This week really ‘smells like summer’ in Greece, prompting us to go to the beach – and drink and eat something refreshing!
What’s more refreshing than a cucumber! It’s
the number one summer vegetable/fruit in Greece!
Even though native to the tropical regions of Asia, it probably extended into Europe from Greece thousands of years ago. Generally, it needs a warm climate to grow and is seasonal. But why vegetable/fruit? Cucumbers, tomatoes and squash, from a botanical point of view, are considered berries, with a harder outer shell than the ones we are familiar with. Generally, they are used by consumers like vegetables – but cucumbers are the ideal food for the summer!
There are many varieties, each one of them for a reason: pickles, baby pickles, short, long, and burpless. All varieties are rich in water (95.2 g) and low in energy (15 kcal), fat (0.11 g), carbohydrate (3.63 g), fiber (0.5 g) per 100 g of raw cucumber. You can definitely eat as much as you want without any regrets! In addition, there are plenty hidden minerals and some vitamins for your body in cucumber, according to the USDA.
This is maybe the reason why many cosmetics use cucumbers as an ‘ingredient’. Face wash, herbal cleansers, ointments and creams, toners – there are plenty of them in the market. But do they really work. Well, most of them are just marketing tricks … Many use the aroma of cucumber to give you a ‘sense of refreshment.’ There is no comparison with my grandma saying “put some fresh slices of cucumber or yogurt on your plate” after a day in the sun. That ‘old stuff’ really works. Also, the aroma of cucumber is unique for aromatizing water – and some slices of lemon and some mint leaves in cold water can clean your pallet after a meal and refresh you! You can also eat the cucumber when you finish the water! In some gourmet restaurants, adding some berries ‘explode’ the experience before the meal.
* The above is not medical advice but mere suggestions for improving your diet. Before reach herbal use you should consult your doctor, especially those who have health issues, are pregnant or are under the age of 6.
Evropi-Sofia Dalampira holds a PhD in Agricultural Economics and an MSc in Botany-Biology.