khira, Cuke.

What is Cucumber?

The cucumber (Cucumis sativus) is a widely cultivated plant in the gourd family Cucurbitaceae, which includes squash, and in the same genus as the muskmelon. The English word cucumber originated from Indian word "kachumbar".The fruit is roughly cylindrical, elongated, with tapered ends, and may be as large as 60 cm long and 10 cm in diameter.

Cucumbers grown to be eaten fresh (called slicers) and those intended for pickling (called picklers) are similar. Cucumbers are mainly eaten in the unripe green form. The ripe yellow form normally becomes too bitter and sour. cucumbers are scientifically classified as fruits. Much like tomatoes and squash, however, their sour-bitter flavor contributes to cucumbers being perceived, prepared and eaten as vegetables. Some varieties, which are grown in greenhouses, are seedless, have thinner skins and are longer in length, usually between 12 and 20 inches.

How to select Cucumber
As cucumbers are very sensitive to heat, choose ones that are displayed in refrigerated cases in the market. They should be firm, rounded at their edges, and their color should be a bright medium to dark green. Avoid cucumbers that are yellow, puffy, have sunken water-soaked areas, or are wrinkled at their tips. Thinner cucumbers will generally have less seeds than those that are thicker. While many people are used to purchasing cucumbers that have a waxed coating, it is highly recommended to choose those that are unwaxed, so the nutrient-rich skin can be eaten without consuming the wax and any chemicals trapped in it.

Culinary uses of cucumber


Mumbai is known for its famous roadside sandwiches and no mumbaikar sandwich can be made without cucumber. Whether it is a Vegetable Grilled Sandwich or just a normal Open Sandwich, cucumber is usually used along with tomatoes and potatoes. Little tiny cubes of cucumber are also added to chaats like Peanut Chaat that served on the streets of Tamil Nadu to counter to the spiciness of the chilli.

Cucumber can be combined with many different ingredients to make wonderful salads like a Pineapple Cucumber Salad or a Bean Sprouts and Cucumber Salad. Replace the unhealthy chips with sticks of cucumber to serve alongside Baba Ganoush and Spinach hummus and make the entire dish super healthy.

To be "cool as a cucumber" add them to your menus during the warm summer months when they are in season
· Use half-inch thick cucumber slices as petite serving "dishes" for chopped vegetable salads.
· Mix diced cucumbers with sugar snap peas and mint leaves and toss with rice wine vinaigrette.
· For refreshing cold gazpacho soup that takes five minutes or less to make, simply purée cucumbers, tomatoes, green peppers and onions, then add salt and pepper to taste.
· Add diced cucumber to tuna fish or chicken salad recipes

How to store Cucumber
Cucumbers should be stored in the refrigerator where they will keep for several days. If you do not use the entire cucumber during one meal, wrap the remainder tightly in plastic or place it in a sealed container so that it does not become dried out. For maximum quality, cucumber should be used within one or two days. Cucumbers should not be left out at room temperature for too long as this will cause them to wilt and become limp.

Health benefits of Cucumber
1. Promotes Weight Loss – With just 16 calories and zero fat from a cup of cucumber, it certainly qualifies for a weight watcher’s diet.

2. Flushes Out Toxins – With that high water content, cucumber act a s broom for our system to sweep out harmful toxins from our body.

3. Build Immunity – Being a good source of vitamin C (8.75 mg / cup) it strengthens your immune system to keep virus and bacteria away.
Click here to know more about the Health benefits of Cucumber.

Glycemic Index of Cucumber
Cucumber has a Glycemic Index of 15 which is low. Foods you eat rank from 0 to 50 are low GI, 51 to 69 are medium and 70 to 100 are high. Having a low GI, Cucumber is extremely healthy to eat. Good for Diabetics and Weight Loss.

Nutrition Facts of Cucumber
1 Cup of chopped cucumber is about 125 grams
RDA stands for Recommended Daily Allowance.

Energy - 16 calories
Protein – 0.5 g
Carbohydrate – 3.1 g
Fat – 0.1 g
Fiber – 3.2 g

0.44 mg of Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) = 3.3% of RDA (about 1.2 to 1.6 mg for men)
18.3 mcg of Vitamin B9 (Folate) = 14.6% of RDA (about 100 mcg)
8.75 mg of Vitamin C = 7% of RDA (about 40 mg)

17.5 mg of Magnesium = 14% of RDA (about 350 mg)
62.5 mg of Potassium = 1.3% of RDA (about 4700 g)
3.1 mg of Phosphorus = 2.5% of RDA (about 600 mg)
12.5 mg of sodium
Chopped cucumber
Place the peeled and washed cucumber on a chopping board and chop it into small pieces. Can be finely chopped or roughly chopped or chopped into big chunks as per recipe requirement.
Cucumber cubes
Turn the cucumber on its side and make a series of slices. Lay the cucumber slices on top of each other and make a series of lengthwise slices, (½ inch slices for smaller cubes, 1 inch slices for larger cubes. Make a series of ½ inch or 1 inch crosswise cuts through the cucumber and it will fall away into cubes.
Cucumber slices
Wash the cucumber and peel it, place the cucumber on a chopping board and cut it breadth-wise at regular intervals to get slices of required width.
Cucumber strips
Cut the cucumber into thin or thick strips as per recipe requirement
Deseeded cucumber
While the seeds are edible and nutritious, some people prefer not to eat them. To easily remove them, cut the cucumber lengthwise and use the tip of a spoon to gently scoop them out.
Grated cucumber
This requires grating the cucumber in a hand held grater. This grated cucumber is fine in texture and is used for making baked dishes like au gratin or casseroles or raitas.
Sliced cucumber
You may place the peeled cucumber in a slicer or slice them in thin or thick slices with a sharp knife, as per the recipe requirement.