Often misleading in appearance, zucchini and cucumber can look alike. Sometimes it’s almost impossible to tell the difference between cucumber and zucchini. These green vegetables, with an almost similar shape, differ in taste, texture, but also in the nutritional contributions they provide. Because if the cucumber is more crunchy in a salad or raw, the zucchini is succulent when cooked. Both are still excellent for dieting. Find out how to tell a cucumber from a zucchini.
What is a cucumber?
- 1 What is a cucumber?
- 2 What is a zucchini?
- 2.1 How is a zucchini used in cooking?
Cylindrical in shape, with dark green skin and pale flesh, the cucumber is grown in many parts of the world and eaten as a vegetable. Cucumber plants (Latin name Cucumis sativus) belong to the cucurbit squash family. They come in different varieties, including pickles.
Cucumbers have a mild, slightly sweet flavor due to their high water content. They are crunchy, fresh, and refreshing. This is why cucumber is eaten in salads most of the time. Hence the saying “cool as a cucumber”.
Cucumber skin tastes more earthy, but many people leave it out for its texture, taste, and health benefits. If cooked, the cucumbers wilt but retain a slight crunch.
How is a cucumber used in cooking?
Cucumbers are almost always eaten raw, in dishes such as salads, sandwiches, and raita. Cucumber salads often involve other vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, avocados, and red onions, along with an olive oil-based dressing with vinegar or lemon juice. Cucumbers are rarely cooked, except in some Asian dishes where some chefs don’t hesitate to cook cucumbers in stir-fry dishes.
However, cucumbers are even more versatile than that. Their cooling quality sometimes sees them added to juice or infused in water. This is why some varieties of cucumber are specially grown for pickling, such as pickles.
Top Health Benefits of Cucumbers:
Cucumbers contain an anti-inflammatory flavonol called fisetin, which appears to play an important role in maintaining good brain health.
Cucumbers contain lignans which help boost the immune system and have specific antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties.
Cucumbers contain a large number of antioxidants including vitamin C and beta-carotene. They also contain antioxidant flavonoids like quercetin, apigenin, luteolin, and kaempferol, which provide additional health benefits.
Cucumbers are rich in two of the most basic elements needed for a healthy digestive system – water and fiber. Adding cucumbers to your juice or salad can help cover the ideal amount of fiber your body needs – 50 grams per 1000 calories you consume.
Putting a slice of cucumber on your palate can help get rid of bad breath bacteria.
Selection and storage of cucumbers
The choice of cucumbers is determined by the fact that they are hard, with rounded edges, and their color ranges from light green to dark green. Cucumbers that are yellow, wilted, or wrinkled at the ends should be avoided.
These vegetables should be stored in the refrigerator, where they can be kept cool for several days.
It is recommended to use within a day or two, but you can usually store them for about a week in a colder refrigerator.
Cucumbers and other soft vegetables are sometimes treated with wax to protect them from injury during transport, which means they must be peeled before consumption.
Of course, if you have a source of local cucumbers, you can eat them with the skin on.
Culinary applications of cucumbers
Cucumbers are one of the most used products. They are among the most used vegetables for salads, in particular.
Small cucumbers (pickles) are used for pickling, making them one of the best appetizers.
Canned cucumbers are used in some dishes – mainly chicken, as well as some minced meat dishes.
Cucumber juice is used in diets, undiluted, or in combination with juice from other vegetables. Since cucumber juice does not have a very strong taste, it is often used only as an addition to various vegetable cocktails.
What is a zucchini?
Also cylindrical, dark green on the outside and pale on the inside, zucchini are often mistaken for cucumbers at first glance, and the two are related. The zucchini plant is also a type of squash but of the Cucurbita pepo species. It is a herbaceous plant, the same as pumpkins and squash.
Zucchini is a type of summer squash, meaning it is harvested immaturely, so the skin is still tender and edible.
How is a zucchini used in cooking?
More often than not, zucchini is cooked. It is usually grilled or baked with other vegetables such as eggplant, peppers, pumpkin, squash, and potatoes. Other popular recipes are ratatouille, donuts, and stuffed zucchini. It can also be used in treats similar to banana bread or carrot cake.
Raw zucchini sometimes appears in salads or julienned into strips to replace low-carb pasta. In the latter case, “zucchini” can also be boiled quickly.
Top Health Benefits of Zucchini:
You may be surprised, but zucchini is a delicious vegetable and suitable for your diet. They contain few calories, but at the same time leave a feeling of satiety.
Zucchini also has a high water content – 95%, which means you will be well hydrated. Also, if you suffer from constipation, you can eat zucchini more often because they are high in fiber.
Thanks to the abundant levels of manganese and vitamin C, they help keep the heart healthy. These vitamins also help prevent the oxidation of cholesterol, which builds upon the walls of blood vessels. Folic acid helps the body eliminate a dangerous metabolic byproduct called homocysteine, which can lead to heart attack and stroke if levels get too high.
Zucchini, in many ways, can help take care of our eyes. Like cucumbers, they are ideal for reducing puffiness and eyelid fatigue. Consuming them will provide you with good amounts of water, which will help eliminate excess fluid from the body and reduce bloating. These vegetables are high in carotenoids, like beta-carotene, which are important for eye health. Zucchini also has a good amount of vitamin A, which can help improve vision, but also reduce the risk of age-related degeneration.
