A cucumber plant is a vine that grows the long, green gourds used to make pickles. Cucumbers are also commonly sliced and added to salads.
You may think of cucumbers as vegetables, but they are actually fruits, belonging to the melon family. Raw cucumbers are slightly crunchy and make a great addition to salads and sandwiches, but their flesh is too delicate for cooking. The phrase "cool as a cucumber," or calmly unruffled, comes from the plant's tendency to remain cool in the garden even on a hot day. Before the 18th century, they were known as cowcumbers.