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The skinny on cucumbers

One of the most frequently consumed foods in my household is the pickle. I have always preferred pickles to cucumbers, due to the pickles’ zesty flavor and vibrant personality. Cucumbers seemed bland and boring in comparison.

What I never realized, however, was that their ability to blend with other foods is the cucumber’s true charm. While pickles still have my heart, cucumbers are now very much in the race.

And another thing: For athletes who need to replace some electrolytes after a sweaty workout, cucumbers are high in potassium, one of the most beneficial electrolytes.

Cucumbers are also a great source of magnesium, shown to help the regulation of blood pressure, migraines, insomnia and diabetes. They’re also believed to help ward off cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis.

Also helpful in the prevention of osteoporosis is phosphorous —which is also abundant in cucumbers. Like calcium, it helps improve bone strength and endurance.

Cucumbers are also a source of pantothenic acid, manganese, fiber and vitamins C, K and A.

And hey, they’re not pickles but they can still be flavorful and crisp, especially if you buy ones grown here in the Northwest Corner.

I think cucumbers can be a perfect summer vegetable, because when they’re freshly picked they’re crunchy and sweet.

And for those out there who are dieting, or trying to diet,  cucumbers are low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium. A small one has only eight calories.

So get those beach bodies ready for the last days of summer and dive head first into a cucumber salad (of course, a lower calorie version of this will use yogurt instead of sour cream and mayo!).

Cucumber Dill Salad

1⁄2 cup sour cream, 1⁄2 cup mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon of minced dill, 1⁄4 teaspoon of kosher salt, 1⁄4 teaspoon of ground pepper, 2/3 teaspoon freshly squeezed lime juice (about half a lime), 1/3 cup chopped parsley, 1⁄2 clove of garlic minced, 4 kirby cucumbers, grated (on a cheese grater)

Mix all the ingredients except the cucumbers, dill and parsley in a bowl. Make sure everything is evenly mixed. Add the dill and parsley and mix, then add the cucumbers. For more bite, add some shallots.

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