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Cucumbers Aren’t Just for Eating

     For the last step to make sweet pickles, Husband and I layered cucumber slices and sugar in a four-gallon crock. By the next day, syrup formed and now a week later we have sweet pickles.  There’s nothing better than a cheese sandwich – grilled, toasted or plain – with Miracle Whip and sweet pickles made using my mom’s recipe. The only way Husband eats cucumbers is pickled, and I’m pretty sure if he could get the same flavor and crunch using something besides cucumbers, he would. I’ve eaten raw cukes since I was a kid when I sat in the middle of my family’s garden, picked them from the vine and ate them like an apple. A garden salad isn’t complete without cucumbers and cucumber sticks is a better sandwich side than chips. 

During the summer I buy cukes at Farmer’s Market, and after I learned they are nutritious – providing vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6 and C, zinc, potassium, iron, and calcium – and a natural anti-inflammatory for arthritis, I gave myself permission to buy them at the grocery store when growing season ends.

Cucumbers aren’t just for eating. Gardeningchannel.com lists twenty-seven weird ways to use cucumbers, including placing slices on your eyes to reduce puffiness.  Cukes have ascorbic acid which is an antioxidant that relieves water retention, the swelling around the eyes.   Those antioxidants also relieve sunburned and itchy skin; use thin cucumber slices or make a puree to spread over the affected area.

            A cucumber face mask, puree or juice, can rejuvenate and brighten the skin and some commercial skin care products use cucumbers’ natural oils for toning and hydrating. 

            To make metal shine, use cucumbers.  The stains on my stainless-steel sink are gone after I gave it a good scrubbing.  Even tarnish was removed from my sterling silver sugar spoon. Slice a cucumber and leave the skin on.  Rub the metal to coat with cucumber juice, then rub with the skin to clean. 

            I read that cucumbers are great for removing pen and crayon markings on a wall.  On heavy paper, it simply got the paper wet and smeared the markings.  It might work on a wall, but I didn’t try it.

Another suggestion was a way to reduce the appearance of cellulite.  A paste made of cucumber juice, honey, and ground coffee tightens the skin; I can’t imagine sitting still for 30 minutes with that concoction under a tightly wrapped cloth on my thighs.   

Eating cucumbers are supposed to cure headaches and hangovers.  Maybe caused by one too many cucumber martinis? The weirdest use of cucumbers is keeping slugs away.  Would a metal pan really make chemicals in cukes create a reaction to discourage a slug infestation?

If anyone looks up and tries some of these weird ways to use cukes, let me know.  I’m not wasting any more summertime cucumbers on experiments.  At my house, cucumbers are for eating straight off the vine or pickled. The pickle recipe is available at https://susanrray.com/recipes/