We know the classic story of Christopher Columbus sailing to America to colonize the land, but what most don’t know is that with him he brought a variety of European treasures to popularize in the “New World”, which included one of our favorites – the cucumber! After first taking root in the American southeast, Florida and Georgia lead cucumber production in the United States, but other regions impacted by similar colonialization such as Mexico and Central America help fill the product pipeline to ensure steady year-round supplies. Being part of the Cucurbitaceae family, cucumbers share genetic ties with gourds, pumpkins, squash, and even watermelon, which also thrive in similar regions.
Although there are hundreds of varieties, the most common types seen in supermarkets today will be the classic garden cucumber and English (seedless) cucumber. With their thick, cylindrical shape and dark green exterior, garden cucumbers are those which consumers are most familiar. English cucumbers, though similar, are longer, thinner and significantly lighter in color than their garden counterpart. The most obvious distinguishing characteristic with seedless cucumbers is their clear plastic wrapping. Because of their thin skin and water-rich composition, this plastic helps the cucumber retain its hydration throughout the supply chain.
In general, cucumbers like those covered in this report typically have one of two destinies – fresh slices for eating, or a brine solutions for pickling. Slicing cucumbers, which would include both garden and English varieties, are the ones you see at your Thanksgiving appetizer table being served with dill dip. One of our favorite uses for the compact, nutrient-dense vegetable is packed in our carry-on luggage for a day of travel. Because of their high water content, cucumbers serve as a great snack choice for anyone looking to stay conveniently hydrated on the go without having to carry around a cumbersome bottle. But no matter the variety you prefer, cucumbers serve as a great source of important vitamins and minerals. Want to be as cool as a cucumber? Simply add them to your diet as your new favorite snack and remember to stay tuned to our monthly market updates for more cool produce information!