You think you know cucumbers. And sure, maybe you know you like them in salads, or that people like to refer to things being ‘cool as a cucumber.’ But there’s a lot more to know about the curious cucumber. They’re quite fascinating, really.
As we continue to celebrate the launch of our Long English Cucumbers in partnership with Houweling’s in select Walmart stores in the western United States, we wanted to share a handful of our favorite fun ‘bet-ya-didn’t-know-that’ cucumber facts.
- The cucumber is native to India. And it goes way, way back. Cave excavations show that its cultivation dates back more than 3,000 years! Speaking of cultivation, the ancient Egyptians also cultivated cucumbers, as did Charlemagne, who is said to have grown cucumbers in his Italian gardens during the 8th and 9th century. (University of Missouri)
- Cucumber—also known in the science world as Cucumis sativus— belongs to the Cucurbitaceae family, the gourd family of flowering plants. Other important members of this family include watermelon, muskmelon, pumpkin, and squash. (Encyclopedia Britannica)
- If you’re reading this from a computer screen, that screen probably measures anywhere between 13-18 inches in length. Now triple that, and you have about the size of the world’s largest ever cucumber, which grew to be 42.1 inches long. (Guinness World Record)
- Early cucumbers contained compounds called cucurbitacins which caused them to be bitter to the taste. These compounds acted to protect the cucumber from insects and other pests. While bitterness can still be an issue with some cucumbers, much progress has been made by plant breeders to eliminate the bitterness caused by cucurbitacins. (University of Missouri)
- A cucumber is mostly water (around 95%!). Since water does not absorb heat as easily as air, this water content means that it takes more energy to heat up the inside of the cucumber than it does to heat up the air that surrounds it. As a result, the inside of a cucumber will always be a little more cool than the outside air. Or, as they say: cool as a cucumber. (da Silva, et al.)
So now you know cucumbers a little better than you did before.
Right now, you can find Apeel Cucumbers — which are helping reduce single-use plastic waste — in select stores in the western United States. You can find Apeel produce at a store near you by clicking below: