Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The mighty cucumber

My boss has been keeping me supplied with cucumbers for a couple of months now, and I have taken the seeds of some of the older ones and scraped them into a bowl.  I will let these ferment and dry out as this evidently is the best way to save cucumber and tomato seeds.  This creates a barrier that protects the seeds from fungus when they eventually start to grow. 
I planted a few of his seeds betwen my pigeon peas and so hopefully soon will have my own home grown cucumbers.  Heirloom seeds, that have been passed down from one generation to the next seem to adapt well to our climate and are quite disease and pest resistant.
I was forwarded this useful list - who knew the little cucumber could be so useful!  It came with no credits, so I am also posting it as I found it.  with thanks to the unknown person who compiled the list in the first place.

13 magical uses for cucumbers The humble cucumber is actually a little gem. And not just for its nutritional benefits...

1. Cucumbers contain most of the vitamins you need every day
Just one cucumber contains Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B6, Folic Acid, Vitamin C, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium and Zinc.

2. Feeling tired in the afternoon? Put down the caffeinated soda and pick up a cucumber
Cucumbers are a good source of B vitamins and carbohydrates that can provide that quick pick-me-up that can last for hours.

3. Tired of your bathroom mirror fogging up after a shower?
Try rubbing a cucumber slice along the mirror: it will eliminate the fog and provide a soothing, spa-like fragrance.

4. Are grubs and slugs ruining your planting beds?
place a few slices in a small pie tin and your garden will be free of pests all season long. The chemicals in the cucumber react with the aluminum to give off a scent undetectable to humans but drive garden pests crazy and make them flee the area.

5. Looking for a fast and easy way to remove cellulite before going out or to the pool?
Try rubbing a slice or two of cucumbers along your problem area for a few minutes. The phytochemicals in the cucumber cause the collagen in your skin to tighten, firming up the outer layer and reducing the visibility of cellulite. Works great on wrinkles too!

6. Want to avoid a hangover or terrible headache?
Eat a few cucumber slices before going to bed and wake up refreshed and headache free. Cucumbers contain enough sugar, B vitamins and electrolytes to replenish essential nutrients the body has lost, keeping everything in equilibrium, and avoiding both a hangover and headache!

7. Looking to fight off that afternoon or evening snacking binge?
Cucumbers have been used for centuries and often by European trappers, traders and explorers for quick meals to thwart off starvation.

8. Have an important meeting or job interview and you realize that you don't have enough time to polish your shoes?
Rub a freshly cut cucumber over the shoe. Its chemicals will provide a quick and durable shine that not only looks great but also repels water.

9. Need to fix a squeaky hinge?
Take a cucumber slice and rub it along the problematic hinge, and voila, the squeak is gone!

10. Stressed out and don't have time for a massage, facial or visit to the spa?
Cut up an entire cucumber and place it in a boiling pot of water. The chemicals and nutrients from the cucumber with react with the boiling water and be released in the steam, creating a soothing, relaxing aroma that has been shown the reduce stress in new mothers and college students during final exams.

11. Just finished a business lunch and realize you don't have gum or mints?
Take a slice of cucumber and press it to the roof of your mouth with your tongue for 30 seconds to eliminate bad breath. The phytochemcials will kill the bacteria in your mouth responsible for causing bad breath.

12. Looking for a 'green' way to clean your taps, sinks or stainless steel? Take a slice of cucumber and rub it on the surface you want to clean; not only will it remove years of tarnish and bring back the shine, but it won't leave streaks and won't harm you fingers or fingernails while you clean.

13. Using a pen and made a mistake?
Take the outside of the cucumber and slowly use it to erase the pen writing. Also works great on crayons and markers that the kids have used to decorate the walls!

Wow!  I better go out and plants some more seeds........


  1. That sounds amazing! I'll have to try some of those / gittan

  2. WHAT?!??! So many uses...I had NO idea. I've always been a cuce fan (use them on my eyes constantly, and enjoy their fresh flavor) but this sends me over the edge. I'll never be without one again!!!

  3. Gillian,
    The cucumber is one of my favorites. I have them growing vertically in containers here. Good for you for using the heirloom seeds. Hope they do well for you.
    I found an article about the luffa that you might like since you grow them.
    The article index on the left of the site has lots more good reads.

  4. Gittan and Kimberley - yes I too was amazed at how many uses there were for the humble cucumber. One of my favourite ways is chopped up in my own homemade yoghurt with chopped fresh mint. Yumm. Thanks sanddune for that link, I have bookmarked it - it looks very interesting. I still have not tried to peel mine, but that article says to peel with a knife - I might try that, picking the thin skin off in little pieces sounds quite mind numbing.... mmmm maybe a form of meditation!

  5. Hmm, interesting. Maybe i will try cucumbers again! I like the idea of planting with pigeon pea--have you tried it before? PP are new for me, my first plants are 1 yr old. Any idea how long they last? Just got my first loofah too!

  6. Hi liz, no I had never even seen pigeon pea before, and it is probably a good thing as I would have been hesitant to plant something so tall! I did read a note that someone had used the branches as stakes, so should have guessed. I really like them though - at the moment I have planted out some seeds and the overhanging branches are protecting them from heavy rains and strong sunshine. I will cut them back as the weather cools down, and the seedligns grow. I think I will have to weave some smaller branches or string acrosss the row of branches for the cucumber to climb. I have seen a few pp flowers, but no peas yet - they are a perrenial though so should last for years. Did you get a crop the first year?


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