Cool As a Cucumber

This summer favorite is a low-calorie, tasty way to stay hydrated as the weather warms.



Whether you enjoy them plain, pickled, dipped, dressed or diced, cucumbers are a refreshing and nutritious treat, and their natural cooling effect makes them even more desirable in the summer months. Grown on a vine, cucumbers are part of the Cucurbitaceae family, which also includes watermelon, pumpkin, zucchini and squash.

Power Up

Cucumbers are at least 95 percent water, making them ideal if you want to avoid dehydration and cut calories (only 16 in one cup), but being high in water means they’re not so great if you’re hoping for a nutrient-dense snack. Still, somehow cukes manage to cram 17 micrograms of vitamin K (about 22 percent of the daily recommended value) into a cup. Vitamin K helps the blood to clot properly, preventing excessive bleeding, and allows the body to use calcium as a bone builder. Cucumbers also contain trace amounts (less than 5 percent of your daily value) of potassium, magnesium, vitamin C, copper, biotin and vitamin B1, and they’re rich in numerous antioxidants that can help reduce inflammation.

There are less conventional benefits too. According to a study published in Fitoterapia, a journal focusing on the medicinal uses of plants, cucumbers may be effective in removing waste materials from the body, reducing swelling and puffiness (hence the cucumber eye covers at many spas) and soothing sunburn. They’re also useful in fending off bad breath, especially if you mix them with mint, a deliciously refreshing combination.

Of course, we can’t talk about the cucumber without mentioning its brined brother, the pickle. Although much higher in sodium (785 milligrams in one pickle) than plain cucumbers, pickles have the benefit of being fermented, which can promote good gut health and may stabilize blood sugar levels, a recent study reported. Also, some endurance athletes believe that drinking pickle juice can relieve post-workout muscle cramps (one can even purchase a shot-sized bottle of pickle juice, no cucumber included, for this purpose), but this remedy has yet to receive an official backing from medical authorities.

Buy/Store/Serve

Cucumbers just missed making the 2017 “Dirty Dozen,” a list by the Environmental Working Group of produce with high levels of pesticide residue, ranking 13, so buy organic when you can. The most common types found in grocery stores are the slicing cucumber (the thick variety with a waxed skin to preserve moisture) and the English cucumber (long and skinny with a thinner skin wrapped in plastic, which does the work of the wax). Both are good to eat, as long they’re firm and unblemished. But if you’re planning to pickle, you’ll want the pickling variety, which is shorter than the slicing variety, with a thick, bumpy skin.

As for preparation, there’s not much you can’t do with cucumber. It goes well in salads, in chilled soups (gazpacho, anyone?) and in sandwiches (with high tea, of course). You can add slices to water (or a cocktail) to give it a boost of flavor. And don’t feel restricted by their “cool” reputation: Jersey’s own Martha Stewart recommends sautéing chunks of cucumber with butter, salt and fresh dill.

Did You Know?

Most cucumbers are green, but some varieties have white, cream, yellow, brown and even orange skin.

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Interested in learning more about BPL’s newest book club? Join us for a free grilled pizza party in Olsen Park. We’ll learn about dough from Javier at Café Europa and help create the pies....

Cost: Free

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162 W. Main Street
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Raise some dough! Attend The Community Chest's Martinis and Meatballs Special.  Throughout the day, 20% of tracked dine-in lunch or dinner and carry out sales are donated to The Chest. Patrons,...

Cost: $7.00 on up

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Anthony's Coal Fired Pizza
10 Sterling Blvd.
Englewood , NJ  07631
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Sponsor: The Community Chest
Telephone: 201-568-7474
Contact Name: Dr. Shelly Wimpfheimer
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Raise some dough! Attend The Community Chest's Martinis and Meatballs Special.  Throughout the day, 20% of tracked dine-in lunch or dinner and carry out sales are donated to The Chest. Patrons,...

Cost: $7.00 on up

Where:
Anthony's Coal Fired Pizza
10 Sterling Blvd.
Englewood , NJ  07631
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Sponsor: The Community Chest
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The annual City Place Sidewalk Sale kicks off on Thursday, July 19th! Stop by to shop the best deals of the summer season, and enjoy a DJ, live entertainment, activities and giveaways on Friday and...

Cost: Free

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City Place at the Promenade
225 River Road
Edgewater, NJ  07020
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Ocean Galleries welcomes a rare and compelling selection of artwork from 20 years of  The Art of Dr. Seuss Collection. Visitors can explore and acquire works from Dr. Seuss’s best-known...

Cost: Free & Open to the Public with ALL Artwork Available for Acquisition.

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9618 Third Ave
Stone Harbor, NJ  08247
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Sponsor: Ocean Galleries
Telephone: 609-368-7777
Contact Name: Kim Miller
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The annual City Place Sidewalk Sale kicks off on Thursday, July 19th! Stop by to shop the best deals of the summer season, and enjoy a DJ, live entertainment, activities and giveaways on Friday and...

Cost: Free

Where:
City Place at the Promenade
225 River Road
Edgewater, NJ  07020
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Sponsor: Gale Branding
Telephone: 212-993-5815
Contact Name: Gale Branding
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Ocean Galleries welcomes a rare and compelling selection of artwork from 20 years of  The Art of Dr. Seuss Collection. Visitors can explore and acquire works from Dr. Seuss’s best-known...

Cost: Free & Open to the Public with ALL Artwork Available for Acquisition.

Where:
Ocean Galleries
9618 Third Ave
Stone Harbor, NJ  08247
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Sponsor: Ocean Galleries
Telephone: 609-368-7777
Contact Name: Kim Miller
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The annual City Place Sidewalk Sale kicks off on Thursday, July 19th! Stop by to shop the best deals of the summer season, and enjoy a DJ, live entertainment, activities and giveaways on Friday and...

Cost: Free

Where:
City Place at the Promenade
225 River Road
Edgewater, NJ  07020
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Sponsor: Gale Branding
Telephone: 212-993-5815
Contact Name: Gale Branding
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THE HERMITAGE FOOD TRUCK FESTIVAL 2018 It's back! The Hermitage Museum is holding their 3rd Annual Food Truck Festival on Sat. July 21, 2018 from 11am - 6pm.  Admission is $5. Children under 5...

Cost: 5.00

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The Hermitage Museumh
335 North Franklin Turnpike
Ho-Ho-Kus, NJ  07423
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Sponsor: Friends of the Hermitage
Telephone: 201-445-8311
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Saturday, July 21, at noon Free - Registration not required All ages and skill levels welcome Join us as we once again begin the annual series of monthly yoga classes in Morven’s gardens with...

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55 Stockton Street
Princeton, NJ  08540
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