April Crowell, Dipl.ABT (NCCAOM), AOBTA CI & CP, CHN
Put the vitamin pack down and go eat a cucumber.
A little history
The humble cucumber (Cucumis Sativus) is a member of the gourd family, Curcurbitaceae. Like tomatoes and squash, cucumbers are actually a fruit in the strictest of botanical terms. They develop from a flower and their seeds are enclosed in their lovely flesh–tricky little devils. Originally from India, their cultivation dates back more than 3,000 years. Pliny the Elder valued their medicinal qualities. The Greeks and Romans feasted on cucumbers in the hot summer months and the fruit eventually wove its way to France and the rest of Europe. Not surprising then that cucumbers have made their way onto every continent and into every cuisine today.
There are several hundreds of varieties of cucumbers, not just the long, slender green ones we see in major stores. Cucumbers can be long or round and anywhere from green to yellow. Many varieties are lumped into three general categories: slicing, pickling and burpless….but that has never stopped me from pickling a slicer or slicing a pickler. Time to branch out a little? Although similar in energetics, Armenian cucumbers are technically a different species.
Bees and cucumbers
Bees, including honeybees and bumbles, are the natural pollinators of cucumbers. Throughout the world beekeepers will move their hives to local cucumber farmer’s sites just for the bloom. The honey the bees produce from this pollen is light and delicate and keeps our bees in business. Why do I mention this? Well, if you are growing cucumbers, you need pollinators as most plants are not self-compatible–meaning they can’t pollinate themselves. This also usually means they need a buddy plant or two nearby to help them form seeds […]