One of the oldest cultivated crops, cucumbers originally made their way to Western territories from the northern sub-Himalayan plains of India. Fast forward to the 21st century and the cucumber’s nutritional and healing benefits are still being enjoyed, with manufacturers incorporating them into a wide range of food and drink applications.
Nowadays, cucumbers are grown on most continents, with worldwide production reaching more than 70 million tonnes. 6 million trucks would be just enough to carry all of them.
There are hundreds of varieties, in dozens of colours, sizes and shapes. Don’t like the well-known, long, dark green cucumber with seeds around its core? No problem, they can also be round. And small. Miniature versions, such as gherkins and cornichons are often used in pickling, thanks to their size. If the shape doesn’t bother you, but you would rather have a slightly milder taste, the apple cucumber is worth trying. It can grow to the size of the small fruit, with creamy white, sweet flesh.
The most common version of the cucumber tends to be harvested young, just short of maturity, so that it retains its sweet and crunchy taste. The fruit has excellent cooling and inflammatory properties, while its neutral taste and crisp texture allow it to be incorporated into sauces, dressings and spreads. We’ve found that beverage manufacturers are also increasingly looking to cucumbers as an addition to juices or smoothies, to add a refreshing element.
It may be an everyday staple in consumer diets but the cucumber’s potential is far-reaching. With an impressive nutritional profile, they contain vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6 and C, folic acid, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and zinc. Plus, cucumbers consist of about 90% water content and are rich in fibre, making them an attractive healthy option for formulation in low-calorie products.
Get in touch to find out more about cucumber and the benefits it can bring to your food and drink applications.