Cucumber

What is Cucumber?

The cucumber is a type of vegetable that belongs to the gourd family, Cucurbitaceae. It is a vine plant that originated in South Asia but is now grown in many parts of the world. The fruit of the cucumber plant is long and cylindrical with a smooth, dark green skin that encloses the juicy and crunchy flesh. Cucumbers are commonly consumed as raw vegetables and are used in salads, sandwiches, and dips. They are also pickled, which is a popular way to preserve them for longer periods.

Cucumbers are low in calories, making them an excellent addition to any healthy diet. They are high in water content, which helps keep the body hydrated and supports the digestive system. They are also a good source of vitamin K, which is essential for bone health, and vitamin C, which boosts the immune system. Additionally, cucumbers contain antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that may help reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.

Cucumbers are easy to grow and are a popular plant for home gardens. They thrive in warm weather and require ample water to produce large, juicy fruits. There are many varieties of cucumbers available, including slicing cucumbers, pickling cucumbers, and English cucumbers. Slicing cucumbers are the most common type and are typically eaten raw or used in salads while pickling cucumbers are smaller and firmer and are used for pickling. English cucumbers are longer and thinner and have a milder flavor than slicing cucumbers, making them ideal for sandwiches and dips.

In addition to their culinary uses, cucumbers are also used in cosmetics and skin care products due to their cooling and hydrating properties. Cucumber slices are often placed on the eyes to reduce puffiness and dark circles, and cucumber extract is a common ingredient in moisturizers, toners, and facial masks. Overall, cucumbers are a versatile and healthy vegetable that can be enjoyed in a variety of ways, from salads and sandwiches to pickles and skincare products.

What is Gherkin?

Gherkin is a small variety of cucumber that is often used for pickling. Unlike other types of cucumbers, gherkins are picked when they are very small and immature, typically only a few centimeters long. This gives them a crisp texture and a slightly tart, tangy flavor that is ideal for pickling. Gherkins are often used to make dill pickles, sweet pickles, and other types of pickled vegetables. They can also be eaten fresh, either sliced or whole, and used in salads and sandwiches. Gherkins are a popular ingredient in many European and Middle Eastern cuisines, as well as in the United States, where they are often used in relishes and condiments.

Cucumber & Gherkin Production in the World.

China is the top country producing Cucumber in the world. As of 2022, China produced 77,258,256 tonnes of Cucumber, accounting for 81.57% of the total production. Türkiye is the world's second-largest Cucumber producer, with 1,938,545 tonnes, which represents 2.05% of the total production. In terms of Cucumber yield, the Netherlands (Kingdom of the) is the most productive country on the planet with 6,351,270. Russian Federation, Mexico, and Uzbekistan are the top three leading countries with '1,635,903', '1,078,210', '904,390', and '825,590' tonnes respectively. Nauru has the lowest production of Cucumber in the world with only 1 tonne in 2022. The world's total production of cucumbers and gherkins was estimated at 94,718,397 tonnes in 2022.

