Most of us like cucumbers, and we eat them almost daily, but is a cucumber a fruit or a vegetable? Cucumber is pretty much a stable in most salads. It is listed in a food list of pretty much every diet plan because it is very low in calories. And most of us even enjoy cucumber lemonades or mixed with alcohol. Cucumber is a garden vegetable favorite by many. It is a very popular ingredient for people on diets and for those who like to eat fresh or lite. But it is a fruit of the Cucumis sativus plant, and the plant itself is from a Cucurbitaceae family. First, we are going to discuss if it is a vegetable or fruit. After that, I would like to tell you everything there is to know about cucumbers and their health benefits.
What types of cucumbers do we have
There are only three cucumber types:
Their color and size variates by their variety, but generally, they are long with bright green skin, and they are slightly bent. Most common and know and slicing and pickling cucumbers.
Is a Cucumber a Fruit or a Vegetable?
To be honest, it depends. Why? Because we have to know what is the criteria to decide if it is a vegetable or a fruit.
What is the definition of fruit?
For example, the definition of fruit, by Merriam Webster, is: “the usually edible reproductive body of a seed plant.”
Is a Cucumber a Fruit by definition of Merriam Webster?
From the definition of Merriam Webster, we have to categories cucumber as a fruit. Why? Because fruit is a part of the plant, which develops from the flower and contains seeds of that particular plant.
Also, if you look up botanical definitions, you will find out that the fruit of a plant is what is reproducing that plant. Fruit develops from the ovary of that plant, and after it is full-grown, it contains plant seeds that are needed to reproduce for the next generation.
So again, by botanical definition, cucumber is a fruit and not a vegetable because the flower is developed from the seeds from the cucumber itself.
But the rest of the plant-like roots, leaves, or stalks are categorized as a vegetable.
Scientifically speaking, cucumber is a fruit of the plant. But bring one in a kitchen, and most people will tell you that it is a vegetable.
What kind of fruit is a cucumber?
All cucumbers do belong to the gourd family. This fruit is native in the northwest of India, where it was cultivated for more than 3000 years. They have become common in the 9th century in France. Later on, it was imported to England, where it became a typical food in the 14th century.
Chefs mark a cucumber as a vegetable.
In the chef world and culinary enthusiast, the cucumber is “always” marked as a vegetable. Most of the chefs or cooks mark fruit and veggies by sweetness and the percentage of sugar.
Usually, fruits have more flavor, more sweetness — softer texture with tart or sweet taste. Fruits are being used a lot in desserts, jams or shakes, or any other delicious dish.
Most of the vegetables are harder with bitter or harsher taste. They are mostly used as a side dish or in soups.
In the cook terms, cucumber is a vegetable due to its low sugar content and high water content.
Nutritional Value of Cucumbers
Cucumber nutrition information is often miss worded. Most people dismiss the health effects of cucumbers. Yes, it is mostly water [95%], and due to that fact, it has a very low content of vitamins and minerals. It is an excellent source of vitamin K because it contains 16% of the recommended daily dose of this vitamin.
Are cucumbers good for you?
Yes, of course, they are. Due to the high water %, it works like a mild diuretic. You would receive similar effects from drinking the same amount of water. Why is this a good thing? Most people who don’t work out regularly or have a strict diet tend to have high blood pressure, which can be slightly mitigated by this. It, of course, depends on how high the blood pressure is, but it is a standard treatment in the US to lower blood pressure with diuretics. And this is a natural one.
Also, calories in cucumber are meager. There are only 16 calories in cucumber that weighs 100 grams with the peel. With that being said, it is very low-calorie food, and it has a low content of fiber, but in comparison to carbs, it has excellent carbohydrate to fiber ratio, which is a significant part of our diet. We should consume around 5-20 grams of fiber for each 1000 to 2000 calories we eat. And lastly, since it is low-calorie fruit. It is a great filler. It has a significant volume for very few calories, which is very important for someone on a low-calorie diet or someone who wants to lose weight. You can eat pretty much as many cucumbers as you want, and you won’t gain weight.
With the number of calories per 100 grams, they are low in carbs, but deficient in fat and protein, which sounds terrible. But if you are on a diet, this is what you are looking for. With that being said, they can be part of pretty much any diet. Not to mention that they are favored by many. Thanks to the satisfying feeling afterward or due to their refreshing crunch.
Other use of cucumbers
Cucumbers are not only good for diet meals and drinks. They can also be used as homemade beauty/cosmetic applications.
One of the well-known beauty hacks is to place two slices of cucumber over your eyes for a few minutes. Not only that, it will reduce swelling of your eyes, but It will also help with getting rid of away the puffy and tired-looking eyes. Plus, you will feel refreshed and ready afterward.
Many people are also creating homemade hair treatments and even face masks. Why? Cucumber usually ads the moisture and the fresh scent. But I have seen people also used them in their soaps, body mists, facial toners, etc.
Did you know that if you sunburn your skin, you can use freshly sliced cucumber to cool the skin for faster regeneration?
My last thoughts
In my eyes, it truly does not matter if the cucumber is a fruit or a vegetable. The most crucial part is that it is healthy food. I would even call it a superfood for its low-calorie content, but still tasty food, unlike other low-calorie foods that are tasteless. Plus, if you find a few DIY tutorials, you can do so many things with them. Improve your skin or hair health and even your looks!