Cartwheel Farm have been bringing so many veggies to the market these past few weeks. I was so excited to see their double booth this past Saturday loaded with purple and orange carrots, salad turnips, radishes, snap peas, zucchini and summer squash galore!
They also had a super impressive variety of cucumbers, ranging from field grown and pickling cukes, to a long english variety grown in a greenhouse. I had a quick conversation with Nigel about his favourite use of the vegetable, and he brought up the saying “cool as a cucumber”, and how he finds cucumber water to be one of the most refreshing beverages on a super hot day. For anybody unfamiliar with cucumber water, it is exactly what it sounds like, a glass of ice water with some sliced cucumbers. By nature, cucumbers have a very subtle almost cooling flavour. When the veg is added to water its flavour subtly infuses into the drink, and creates an unreal thirst quencher. Cucumbers are also loaded with vitamins and minerals, so any way to sneak some extra cucumber related micronutrients into your day is a huge bonus!
Cucumber water is an amazing option in the summer for a few reasons.
First of all, it is getting awfully warm outside, duh. Hot weather means dehydration nation. Spending time outside, gardening, chilling at the beach, whatever it may be, in really warm weather can create a risk of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. The best thing you can do to prevent this on an internal level, is to stay hydrated. Sometimes switching up your regular water routine with the introduction of a little cucumber can encourage you to drink more water and stay hydrated.
Secondly, summer is the season of sugar sweetened beverages. Sugar sweetened beverages are like the ultimate evil in the nutritional sciences world. They are crazy over-consumed, adding so many additional calories to a persons diet, with little to no nutrition value. Slurpees, iced coffees, a cold can of pop, really anything you might like to sip on a patio all sound so refreshing on a hot day but unfortunately they are full of refined sugars. The rise of ultra-processed beverages is directly linked to the rise in obesity and obesity related illnesses in our modern food environment. Cutting some sugar sweetened beverages out of your diet and replacing them with flavoured water is a really easy, healthy change!
Lastly, it tastes really great! If straight up cucumber water doesn’t seem like your thing, don’t be afraid to experiment. Mint, lemon, watermelon, rosemary, or strawberries all pair really nicely with cucumber. Start with cucumbers from Cartwheel Farms, take the infused water train from there, and you will be feeling cool as a cucumber for sure!
Reede Hawton – Nutrition Rep