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How we eat cucumbers

We generally eat cucumbers raw, in several different ways. A lot of people like them sliced up in salads. There cucumbers add a light, moist, cool crunch to the salad taste experience. You've probably heard the expression "cool as a cucumber." That's where it comes from. In salads, cucumbers provide a nice contrast to slices of radish, which carry a peppery hot taste.

In a number of countries, especially those who really like spicy foods, people chop up cucumbers into tiny cubes and mix them together with yogurt to make a light, refreshing a condiment to complement their spicy dishes.

In the United States, approximately 1/3 of the cucumbers grown each year are turned into pickles. They are chopped and ground up to make relishes, cut lengthwise to make slices and crosswise to make pickle chips. As pickles, cucumbers get their taste not so much from the cucumber itself (which still provides crunch), but from the different kinds of vinegar and spices that are used to flavor of them.

For all their uses, cucumbers are best harvested young, while they are still some shade of green. Allowed to mature, they often turn yellow and can become quite bitter.


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