In Japanese folklore, a pond-dwelling, goblin-like creature by the name of Kappa is depicted as being especially fond of cucumbers. Those who wish to gain favor with Kappa would write their names on cucumbers and throw them into the pond. Although the existence of Kappa might be mythical, it is easy to understand why he loved eating cucumbers. This crunchy, refreshing vegetable is not only good to eat but physically beneficial as well, having been used by the ancient Chinese to treat a number of ailments centuries ago.
Mythical creature or not, there are many reasons to love the cucumber, as these fun facts demonstrate.
- Botanically-speaking, a cucumber is a fruit although it is prepared and consumed as a vegetable.
- A cucumber can either be a slicing, pickling or burpless variety. Slicing cucumbers are mainly eaten raw, thick-skinned and are uniformly-shaped. Picking cucumbers are shorter than slicing cucumbers and have bumpy skin. The burpless variety is thin-skinned, sweeter and is almost seedless.
- A gherkin is a small, prickly variety of cucumber that is commonly used for pickling.
- Despite the similarity in name, the sea cucumber is a marine animal and is not related to the cucumber. It is so named due to its leathery skin and elongated body, which resembles the cucumber.
- Cucumbers might just be one of the lowest-calorie foods you can eat. One cup of sliced cucumbers only has 16 calories.
- Eating cucumbers is a good way to stay hydrated since they are 96% water. This high water makes the cucumber a very effective skin moisturizer. This is why women often use cucumber slices to soothe their eyes and reduce puffiness.
- If you have had a few drinks, eating a few cucumber slices before bed can help prevent a headache in the morning. The electrolytes contained in a cucumber are sufficient to replenish the nutrients lost in your body due to alcohol.
- The length and diameter of a cucumber varies according to its kind. However the largest cucumber ever recorded was grown in China, having a length of 5 feet and 7 inches and weighing 154 lbs.
- The English cucumber belongs to the burpless variety of cucumbers. It is also known as the gourmet cucumber because it has very small seeds that do not need to be removed when eaten.
- Back in the days when refrigeration was yet to be invented, Egyptian desert dwellers scraped the flesh out of cucumbers and used the hollowed out skins as water containers, which kept the water cool in spite of the scorching desert heat.