If you feel like you are in a pickle, do not fret.

The Dietitian’s Choice this week are cucumbers for are 4 for $3.00.

What are Cucumbers?

Cucumbers are a member of the gourd family of plants. Contrary to popular belief, it is thought that cucumbers are members of the nightshade family (peppers, tomatoes, eggplant), but they are not. Relatives of cucumbers include summer squash, zucchini, pumpkin, gourd, watermelon, cantaloupe, and honeydew.

Cucumbers originated from Southeast Asia and now are grown all over the globe. 

It is thought that cucumbers are also vegetables, but in fact they are fruit! The reason being is the cucumber grows from the ovary of the flower. Vegetables are considered foods that consist of the leaves, stems, roots, and flowers. 

Types of Cucumbers

There are many varieties of cucumbers; the most common ones you see in grocery markets are the top three listed in the image to the left. 

Although any cucumber can be used for pickling, pickling cucumbers are best for –

  • thinner skin leads to crunchier textures of pickles
  • easier for the pickling solution to penetrate the cucumber
  • lower water content to maintain crunchiness

Health and Wellness Benefits

Vitamin A called beta-carotene is often found in orange, yellow, and red fruits and vegetables. Cucumbers contain beta-carotene too which supports eye health by reducing oxidative stress in its tissues including the blood vessels. Beta-carotene also helps support the skin by protecting it from UVA; however, it is not an appropriate substitute for sunscreen.

Cucumbers are high in potassium which may assist persons who are sodium-sensitive, whether that complicates blood pressure or swelling. You may hear many people like to drink pickle juice as a source of hydration. Pickle juice is high in potassium, but also sodium. Pickle juice is a great electrolyte drink to replace potassium and sodium lost from sweat; it also prevents leg cramps!

Pectin is a type of soluble fiber that is high in cucumbers. Soluble fibers act like a sponge. It helps absorb access hormones, stomach acid, excess nutrients like cholesterol and carbohydrates, and support bowel management.

Crispy Chickpea and Cucumber Salad by Rachel Gurjar, Bon Appetit, July 6, 2022


  • 4 Tbsp. vegetable oil, divided
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 3 tsp. salt, divided
  • 2 English hothouse cucumbers (about 1½ lb. total), trimmed
  • 1, 15-oz. can chickpeas, rinsed, patted dry
  • ½ tsp. ground turmeric
  • 4 oz. feta, cut into thin slabs
  • Seeded crackers and basil leaves (for serving)


  1. Step 1

    Heat 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil in a medium skillet over medium. Cook 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced, and 1 tsp. cumin seeds, stirring, until garlic is golden brown and seeds are fragrant, 1–2 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and let cool slightly; reserve skillet. Add juice of 1 lime, 2 tsp. sugar, and 2 tsp. Diamond Crystal or 1¼ tsp. Morton kosher salt to bowl and whisk dressing until sugar and salt are dissolved.

    Step 2

    Slice 2 English hothouse cucumbers (about 1½ lb. total), trimmed, on a deep diagonal into long ovals ¼” thick, then slice each oval into ½”-thick sticks. Place in a medium bowl and drizzle half of dressing over; toss to coat. Set cucumbers and remaining dressing aside.

    Step 3

    Heat remaining 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil in reserved skillet over medium. Add one 15-oz. can chickpeas, rinsed, patted dry (be careful as oil might spatter). Add ½ tsp. ground turmeric and remaining 1 tsp. Diamond Crystal or ½ tsp. Morton kosher salt and cook, tossing occasionally, until chickpeas are golden brown and crisp, 7–9 minutes.

    Step 4

    Transfer cucumbers to a platter, letting excess dressing drip back into bowl; discard dressing. Tuck 4 oz. feta, cut into thin slabs, around cucumbers, then break seeded crackers into smaller pieces and tuck around. Spoon chickpeas over, drizzle with reserved dressing, and top with some basil leaves.