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13 Ways To Use Cucumbers

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13 Ways To Use Cucumbers

Ah the humble cucumber–it sits patiently in the crisper drawer while its flashier cousins are being scooped up and devoured for dinner. The cucumber just waits and waits in all of it’s watery, melon-tinged mild manner. Maybe someone will make some pickles, maybe Mom will slice off a few rounds for her tired eyes…but really, aside from pickles and eye treatments, what is a cucumber’s claim to fame?

Maybe it’s the spike in temperature here in the now-steamy Northeast, but I have been going gaga for cucumbers lately–I never knew how fond I could be of the fresh-tasting and cool, albeit sometimes lackluster, fruit. It’s been taking center stage in chopped salads, finding its way into dips, and providing the base of a number of chilled soups. But why stop there? The cucumber is really a pretty amazing piece of work, both in the kitchen and in the bathroom where it can perform a multitude of beauty tasks.

The flesh of the cucumber  is mostly water, but also contains ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and caffeic acid, both of which help soothe skin irritations and reduce swelling–these acids prevent water retention, which may explain why cucumbers applied topically are often helpful for swollen eyes, burns and dermatitis. Cucumbers are a great treat for the skin. They have the same pH as the skin so they help restore the protective acid mantle–they also possess hydrating, nourishing and astringent properties.

The skin of a cucumber is rich in fiber and contains a variety of beneficial minerals including silica, potassium and magnesium. The silica in cucumber is an essential component of healthy connective tissue, which includes muscles, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and bone. Cucumber juice is often recommended as a source of silica to improve the complexion and health of the skin, plus cucumber’s high water content makes it naturally hydrating—a must for glowing skin.

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Melissa Breyer

Melissa Breyer is a writer and editor with a background in sustainable living, specializing in food, science and design. She is the co-author of True Food (National Geographic) and has edited and written for regional and international books and periodicals, including The New York Times Magazine. Melissa lives in Brooklyn, NY.

707 comments

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12:30PM PDT on Apr 6, 2014

NIMUE P: Great Post. Growing up, our mums must have been neighbors. Don and WE CAN! :-))

5:41AM PDT on Apr 6, 2014

Love them! Thanks.

7:07PM PDT on Apr 5, 2014

My Mum used to make a salad with sliced tomatoes, sliced cucumbers, sliced onions and white vinegar. Simple but yummy! I just love my cucs! :)

3:25PM PDT on Mar 30, 2014

BEVERLY C: Good Post. My bride just made some the other day: refrigerator pickles. Don and WE CAN! :-))

1:30PM PDT on Mar 30, 2014

My mother used to fix them an "old-fashioned" way; however, they were delicious! She would peel and then cut into THIN slices - one cucumber; then she'd add a small thinly sliced onion; add vinegar and pickling spices and then refrigerate the mix for about an hour before "first" eating some....absolutely delicious (and healthy, since onion is also known for it's "inner cleansing" abilities.

I can almost see people making a face and maybe even saying, "Ew-w-w"; but trust me, it's goooood!!! lol TRY IT!

3:13PM PDT on Mar 20, 2014

Thanks.

9:38AM PST on Mar 7, 2014

Love cucumber, a good snack meal

5:37PM PST on Feb 23, 2014

Thanks for the post.

1:44AM PST on Feb 21, 2014

Thank you!!

7:45AM PST on Feb 9, 2014

Oops... My comment was cut off... Too long I guess, but people with toothaches need to hear this!

Well, basically the cucumber really took the pain away and made the toothache barely noticeable. I have been chewing on cucumber all day and now the pain is gone, like I never had a toothache in the first place. Obviously I still need to visit the dentist but who knows when I will get an appointment and at least I will get a good nights sleep tonight. I am also in a much better mood now because the toothache that I had was putting me in a foul, irritable mood.

So for anyone who has a toothache, you need to try chewing on cucumber, or putting cucumber over the sore tooth. If your teeth are sensitive to cold, like mine are, then wait until the slices warm up to room temperature first. It works wonders and I bet anyone who tries it will be amazed by how well the cucumber soothes a toothache. Plus it's much healthier for you than regular painkillers or codeine.

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