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Let’s start our section dedicated to flavors from the Quran with a vegetable that surprised us by history and potential: cucumber. This vegetable, made up of about 96% water, has always been fundamental for rehydration and skin care, turning into temptation for the Jews on their journey with Moses.
From India to the Mediterranean
Cucumber is native to India but has been cultivated in much of the world for around 3000 years, fascinated by its incredible capabilities. The vegetable was already known by Jews and Sumerians, so much so that it was mentioned both in the Bible and in the Gilgamesh epic, but it was the Greeks who first introduced it to Europe. In the Hellenic world it quickly acquired great fame and quickly became the backbone of many dishes of local cuisine, including the famous Tzatziki sauce.
However, the Romans were his greatest admirers. The emperor Tiberius was so fond of it that he made small special greenhouses built, woe to give up its flavor. The great love will then spread also in the East, becoming a real sacred symbol. Indeed, Shingon Buddhism provides a ceremony in which the faithful pray to spend the summer in good health like cucumber. Particularly that the practice is very ancient, so much so that it was even linked to the founder of this branch, Kukai, who lived before the year 1000.
Dreaming of Egypt
Cucumbers are mentioned in a very particular passage from the Koran, in which the Jews who fled together with Moses began to complain about the poor food conditions to which they were subjected during the journey. After so much pilgrimage in the desert, the desire to try past fruits and flavors becomes stronger and stronger, so you can enjoy these almost forgotten aromas.
Moses’ reaction will not be long in coming and is manifested in a strong and direct way. The prophet accuses his companions of being too weak to the pleasures of the flesh and too little to those of the heart, preferring (almost) a life spent in slavery, rather than waiting for the reward of his Lord.
Cucumbers, moisturizers more than ever
The demand for cucumbers, in particular, could be due to some of the properties of this vegetable, recognized even in the time of the pharaohs. The fruit is in fact made up of 96% water, which, after a journey of months in the desert, undoubtedly makes it one of the most sought-after foods to quickly recover energy and liquids. This property also connects with the incredible benefits it gives to the skin, especially in dry places such as Egypt and Judea.
In addition to the large presence of h2o, however, the large presence of: mineral salts, amino acids and vitamins C and K; the latter in particular performs a great anticoagulant function, elevating the plant to a sort of small desert panacea.
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