Zucchini and Cucumber Facts

Savor summer produce like fresh cukes and zukes, fresh from the farm stand.

Members of the squash family, cucumbers have been cultivated for more than 4,000 years. There are about 100 varieties of cucumber, with 3/4 of them grown for eating fresh and the rest used for making pickles. Cucumbers are usually eaten raw and, unless they're waxed, there's no need to peel before eating. Their seeds get larger and bitterer as the cucumber ages, so larger cucumbers should be seeded. Although cucumbers are available year round, they're at their peak May through August.

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Also called "courgettes" by many English and French speakers, zucchini were introduced to the U.S. by Italian immigrants and didn't become common until the 20th century. The now-popular summer squash ranges in color from dark green to light green and even yellow. The flesh is pale and has a delicate flavor. At the market, most zucchini are 4 to 8 inches in length, but depending on age they can be 2 inches to 2 feet, with smaller zucchini being more tender with thinner skins.

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