Written by Selina

Modified & Updated: 02 Jun 2024

Sherman Smith

Reviewed by Sherman Smith

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If there’s one vegetable that deserves a standing ovation for its coolness, it’s the cucumber. This refreshing green marvel is not just a popular ingredient in salads and sandwiches and skin care routines; it also holds some intriguing secrets. Here are 12 cool cucumber facts that you should know.

Table of Contents

It is a fruit disguised as a vegetable.

Contrary to popular belief, cucumbers are actually a type of fruit, not a vegetable. They belong to the same botanical family as melons and squashes, known as the Cucurbitaceae family. Technically, any produce item that develops from a flower and contains seeds is a fruit, making cucumbers a surprising member of the fruit category.

Cucumbers originated in South Asia around 4,000 years ago.

Though there is no exact confirmation, it is possible that cucumbers originated in the regions of India or Thailand. From there, cucumber cultivation spread to the Middle East and eventually to Europe through Roman and Greek traders and explorers. Today, cucumbers are grown and enjoyed worldwide, with China being the largest cucumber marker, producing and exporting about  40.7 million tons of this green fruit.

bowl with pieces of fresh cucumber on light wooden background
Image from Adobe Stock

There is allegedly a genetic basis for people who can’t eat cucumbers.

Apparently, the cucumber hate is actually encoded in our genes. While the basis is not yet confirmed, some alleged research shows that people who repel the smell and taste of cucumbers have a much stronger bitter taste receptor – a gene called TAS2R38. These people seem to notice the smell and taste of cucumbers a lot more acutely than others. They are pretty much wired to hate cucumbers, and many other kinds of vegetables too.

Cucumbers probably contain the most health benefits.

A single cucumber packs more nutrients and health benefits than you’d ever imagine. They are low in calories but high in vitamins and minerals, including Vitamins B Vitamin C, Iron, Calcium, Zinc, Magnesium, Phosphorus, and Potassium. Cucumbers are also rich in antioxidants that can help reduce inflammation and protect against chronic diseases.

They are 95% water.

Cucumbers are incredibly hydrating, as they are composed of about 95% water. This makes them an excellent choice for promoting hydration and helping to meet your daily fluid needs, especially during the hot summer months. And because it contains so much water, cucumbers can easily replace almost one cup of water.

Cocktail gin tonic with ice, rosemary, lime, and cucumber.
Image from Adobe Stock

Cats sometimes confuse cucumbers with snakes.

If you have yet to test out this theory, maybe you should. Con Slobodchikoff, an animal behaviorist mentions that cats are innately terrified of cucumbers because they look like snakes. That is why when you wave a cucumber near cats, the instinctive fear of snakes kicks in, and your fur babies may be scurrying away.

Cucumbers can cure bad breath.

As intriguing as it sounds, it actually works. Simply take a cucumber slice and press it to the roof of your mouth for 30 seconds with your tongue. This allows the naturally occurring phytochemicals in the cucumber to kill the problematic bacteria.

You can use cucumbers to clean foggy mirrors and remove pen ink.

Beyond the kitchen and spa, cucumbers have some unusual uses. You can use cucumbers to clean foggy mirrors, fix a squeaky hinge, or even deter pests in the garden. Their high vitamin B1 content can also help to repel insects when rubbed on the skin.

If that’s not mindblowing enough, cucumbers can also remove ink by rubbing a slice across the writing gently. They work much better than pen erasers.

Cucumber World Records

Anything can be a Guinness World Record, even cucumbers. 1n 2011, Ian Neale snagged the world record for growing the longest cucumber measuring an impressive 107 cm (42.1 in).

And in 2019, Ashrita Furman managed to cut 57 cucumbers using a sword with his mouth in one minute.

Cucumber on dark wooden background.
Image from Adobe Stock

The phrase “as cool as a cucumber” is actually real.

According to food scientists, it is possible to have a 20° difference between the inside of a cucumber and the actual temperature outside. Even in the blazing heat, the insides of a cucumber can remain relatively cool, and this is most likely how the origin of the popular phrase came about.

There are nearly 100 varieties of cucumbers.

Taking into account siblings and distant cousins, yes, you’ll find that there are nearly 100 different types of cucumbers. Talk about a large family.

The most common types are slicing, pickling, and seedless cucumbers. Slicing cucumbers are typically large with a thick skin while pickling cucumbers are smaller and have bumpy skin. Seedless cucumbers, also known as English or hothouse cucumbers, are long and narrow with a thin skin.

Cucumbers are accountable for the salmonella outbreak in 2015/16.

As innocent and healthy-looking as they may be, cucumbers have actually been the common vehicle in the widespread of salmonella. According to the CDC, there were 907 cases in 40 states and 63% of them have eaten cucumbers before the onset of the outbreak.

Final Word

These 10 facts about cucumbers just prove one thing – they are more than just a crunchy addition to your salad. They are a fascinating fruit that offers a myriad of health benefits, uses, and well, record holders too. Truly, this gorgeous green fruit holds an abundance of facts, and maybe more that we have yet to uncover as well.

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