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Saturday, 23 August 2014

Hey, I know mine!  And I also know that not only are cucumbers one of my favorite vegetables but they're one of the healthiest around, too!  (But then, you can't really go wrong with any vegetable.)  Today though, I want to shine the light on those yummy cukes!
Cucumbers are naturally very low in calories.
For starters, they're a great source of B vitamins and give your body a quick pick-me-up!  Made up of 95% water, they not only help hydrate your body but cucumbers also aid in flushing away harmful toxins.  They're rich in cancer-fighting antioxidants, too.  They're naturally very low in calories and, on my FoodMover, they count as a FREE Bonus Vegetable.  You don't have to close any windows for them so load-up that salad of yours with those tasty cucumbers. 
And did you ever see one of those fashion magazine with photos of some lady resting cucumber slices on her eyes?  Well, there' a reason for that.  Placing cucumber slices on your eyes can actually help ease puffiness, thanks to their anti-inflammatory properties.  Those anti-inflammatories help the inside of your body, too.  Hey, let's hear it for those cucumbers!  But...which ones?
What?  You didn't know?  There're a variety of cucumbers to choose from and, personally, I like them all.  But maybe you've only tried the COMMON cucumber.  They're usually about 6-9 inches long and the ones you see, well, most commonly in your supermarket.  They have a mild flavor and are great grated, added to a garlicky yogurt dip.  A lot of people peel them first but I prefer my common cucumbers with the skin still intact.  They add such wonderful color and texture to a mixed-greens salad and the skin is where most of their fiber is, too.
My favorite is the ENGLISH cucumber.
But my favorite variety is the ENGLISH cucumber.  (It's also know as a HOTHOUSE cuke.)  They're a little fancier looking than their "common" cousins, have a thinner skin, tiny seeds and a slight hint of sweetness.  They're usually long and skinny, averaging 12 to 15 inches.  English cucumbers are wonderful blended into a chilled soup and make a pretty addition to your salads.
Then there's the PERSIAN cucumber.  They're smaller than English cukes but have a similar taste and are especially crunchy.  So if you like foods that go c-r-r--u-n-c-h, they're an excellent choice.  Quarter your Persian cukes lengthwise and serve with a tasty yogurt-based dip or toss them with your favorite salad greens and maybe even some fresh fruit slices to create a unique tasting, pretty salad.
Then there are those cucumbers they use a lot of in my native south, the PICKLING variety.  They include those cute little jars of sweet gherkins you see in the supermarket but they're more commonly called pickling cucumbers.  In fact, you'll probably see them sold separately in the supermarket and labeled "pickling" cucumbers.  If you're not into pickling, try these little babies raw and un-pickled.  They're extra crunchy and fun to snack on all by themselves!
You were thinking all cucumbers were the same!
And there you were thinking all cucumbers were the same...NOT!  Get to know your cucumbers.  They're your body's great friend, perfect for your weight-loss efforts and offer you so much, just not a lot of calories.  And now that you know a little more about cucumbers, if you haven't already, it might not be such a bad idea to make them one of your kitchen stapes. 
Oh, wait!  I must have stayed up a little too late last night because my eyes are looking kind of puffy this morning.  Hmmm, think I'll go rest a couple of cucumber slices on them!