Cucumber is a vegetable belonging to the Cucurbitaceae family, which has very ancient origins; in fact, it is even mentioned in the Bible. It is the fruit of an annual plant, with a stem that can reach a height of four meters and it has an intense green rind and ivory pulp. Cucumbers are very rich in seeds and water.
The consumption of cucumbers is concentrated in the summer since they have a high water content (96%), which makes them very refreshing. They also lack is sugars, making them an ideal food in low-calories diets. Although they are on the market for most of the year, it is from May to September that cucumbers are grown and therefore are at their best. Production is concentrated in south Italy, especially Apulia, Lazio and Sicily. During the rest of the year, cucumbers come from greenhouse crops or from abroad, in particular from Spain, country which uses this vegetable inside gazpacho.
If you eat them raw, in mixed salads, and you want to make them more digestible, just eliminate the seeds. They can be kept in the fridge for up to a week, in the vegetable compartment. However, they can also be cooked: au gratin with cheese, stewed, squashed in mashed potatoes and soups. Among the best known varieties of cucumbers the are the dark green Marketer, the white Mezzo Lungo, the Gemini, recently cultivated.
When buying this vegetable, it is good to check its freshness, recognizable from the skin's texture, which should not have traces of withering.