Source: FAOSTAT

Top 10 countries by Cucumber & Gherkin Production in 2022

Top Countries by Production of Cucumber & Gherkin in 2022

Rank Country production(Tonnes) acreage(Hectare) Yield
1
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China
77,258,2561,309,411590,023
2
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Türkiye
1,938,54535,333548,650
3
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Russian Federation
1,635,90336,506448,118
4
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Mexico
1,078,21019,123563,819
5
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Uzbekistan
904,39027,489329,001
6
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Ukraine
825,59045,100183,058
7
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Spain
769,9708,010961,261
8
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United States of America
595,63033,792176,264
9
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Kazakhstan
568,74822,970247,603
10
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Japan
548,6009,770561,515
11
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Egypt
484,42520,403237,427
12
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Poland
472,2006,700704,776
13
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Indonesia
444,05741,386107,296
14
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Iran (Islamic Republic of)
411,36115,003274,182
15
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Netherlands
400,1306306,351,270
16
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Republic of Korea
275,2034,008686,594
17
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Cameroon
262,121278,3419,417
18
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Tajikistan
257,2037,725332,932
19
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Azerbaijan
246,57211,296218,287
20
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Germany
233,7102,0701,129,034
21
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Belarus
228,4485,631405,723
22
Flag
Sudan
227,04317,749127,916
23
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Saudi Arabia
204,7202,386858,005
24
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Iraq
195,92420,38196,131
25
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Algeria
190,9254,324441,575
26
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India
183,22328,76363,702
27
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Thailand
177,06818,85893,897
28
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France
175,1801,7201,018,488
29
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Bangladesh
173,99818,41994,465
30
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Jordan
173,6821,838945,003
31
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Greece
142,4902,030701,921
32
Flag
Albania
129,8962,722477,278
33
Flag
Kyrgyzstan
126,8116,368199,138
34
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Syrian Arab Republic
125,4958,283151,509
35
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Lebanon
123,6853,738330,879
36
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United Arab Emirates
120,7439701,245,147
37
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Pakistan
112,2313,573314,109
38
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Palestine
112,0142,277491,919
39
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Mali
105,8766,020175,874
40
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Malaysia
102,3695,004204,568
41
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Oman
97,1391915,083,150
42
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Israel
80,492921873,975
43
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Kuwait
79,9486571,216,426
44
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Cuba
79,1856,207127,574
45
Flag
Romania
77,8303,890200,077
46
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Tunisia
70,1113,211218,343
47
Flag
Democratic People's Republic of Korea
67,1936,441104,325
48
Flag
Morocco
63,1551,317479,537
49
Flag
Italy
61,8301,980312,273
50
Flag
Canada
60,7212,483244,547
51
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Finland
56,9602402,373,333
52
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Armenia
56,5361,528370,003
53
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Bulgaria
52,270710736,197
54
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Peru
50,5592,577196,171
55
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Australia
48,2641,200402,048
56
Flag
North Macedonia
48,1901,015474,778
57
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Taiwan
47,0831,955240,888
58
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United Kingdom
45,000905,000,000
59
Flag
Honduras
44,314747593,522
60
Flag
Austria
44,1103401,297,353
61
Flag
Chile
37,4291,660225,472
62
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Sri Lanka
37,1422,916127,373
63
Flag
Sweden
36,9202301,605,217
64
Flag
Colombia
36,7902,211166,361
65
Flag
Belgium
34,920903,880,000
66
Flag
Turkmenistan
34,2431,437238,223
67
Flag
Serbia
30,7512,814109,279
68
Flag
South Africa
29,6511,652179,494
69
Flag
Georgia
26,0001,200216,667
70
Flag
Lithuania
23,250990234,848
71
Flag
Bosnia and Herzegovina
23,1421,102210,000
72
Flag
Hungary
22,940440521,364
73
Flag
Jamaica
22,0121,253175,674
74
Flag
Norway
21,7091042,087,404
75
Flag
Côte d'Ivoire
20,7404,27648,505
76
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Czechia
19,560330592,727
77
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Qatar
18,2241461,244,614
78
Flag
Malawi
17,636700252,066
79
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Republic of Moldova
16,1003,60044,722
80
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Switzerland
16,0671321,217,197
81
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Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)
15,7041,082145,083
82
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Denmark
15,630503,126,000
83
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Kenya
14,4041,69784,880
84
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Philippines
14,0702,00870,061
85
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Yemen
13,815930148,579
86
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Dominican Republic
13,071705185,352
87
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Portugal
12,470190656,316
88
Flag
Croatia
11,370130874,615
89
Flag
Latvia
8,140--
90
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El Salvador
7,657271282,943
91
Flag
Cyprus
7,650180425,000
92
Flag
Libya
7,164371193,281
93
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Mongolia
7,00372197,114
94
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Mauritius
5,938369160,921
95
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Estonia
5,78080722,500
96
Flag
Panama
5,76157699,947
97
Flag
Bolivia (Plurinational State of)
4,82154788,167
98
Flag
Ecuador
4,68958080,890
99
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Slovakia
3,840201,920,000
100
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Bahrain
3,601361,012,219
101
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Guyana
3,35840849,542
102
Flag
Slovenia
2,630140187,857
103
Flag
Dominica
2,34937263,098
104
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Comoros
2,268188120,446
105
Flag
Iceland
2,08645,215,000
106
Flag
Hong Kong
1,96096204,593
107
Flag
Trinidad and Tobago
1,897133142,563
108
Flag
Ireland
1,790101,790,000
109
Flag
Ethiopia
1,67577217,472
110
Flag
Costa Rica
1,65118290,592
111
Flag
Niger
1,593136116,798
112
Flag
Puerto Rico
1,29896135,621
113
Flag
Fiji
1,28990143,826
114
Flag
Barbados
1,24651244,527
115
Flag
Timor-Leste
1,17013884,905
116
Flag
Brunei Darussalam
1,141110103,934
117
Flag
Bhutan
1,12616767,533
118
Flag
Saint Lucia
98036270,000
119
Flag
Cabo Verde
89037240,541
120
Flag
Malta
820--
121
Flag
Madagascar
62915341,229
122
Flag
French Polynesia
62862101,412
123
Flag
New Zealand
60625242,378
124
Flag
Grenada
5956296,461
125
Flag
Democratic Republic of the Congo
3769340,521
126
Flag
Belize
27223118,261
127
Flag
Zimbabwe
22612518,024
128
Flag
Suriname
22110219,818
129
Flag
Ghana
13510140,824
130
Flag
Antigua and Barbuda
611346,740
131
Flag
Saint Kitts and Nevis
313100,137
132
Flag
Luxembourg
30--
133
Flag
Gabon
231812,605
134
Flag
Djibouti
7189,345
135
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Nauru
1-103,983

