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The cucumber originally came from the mountainous areas of India and was later taken for planting in tropical and temperate regions. Cucumbers have been grown in Asia, Africa and Europe for many centuries.

They grow on a climbing plant with yellow flowers and come in a wide variety of sizes, shapes, colours and tastes. The fruits of the cucumis sativus are usually long, with a green skin, dark lines and spots and light-coloured, mild-tasting flesh. The seeds are flat, similar to those of the melon, which belongs to the same family.

Cucumbers are served pickled or raw in salads but they can also be stuffed or used in hot or cold soups. Gherkins are small pickled cucumbers and go very well with a number of dishes as a condiment.

100 grams of unpeeled cucumber contains around 96% water and only 17 calories. It is rich in fibre, vitamins and mineral salts and is very important to our digestive system.

If you leave a few strips of rind when peeling a cucumber, it will be richer in vitamin A, easier to digest and much more decorative too.