The Bitter Cucumber & The Curse Of Curcurbitacin

This is an odd blog. It definitely has a different voice to it from when I first started four years ago, sans Instagram. I was alot more anxious, worried about pretty words and if my passages came off mysterious and descriptive enough. Now I’m alot more relaxed about what I write and today I choose to complain to you all about the bitterness of cucumbers. An odd mix in the thrall of tough love topics I have in my files waiting for you to read after this. I’ve often come to a frustrating conclusion as to why I end up with a bitter cucumber. Or cucumber(s) as they are often on sale at my superbly overpriced organic store, 3 for 99 cents. “What a steal!” I whisper under my breath, after taking a swift glance at the coupon section of the grocery newspaper. Okay I don’t actually say that but the thought has crossed my mind a few times every time I spot a bargain. So… I look at grocery newspapers. I’m quite the frugal person, as extra as I am with my pets for those that have known me for some time on Instagram.

I make a beeline towards the cucumbers. Past the succulent mangoes, its ripeness waft in the air catching my attention for a slight second. I could almost taste the sugar teasing my taste buds from the smell alone. Lemons for 50 cents. Small though, and probably more pulp to juice ratio. I’ve seen a giant lemon once, in Hawaii. Regret the chance I never took to taste that. Pineapples for sale! I’d have to watch a YouTube video on how to cut those, I’ve only gotten canned pineapples in my life so far because I’ve always found them to be too much work to cut and eat. Finally, I’ve reached my anointed destination. The cucumbers. The holy grail of my shopping trip today. I’m not the greatest at picking out the ripest fruits and veggies out of the bunch. Hence my first troubled encounter with the disappointingly bitter star fruit. An instagrammable favorite amongst acai bowl toppings. But when it comes to cucumbers, I have a bit more confidence. I take my time, picking up cucumber after cucumber, closely examining its body.

The perfect cucumber has a streamlined look. Firm but not mushy to the touch. If you find a cucumber with mushy ends, you’ve got a bad cucumber. Atleast in my book. No blemishes allowed. A deep, green brilliant hue with little to no markings is the prized look. Plump and full of delicious pulp under a thin layer of skin. Now all I have to do is find two more just like it because they are on sale today. Cucumbers are perfect with a bowl of rice. Don’t make fun of me. I’m unapologetically Asian. Cucumbers compliments dishes that are served with a side of crispy pork belly, marinated tri tip, or flaky salmon.  It can also be amazing served alone in a salad married off with tomatoes and chunks of avocado that’s doused with olive oil, fresh cracked peppers, sea salt, all topped with stir fried garlic. No I’m not a food critic, I don’t aspire to be one, but lately I’ve been having dreams about becoming a local guide for Google. I’ve been looking up fancy words to describe food, so it just seems like I’m a tad obsessed with cucumbers.

With all this time invested in driving to stores, looking at coupons, and carefully picking out cucumbers, I’ve been mildly to moderately disappointed in finding them to be bitter. It would actually shock me if they tasted good for once. I look at them, the bitter ones, with a different set of eyes. Once proud and enamored by its potential. Now a feeling of betrayal washes over me as I throw each one in the trash. At this point who returns cucumbers? Which reminds me that I actually told a grocery store clerk that I didn’t want a particular cucumber because it had mushy ends. She gave me a weird look and told me that there’s nothing wrong with it, “it looks normal.” With that burn, I decided not to ever put myself in the same type of situation by returning cucumbers. Discouraged, I turned to the internet for help. The origin of bitter cucumbers is not widely known knowledge, but if anyone knew about obscure, relatively unknown information, it’s Google and Google knows everything that I don’t know.

The reason why they are bitter is because they are rushed into production. Meaning they are forced to grow under unfavorable seasons. Think watermelons in the winter time. So I think you know by now that I’m a fairly artistic person who takes nice photos but deep down behind the facade of beautifully curated Instagram photos I’m a bit of an emotional weirdo. Kind of like that time when I felt bad for all the CGI dinosaurs in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. They aren’t real or alive but when they got hurt or died, I felt bad.  And I felt bad for these cucumbers, even the ones I had just thrown away. It wasn’t their fault they were born bitter. Have no fear though because I found out to get rid of the bitterness from cucumbers, you have to cut the ends and rub each one of them at the base until white stuff comes out. I know what you’re thinking because I’ve thought about it too.. cucumbers…rubbing..white stuff coming out after. Get your mind out of the gutter Karen I’m talking ’bouts cucumbers.

The white substance is actually curcurbitacin, the culprit and 3 for 99 cent money waster, for why my face makes an unattractive squishy look-which I can’t afford because I’m more prone to wrinkles more than ever before-the cause of cucumbers being nastily bitter. Maybe some of you guys knew about this “just the tips” tip but I didn’t. This was all new to me as of a few weeks ago. Apparently when you do this, it gets rid of the bitterness. However I must admit it does make it unappetizing to see white stuff come out of it but if it makes it taste good then I’ll try anything once. Thanks google. I can now rejoice in my love for cucumbers. Just saved you and I, 99 cents. If you read this far.