Cultivation of Cucumber

Cucumbers are a favored vegetable that can be effortlessly cultivated in a backyard garden or even in a container. The following are some general steps for growing cucumbers:

  1. Soil preparation: Cucumbers thrive in well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter. Prepare the soil by adding compost or other organic matter and tilling it to a depth of 6-8 inches.
  2. Planting: Cucumber seeds can be planted directly in the soil once the danger of frost has passed and the soil has warmed up. Alternatively, you can start them indoors a few weeks before the last frost date and then transplant them outdoors. Cucumbers need warm soil to germinate and grow, so make sure the soil temperature is at least 60°F.
  3. Spacing: Space cucumber plants about 12-24 inches apart, depending on the variety. If you're growing cucumbers on a trellis, space them 1-2 feet apart.
  4. Watering: Cucumbers need consistent moisture to grow well, so water them deeply once or twice a week, depending on the weather. Try to avoid getting water on the leaves to prevent fungal diseases.
  5. Fertilization: Cucumbers need regular fertilization to thrive. Use a balanced fertilizer every 3-4 weeks, or use compost tea or other organic fertilizers.
  6. Weed control: Keep the area around your cucumber plants free of weeds to prevent them from competing for nutrients and water.
  7. Pest management: Cucumbers are susceptible to a range of pests and diseases, including cucumber beetles, aphids, and powdery mildew. Consider using natural pest control methods, such as handpicking or insecticidal soap, to manage these problems.
  8. Harvesting: Cucumbers are ready to harvest when they reach a length of about 6-8 inches for slicing cucumbers or 2-4 inches for pickling cucumbers. Regular harvesting is important to encourage continued production.

By following these steps, you can successfully cultivate delicious cucumbers in your garden.

Health Benefits of Cucumber

Cucumbers are a low-calorie, refreshing, and nutritious vegetable that offer a range of health benefits. Some of the potential health benefits of cucumbers include:

  1. Hydration: Cucumbers are over 90% water, making them a great hydrating food. Eating cucumbers can help to keep you hydrated and support healthy skin and digestion.
  2. Nutrients: Cucumbers are rich in several vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium, and magnesium, which are vital for supporting the immune system, promoting bone health, and regulating blood pressure.
  3. Antioxidants: Cucumbers contain a range of antioxidants, including flavonoids, triterpenes, and lignans. These compounds have anti-inflammatory properties and may help to reduce the risk of chronic diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
  4. Digestion: Cucumbers are a good source of fiber, which is important for supporting healthy digestion and preventing constipation. The fiber in cucumbers may also help to reduce the risk of colon cancer.
  5. Skin health: Cucumbers contain compounds that may help to reduce inflammation and support healthy skin. They may also help to reduce the appearance of dark circles under the eyes.

Overall, cucumbers are a nutritious and hydrating vegetable that can support a range of health benefits. Adding cucumbers to your diet is a simple way to boost your nutrient intake and support your overall health.

Nutritional Information of Cucumber

Here is the approximate nutritional content of cucumber per 100 grams:

  • Calories: 15
  • Protein: 0.65 grams
  • Fat: 0.11 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 3.63 grams
  • Fiber: 0.5 grams
  • Sugar: 1.67 grams
  • Vitamin C: 2.8 milligrams (4% of the Daily Value)
  • Vitamin K: 16.4 micrograms (21% of the Daily Value)
  • Potassium: 147 milligrams (4% of the Daily Value)
  • Magnesium: 13 milligrams (3% of the Daily Value)

Cucumbers are also a good source of water and contain small amounts of other vitamins and minerals, including vitamin B6, calcium, and iron.