Zucchini is rich in important nutrients such as manganese and vitamin C. When eaten, we not only get a good amount of dietary fiber, but also vitamin A, magnesium, folic acid, potassium, copper, and phosphorus. Zucchini is also a good source of important omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, niacin, and plant protein. B vitamins, calcium, and amino acids make them suitable for consumption by young and old, and especially pregnant women.
Selection and storage of zucchini
When choosing zucchini for culinary use, it is important to choose them in a good shape that is firm, smooth, and in good condition. Spotted zucchini with wounds and soft skin are deprived not only of flavor but also of their useful substances.
When choosing zucchini, the main indication that the vegetable is fresh is its prickly surface.
It’s best to choose medium to small zucchini because the larger ones have lots of seeds and in most cases are overripe and most likely taste bitter.
Zucchini only stay fresh for 2-4 days in a dry and airy place. If stored in the refrigerator, this period increases to 20 days, but it is important that they are placed in an airtight box or bag.
If you want to store fresh courgettes in the freezer, clean them first, cut them, and blanch them for a few minutes in salted water. Let them dry, store them in envelopes and freeze them.
Culinary applications of zucchini
Zucchini has a wide culinary application – they are eaten raw, grilled, roasted, boiled, and fried. They can also be stripped or rolled up into long noodles to make zucchini noodle dishes, a healthy alternative to heavy pasta.
Not only are zucchini good for savory meals, but they can also be used to make sweetbreads and cakes, from zucchini bread to zucchini brownies.
Young courgettes are the most suitable for all types of culinary purposes and are also the easiest to digest. In fact, the digestibility of zucchini depends on how they are prepared.
When boiled, they are easy to digest, while fried zucchini is more difficult to digest.
Cucumber vs Zucchini: what’s the difference?
Telling the difference between a zucchini and a cucumber could become a Chinese puzzle for some city dwellers. We are going to cover simple explanations in this article so that you can tell the difference once and for all. So take note and happy reading.
Similar in shape and color to cucumbers, zucchini has woody stems at one end and sometimes a flower at the other. These are the female flowers of the plant, which grow into a large golden flower and are sometimes eaten as well. Cut them and open them.
Zucchini and cucumber both have the same fishy flesh, but cucumber has a pale green hue, while zucchini is more of a creamy white. Cucumber seeds are usually visible in the middle of the fruit, while zucchini is smaller and blends into the flesh.
Cucumbers are usually hard, waxy and cold to the touch, while zucchini is warmer and more tender, with a slight roughness under the fingertips. Most cucumbers have a bumpy exterior, although some varieties, such as the smaller Lebanese cucumbers, have smooth skin.
If there’s any freshness and crunch, it’s probably a cucumber. Raw zucchini is bitter but well cooked, it becomes very crispy. This is not the case for the cucumber.
If cooked in a dish, it’s most likely a zucchini – cucumber is usually preferred raw or pickled.
In terms of calorie content, zucchini and cucumber are also light. 100 g of courgettes contain 17 calories, while a cucumber contains 15 with its skin and 12 without.
Courgettes are known to be a good source of vitamin C, however, they provide 29% of the recommended daily intake in 100g, as well as 10% of the recommended vitamin B6. They also contain essential minerals such as potassium, phosphorus, sodium, magnesium, calcium or copper. In addition, there are 9 vitamins.
The most nutrient-dense part of the cucumber is the skin, which contains fiber and the antioxidant beta-carotene. Cucumber also provides copper which is essential for tissue repair. Both vegetables also contain vitamin K, magnesium, and potassium. This helps blood to clot and builds bones.
Distinguish zucchini and cucumbers in a vegetable garden by observing their growth. Both have large, heart-shaped leaves, but zucchini protrudes from the plant stems, while cucumbers hang like grapes on a vine.
Zucchini vs Cucumber – Health impact and Nutrition Comparison
Sometimes it’s almost impossible to tell the difference between cucumber and zucchini. However, even with their almost similar shape, these two vegetables have points that allow them to be differentiated. Find out how to tell a cucumber from a zucchini.
|Taste||Bitter, Sour, Sweet, Fresh||bittersweet|
|Texture||Crunchy, crunchy, chewy||Chewy, soft, pasty|
|Advantages||Very good anti-inflammatory|
Remedy against hangovers
Vitamin C, vitamin A
|Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C
Potassium, Manganese Healthy
digestion Improves vision Reduces macular degeneration
Natural eye masks
Reduce cellulite Side
Natural remedy for sunburn
Excellent substitute for
Cooking recipes such as: Ratatouille, donut.
Baked, sautéed, grilled
Nutrition Facts: Zucchini vs Cucumbers
We’ve also included a table summarizing the nutritional value of zucchini and cucumbers:
|Per 100 grams||Zucchini||Cucumbers|
|Grams/mg||Daily Value-%||Grams/mg||Daily Value-%|
Vegetables are known to be healthy regardless of the age of the person consuming them. Thus, zucchini and cucumber are distinguished by their methods of preparation. The first must be cooked to be eaten as it should be. It can be sauteed, fried, stuffed, or even cooked as a soup. Generally, zucchini is more popular boiled, but you are free to do what you want with it as long as you do not eat it raw.
Conversely, the cucumber is excellent when it is raw and used in the composition of a salad. On the other hand, if you wish, you can cook your cucumber if you do not like the crispy side.