Cucumbers (Cucumis sativus) belong to the same botanical family as melons (including watermelon and cantaloupe) and squashes (including summer squash, winter squash, zucchini and pumpkin). As a member of the Cucurbitaceae family of plants, cucumbers are a rich source of triterpene phytonutrients called cucurbitacins. Cucurbitacins A, B, C, D and E are all contained in fresh cucumber.

Selection and storage

Choose cucumbers that are firm, rounded at the edges, and bright medium to dark green in color. Store cucumbers in the refrigerator where they will keep for several days. If you do not use the entire cucumber, place it in a tightly sealed container so that it does not dry out. 

Preparation and serving methods

Consumption of both the skins and seeds of the cucumber is desirable from a nutritional standpoint. 

Chopped Cucumber, Pear, and Fennel Salad by Kay Chun