Do You Know Nutrition: Everything you need to know about burpless cucumbers

By Phylis Canion
July 23, 2013 at 2:23 a.m.

I love this season with all of the fresh vegetables, and I do love the taste of cucumbers, but like so many, I burp every time I eat any, even if I just take a small bite off the end of the cucumber. Then, I see burpless cucumbers, and I wonder what they have altered to make them burpless. Can I do anything different in my garden to make them burpless?

Cucumbers contain an organic compound called cucurbitacin. This bitter-tasting compound is the cause of the burping in so many individuals. Those you see in the market that state "burpless" have been bred to be cucurbitacin-free.

The more bitter the cucumber, the more one will burp, and sorry to say, the ends are always the most bitter and should be snipped off (at least one inch) prior to eating.

If a cucumber is bitter in the middle, it is best to be discarded, as neither cooking, pickling or any other process will remove the bitter taste. I would recommend always peeling the cucumber.

The bitterness of the cucumber is near the skin, not the skin itself, so peeling can help remove the bitterness. There are several ways in your garden to naturally help the cucumber be burpless.

One step is to mulch your cucumber bed with straw. Straw helps retain moisture, which leads to a sweeter cucumber by reducing the cucurbitacin. The second suggestion is to water your cucumber plants to a depth of at least 1 to 2 inches each time you water.

If you would rather not eat the cucumber, there are many other health benefits to the cucumber. You can protect your skin by using products that contain cucumber since they have anti-inflammatory ingredients to cool the skin (hence the saying - cool as a cucumber).

Remember the spa commercials that show someone snuggly wrapped in a towel with cucumbers on their eyes? That is because cucumbers have 90 percent water and relieve puffiness because of its moisture content.

Mirror fogging up in your bathroom? Rub a cucumber slice along the mirror.

Need a quick shoe shine? Rub a cucumber on it.

Looking for a green way to clean your tarnished faucet? Rub a slice of cucumber all over it and poof - done.

Of course, I could go on and on.

Thought for the week: We do not see things as they are; we see them as we are. -Talmud

Phylis B. Canion is a doctor of naturopathic medicine and is a certified nutritional consultant, e\mail her at This column is for nutritional information only and is not intended to treat, diagnose or cure.



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