Cucumber or better known as mentimun in Indonesia is classified as Cucumis sativus in Latin. This plant is a climbing plant from the pumpkin family (Cucurbitaceae) which is widely cultivated for its edible fruit. Other fruits that are also included in this family are watermelon, melon, and pumpkin.
Cucumbers come from India. This fruit is an ancient fruit with evidence through cave excavations revealing that Cucumbers have been grown as a food source for over 3000 years. Various sources say that cucumbers were cultivated in ancient Egypt based on written evidence in the Bible.
The Greeks also cultivated cucumbers as did the Romans later. Emperor Tiberius is said to have demanded that Cucumbers be on his table every day. Later, Charlemagne is said to have grown Cucumbers in his gardens in Italy in the 8th and 9th centuries. During the reign of King Henry VIII, cucumbers finally reached England (Trinklein Cucumber: A brief history (David Trinklein)). Christopher Columbus introduced cucumbers to Haiti in 1494 AD which then spread to many regions in America.
Shape Description and Growth
While most people think of Cucumber as a vegetable, Cucumber is actually a fruit. This plant contains seeds and grow from the ovaries of flowering plants. There are hundreds of varieties of Cucumber. Available in a variety of colors (including white, yellow, and orange according to Nutritional Outlook, but according to Cornell University's Growing Guide, edible varieties are classified as serving sliced or preserved (Szalay and McKelvie Cucumbers: Nutrition facts and health benefits).
The known types of Cucumber (Iffah Cucumber Cultivation) are:
1. Regular Cucumber. The characteristics of this cucumber are that it has greenish white skin and soft flesh and a fruit length of up to 15 cm.
2. Krai Cucumber. Krai cucumbers are characterized by a dark green color and white stripes and the fruit is quite small.
3. Suri Bonteng Cucumber. The characteristic of the bonteng suri cucumber is that it has large fruit with fragrant flesh. This cucumber is better known as Timun Suri which is widely marketed before the fasting month, and is often used as a mixture of fruit soup or fruit ice.
4. Watang Cucumber. The characteristic of this cucumber is that it has green skin with white stripes, the fruit is large, up to 25 cm long.
This plant can be planted easily and does not require special care. However, please note that Cucumbers are less resistant to heavy rainfall because it can cause the flowers to fall and thus fail to form fruit. In addition, areas where day and night temperatures differ very sharply can cause powdery mildew attacks.
The types of seeds used for planting cucumbers are divided into two, namely commercial hybrid and non-hybrid cucumber seeds. Good cucumber seeds are characterized by shiny, spotless, pithy seed coat and a germination capacity of more than 75%. However, hybrid seeds are said to be less good because the seeds cannot be replanted by farmers, while non-hybrid varieties can be reseeded by selecting cucumbers that are ripe on the tree, healthy, without defects and come from plants that grow well. The best planting time for cucumber plants is said to be the end of the rainy season or during the dry season by planting the seeds directly (Iffah Cucumber Cultivation).
Efficacy and usability
Cucumbers contain 96% water, so it can be said that this plant is very good for preventing dehydration and detoxification and has a good function in the body's digestive system.
Cucumbers are a good source of potassium, magnesium and dietary fiber. This nutrient is known to lower blood pressure, thereby reducing the risk of heart disease. Research also proves that regular consumption of cucumber juice is very helpful in lowering blood pressure in elderly people with hypertension. The fiber in cucumbers may protect against colorectal cancer. Also, the cucurbitacin present in cucumbers has anti-cancer properties (Garg 10 health benefits of cucumber backed by research - pharmeasy).
Apart from that, Cucumber is also known to be good for skin, hair, nails and eye care as it can be found in various body care products.