Structure of Cucumber

Here are some points describing the structure of a cucumber:

  1. Shape: Cucumbers are generally cylindrical, with a length that can range from a few inches to over a foot.
  2. Skin: The skin of a cucumber is thin and waxy, and it can be either smooth or bumpy depending on the variety.
  3. Flesh: The flesh of a cucumber is light green or yellowish-white in color and has a crisp, watery texture.
  4. Seeds: Cucumbers typically have a central cavity filled with small, edible seeds that are surrounded by a gel-like substance.
  5. Leaves: Cucumbers are part of the gourd family, and their leaves are large and lobed with a rough, hairy texture.
  6. Vines: Cucumber plants are vining plants that grow quickly and can become quite long if left to grow unchecked. They produce tendrils that help them to climb and attach to supports.
  7. Flowers: Cucumber plants produce small, yellow flowers that are either male or female. The female flowers have a small cucumber-like fruit at the base, which will grow into a mature cucumber if fertilized.

Overall, cucumbers have a relatively simple structure with thin skin, watery flesh, and edible seeds. They are easy-to-grow and nutritious vegetables that can be enjoyed fresh or in a range of recipes.

Types of Cucumber

There are many different types of cucumbers, each with its unique characteristics and uses. Here are some of the most common types of cucumber:

  1. Slicing cucumbers: These are the most commonly eaten cucumbers and are typically eaten fresh in salads or sandwiches. They are long and cylindrical, with thin skin and a mild flavor. Examples include the English cucumber and the American slicer.
  2. Pickling cucumbers: The cucumbers in question are comparatively petite and have a thicker skin than slicing cucumbers. They are ideal for pickling purposes, including both dill and sweet variations. Some examples of these cucumbers include the National Pickling cucumber and the Kirby cucumber.
  3. Burpless cucumbers: These cucumbers are often marketed as being gentler on digestion and less likely to cause belching or indigestion in comparison to other types of cucumbers. Their shape is typically slender and elongated, and they possess delicate skin with a mild and sweet flavor.
  4. Seedless cucumbers: As the name suggests, these cucumbers are grown without seeds. They are typically sweeter than other types of cucumbers and have thinner skin. They are often marketed as a premium variety and can be more expensive than other types of cucumbers.
  5. Lemon cucumbers: The cucumbers possess a lemon-like bright yellow skin and are petite and circular. They have a slightly sweet and gentle taste and are commonly utilized for pickling or adding to salads.
  6. Armenian cucumbers: These cucumbers are long and slender, with a slightly curved shape and thin, light green skin. They have a crisp texture and a mild, slightly sweet flavor.

Uses of Cucumber

Cucumbers are a versatile vegetable that can be used in a wide variety of dishes and preparations. Here are some common uses of cucumber:

  1. Salads: Cucumbers are a common ingredient in salads, either sliced or diced. They add a refreshing, crisp texture and a mild flavor that pairs well with a range of other ingredients.
  2. Sandwiches and wraps: Sliced cucumbers can be used as a filling for sandwiches or wraps. They add a refreshing crunch and can be used in place of lettuce or other greens.
  3. Pickles: Cucumbers can be pickled in vinegar, salt, and spices to make dill pickles or other types of pickled vegetables. Pickled cucumbers can be used as a condiment or added to sandwiches or salads.
  4. Cold soups: Cucumbers are a common ingredient in cold soups such as gazpacho. They add a refreshing, cooling element and pair well with other ingredients like tomatoes and peppers.
  5. Smoothies and juices: Cucumbers can be blended into smoothies or juices to add a refreshing flavor and a boost of nutrients.
  6. Skincare: Cucumbers can be used topically to soothe and hydrate the skin. They are often used in DIY skincare recipes like cucumber face masks and eye treatments.
  7. Cocktails: Cucumbers can be muddled and used as a base for refreshing cocktails like cucumber martinis and cucumber mojitos.

Overall, cucumbers are a versatile vegetable that can be used in a range of sweet and savory dishes. They add a refreshing, hydrating element and a mild flavor that pairs well with a variety of other ingredients.