Cucumbers are members of the melon family. This means cucumbers are actually a fruit instead of a vegetable. Cucumbers are green and are shaped like a tube.
The outside skin of the cucumber is called the peel. It is tough and not very tasty.
The inside of the cucumber is called the flesh. This is the yummy part. It is light green and soft, yet crunchy—like cantaloupe. The center of the flesh is filled with seeds that are safe to eat.
How to grow cucumbers
Cucumbers are grown from seed. The plants are vines that spread out along the ground. The vines get little yellow flowers on them called blooms. The blooms then grow into cucumbers. It takes almost 3 months for cucumbers to be ready to pick after planting the seeds in the ground.
Cucumbers need moist soil and plenty of warm sunshine to grow. If the soil is too dry, the cucumbers will be bitter.
All cucumbers are not alike
There are about fifty different kinds of cucumbers. Some of them have smooth skins and others have bumpy skins. Smooth-skinned cucumbers are usually dark green and the bumpy-skinned cucumbers are light green and greenish-yellow.
The thick skin of cucumber makes it harder for bugs to eat, so cucumbers are not usually bothered by bugs. The plants aren’t so lucky, though. People who grow cucumbers need to check for bugs on the plants almost every day and must kill the bugs quickly so they do not destroy the plants.
Cucumber facts for Kids
- Cucumbers are 96% water.
- Cucumbers get rid of bad breath. Just put a slice of cucumber on the roof of your mouth for about 30 seconds and your bad breath will be gone.
- Most of the flavor in the cucumber comes from the seeds.
- Cucumbers have lots of vitamin C in them.
- Cucumbers have been eaten by people for thousands of years.
- The smell of cucumbers helps people relax.
- The outside waxy coating on a smooth cucumber skin can erase ink.
- Cucumbers give you energy because they are full of B vitamins and carbohydrates
What are cucumbers used for
Cucumbers are eaten raw—without the peeling. You can eat them in salad, on sandwiches, or by themselves. Some people like to put salt or vinegar on their cucumbers…or both. The smooth-skinned cucumbers
Cucumbers are also used to make pickles; dill pickles, sweet pickles, or spicy pickles.
You cannot cook cucumbers, though. They turn to mush. YUK!
The cucumber test
Taste a cucumber with smooth skin and one with bumpy skin. Which do you like better? How are they different? How are they the same?