Cucumbers are a widely cultivated plant in the gourd family, Cucurbitaceae. It’s a creeping vine that bears cucumiform fruits that are used as vegetables. There are three main varieties of cucumber: slicing, pickling and seedless. Take a look below for 27 more fun and interesting facts about cucumbers.
1. In North America, the term “wild cucumber” refers to plants in the genera Echinocystis and Marah, but these are not closely related.
2. The cucumber is originally from South Asia, but now grows on most continents.
3. The cucumber is a creeping vine that roots in the ground and grows up trellises or other supporting frames, wrapping around supports with thin, spiraling tendrils.
4. The cucumber plant may also root in a soilless medium and will sprawl along the ground if it doesn’t have supports.
5. The fruit of typical cultivars of cucumber is roughly cylindrical, but elongated with tapered ends, and may be as large as 60 centimeters, or 24 inches, long and 10 centimeters, or 3.9 inches, in diameter.
6. Botanically speaking, the cucumber is classified as a pepo, a type of botanical berry with a hard outer rind and no internal divisions.
7. Even though it’s a fruit, cucumber is often perceived, prepared and eaten as a vegetable.
8. Cucumbers can cure bad breath. A slice pressed to the roof of your mouth for 30 seconds with your tongue allows the phytochemicals to kill the bad bacteria.
9. The waxy coating of a cucumber can remove ink, rubbing the skin over the writing will slowly remove it.
10. Cucumbers are said to contain the lignans; lariciresinol, pinoresinol, and secoisolariciresinol. These are linked with reducing the risk of developing certain cancers including breast, ovarian, colon and prostate cancer. When eaten, bacteria in our digestive tract grab the lignans converting them into enterolignans which bind to the estrogen receptors reducing estrogen related diseases, including cancer.
11. Pureed or sliced cucumber gives an almost instant relief to sunburnt skin.
12. Ashrita Furman managed to cut 27 cucumbers using a sword with his mouth on October 9th, 2013, in Sri Chinmoy Center, New York.
13. Cucumbers were first domestically grown in ancient India around the 2nd or 3rd millennia BC.
14. There can be a 20 degree difference between the inside of a cucumber and the actual temperature outside. This is thought to be where the phrase, “cool as a cucumber”, came from.
15. In 2014, German authorities found a drug haul worth about $56.28 million smuggled inside pickled cucumber jars among a shipment on its way to Iran from Germany.
16. Cucumbers were transported by Christopher Columbus to Haiti in 1494. This started their distribution in the new world.
17. Worldwide cucumber production was 57.5 million tons in 2010, with 40.7 million tons being produced and exported from China.
18. Cucumbers have been cultivated for at least 3,000 years. They were probably introduced to other parts of Europe by the Greeks or Romans.
19. Records of cucumber cultivation appear in France in the 9th century, England in the 14th century and in North America by the mid-16th century.
20. The cucumber is listed among the foods of ancient Ur, and the legend of Gilgamesh describes people eating cucumbers.
21. Some sources state that cucumbers were produced in ancient Thrace, and were certainly part of modern cuisine in Bulgaria and Turkey, parts of which make up that ancient state.
22. Cucumbers are mentioned in the Bible as one of the foods eaten by the Israelites in Egypt.
23. Charlemagne had cucumbers grown in his gardens in the 8th and 9th century. They were reportedly introduced into England in the early 14th century, lost, then reintroduced approximately 250 years later.
24. In May, 2011, cucumbers infected with E. coli were claimed to have caused the deaths of at least ten people, leading to some retailers withdrawing cucumbers from sale in Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic.
25. David Thomas from the United Kingdom grew the world’s heaviest cucumber. Weighing in at 12.9 kilograms, or 23 pounds 7 ounces, on September 26th, 2015, at the Malvern Autumn Show in Worcestershire, U.K.
26. Cucumbers can help lower eye puffiness. The ascorbic and caffeic acids lower the water retention rate, shrinking the swelling and puffiness.
27. Cucumbers are mainly eaten in the unripe green form, since the ripe yellow form normally becomes bitter and sour.