Table of Contents
HOW IT’S GROWN
Cucumbers grow on vines that grow close to the ground. Since the plant likes to spread out, some farmers help them grow up a fence or a trellis in order to save space. Farmers and gardeners plant cucumbers between May and June, and they grow through the summer months. Cucumber plants have wide leaves and small yellow flowers. Bees carry pollen from the male flowers to the female flowers, and then cucumbers start to grow. Cucumbers grow best when there is hot summer weather and a lot of sun, so sometimes they do not grow as well in Seattle summers. Sometimes cucumbers are grown inside of a greenhouse or a “hot house,” which helps them to grow even when it is not warm enough temperatures outside.
DID YOU KNOW?
In Washington, cucumbers grow best in the summer where there is hot weather. Use these tips to make sure you eat a delicious, sweet, and fresh cucumber:
• Select cucumbers that have smooth, dark green, firm skin.
• Choose cucumbers that feel heavy for their size.
• Avoid cucumbers that have soft spots.
• Store them in a bag or crisper drawer in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
• In the winter, cucumbers that come from other countries are covered with wax for protection. Peel the wax off before eating.
• Cucumbers are a great source of water. Did you know that WATER is the most important nutrient for our bodies?
• The water in cucumbers keeps our body temperatures normal.
• Staying hydrated with water gives us energy and helps us focus.
• Cucumbers also have some Vitamin K. This vitamin helps stop the bleeding when our skin is cut.
• Most Americans eat approximately 8 pounds of pickles each year. These pickles contain a lot of salt; fresh cucumbers are better for our bodies.
Family: Cucurbitaceae | Genus: Cucumis
Species: C. sativus
There are two main types of cucumbers: slicing cucumbers that we eat fresh and pickling cucumbers, which are turned into pickles. The slicing cucumbers are longer (about 9 inches) with smooth, dark green skin. Pickling cucumbers are shorter, lighter, and usually have bumpy skin. Cucumbers are part of the gourd plant family, so they are related to squash, pumpkins, watermelons, melons, and zucchini!
Cucumbers provide us with a lot of water, one of the most important nutrients for our bodies. All of our organs need water to work properly.
Did you know that our bodies are approximately 60% water?
Most people need to drink about 8 glasses of water per day. Unfortunately, instead of drinking water, we drink a lot of sugar-loaded drinks like soda, lemonade, and sports drinks. Have students research and discuss the problem with drinking too much sugar. Have them educate their families as well, and form a pledge that students and families sign to avoid sugar-loaded beverages for one week.
JUST THE FACTS
• Cucumbers come in many varieties. Some of the names include English, Japanese, Sweet Success, Boston, Persian, Apple, Pickalot, and Lemon cucumber.
• Cucumbers are related to squash, pumpkins, zucchini, and melons!
• Cucumbers are originally from India. They have been grown by humans for over 3,000 years.
• A cucumber can be 20 degrees F cooler inside than on the surface.
• Skinny or thin cucumbers usually have fewer seeds.
• A cucumber flower needs 10-20 visits from a bee per day in order to have enough pollen to grow a long, straight cucumber.