In season: All summer
Good for you: One large cucumber has just 45 calories and consists of 95 percent water, making it a low-calorie way to stay hydrated in the summer. (Free guide: Cut 500 calories a day) It has small amounts of nearly every vitamin and mineral. Plus, it’s a good source of fiber and bone-protecting vitamin K, with 62 percent of your Daily Value per unpeeled cucumber.
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Get the best: The most popular cucumber varieties are seedless English and Persian, which contain edible seeds. Choose firm, dark green cucumbers with a uniform shape. Some are coated in a thin wax to help them retain moisture; these will keep in the fridge for up to two weeks. Store unwaxed cucumbers tightly wrapped in plastic in the crisper for up to a week.
Video: Make the most of cucumbers and zucchini
Kitchen simple: Bittman likes to make a summer salad of sliced cucumbers and red onion, dressed in a mix of cider vinegar and dijon mustard. (Search: What are some more healthy summer salad recipes?) Or rehydrate after a hot summer run with a cucumber cooler: puree a peeled, chopped cucumber; strain the liquid into a glass, and add honey and lime juice to taste. Add water or seltzer and serve over ice with mint.
More: Healthy Recipes for Running Champions