The OTR channel has released a new episode of Sreda Obitaniya (“Habitat of Life”) show dedicated to one of the most popular vegetables in the country – cucumber. In the episode, the viewers could learn in detail how to grow, buy, and store cucumbers, as well as how to use those to make facials.
The show starts with a short overview in which the host Kristina Bovina reports that cucumber is the main crop grown in the greenhouses throughout the country. So far, Russia provides itself with these vegetables by 90 percent – modern greenhouse enterprises supply cucumbers to markets and supermarkets all year round.
The authors of Sreda Obitaniya talked to the employees of ECO-Culture company about the process of growing cucumbers in a greenhouse. The chief agronomist of the holding Liliya Tekhova told about the stages the crop undergoes before getting to the consumer’s table. A day before sowing, a special bio-preparation is implanted in the substrate in the form of mineral wool cubes. The purpose of this procedure is to protect plants from diseases of different nature and improve their immunity. The sprouts are placed on tables so that they do not overshadow each other – this crop requires even more lighting than tomatoes.
The most favorable conditions for the vegetable are high humidity, heat, and no draughts. The lamps of additional lighting are located both on the ceiling of the greenhouse and right next to the plants. A cucumber also needs 4 hours of “sleep” the time needed for the nutrients accumulated during photosynthesis to get evenly distributed throughout the plant. Cucumbers are only picked by hand, and it’s important to do it as carefully as possible to avoid damage to the fruit. After that, they move on to sorting and packing.
The head of the distribution center Olga Safonova described the process of packing vegetables. Long-fruit varieties are wrapped in thermoshrinkable material, which allows the fruit to breathe through microscopic holes and at the same time preserves its taste, health benefits, and consumer qualities. When it comes to the packaging of short and medium fruits, the “hot table” technology is used – cucumbers are manually placed on a tray and wrapped with plastic film.
The secrets of choosing the right cucumbers in a store or in a market were revealed to Kristina Bovina by Alexey Shemetov, the Vice President for Production of the agricultural holding.
According to him, it is best to buy domestic cucumbers – imported cucumbers make too long a way to the consumer to keep their freshness and health benefits. The thing is, any delicious cucumber requires enough light. This is what makes it sweet and juicy. In this regard, greenhouses are a perfect way to maintain the ideal conditions for vegetables, not only in terms of lighting but also other indicators such as climate and humidity conditions, the amount of micronutrients.
Right now, the most delicious cucumber hybrid is considered to be Atlet (previously, it was the Zozulya variety) – it is pollinated by bumblebees, which provides better taste and higher resistance to diseases. Another rule is to choose cucumbers with a “tail” as they stay fresh longer. In addition, cucumbers should be bought in packaging – this way, there’s a guarantee that no one has touched them before you, and it’s also better n terms of hygiene.
The further discussion touched upon the rules of storing vegetables, choosing cucumbers for pickling, “cucumber marketing”, cucumbers’ health benefits, and possible ways of using them for cosmetic purposes.