Cool as a cucumber

Posted on January 12, 2013

pic_cucumbers1These tips, pre being Tori-fied, featured in The New York Times a few weeks back and were sent to me by my mum. Who knew that the amazing cucumber had so many uses? Add to this the fact that they are super cheap (lots grown here in the UAE), fabulously good for you (high water content and practically calorie-free) AND they are one of the few things that I never burn (for the simple reason that they don’t require cooking) … and it suddenly seems a no brainer that we have them as a staple in our kitchens.

  • 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
  • Cucumbers are the perfect pick-me-up when tired thanks to their abundant measures of B vitamins and carbs … plus a far better-for-you option than a diet Coke or Massimo Americano (note to self) … just chop into sticks, add a dip and you’re ready to crunch
  • Tired of your bathroom mirror fogging up when lingering in the shower? Simply rub a cucumber slice along the mirror to eliminate all fog and provide a soothing, spa-like fragrance
  • Got a garden and finding too many grubs and slugs ruining your planting beds?  Place a few cucumber slices in a small tin and it will be free from pests all season long.  The chemicals in the cucumber react with the aluminium to give off a scent that is undetectable to humans but drives garden pests crazy and makes them flee
  • Fed up of catching sight of too much orange peel lurking beyond that cute bikini? Try rubbing a slice or two of cucumber around the 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.  Apparently this works a treat on wrinkles too …
  • Want to avoid a hangover or terrible headache?  Eat a few cucumber slices before going to bed (alone and not as part of a giant drunken shawarma or drive-through burger joint) and wake up refreshed and headache free.  Cucumbers contain enough sugar, B vitamins and electrolytes to replenish essential nutrients the body lost, keeping everything in equilibrium and thereby avoiding even the most wicked of hangovers
  • Looking to fight off that afternoon or evening TV binge?  Cucumbers have been used for centuries by European traders and explorers as quick meals to thwart off starvation. Admittedly, they don’t have quite the lure of Haagen Dazs or a bag of mint M&M’s but still, add a healthy dip or some hummus and convince yourself …
  • Late for a job interview and realise you can’t see the reflection in your shoes? No problem – just rub a freshly cut cucumber over the leather. Its chemicals will provide a quick and durable shine that not only looks great but also repels water
  • Out of WD 40 and need to fix a squeaky hinge?  Take a cucumber slice, rub it along the problematic hinge, and voila, the squeak is gone!
  • Stressed out and don’t have time for a massage, facial or spa trip?  Cut up an entire cucumber and place it in a boiling pot of water. The chemicals and nutrients from the cucumber react with the boiling water, creating a soothing, relaxing aroma guaranteed to reduce stress and help you find your inner zen
  • Looking for a ‘green’ way to clean stainless steel in the kitchen?  Take a slice of cucumber and rub it on the surface you want to clean. It’ll remove years of tarnish, bring back the shine and won’t dry out your latest mani in the process
  • Using a pen and make a mistake?  Take the outside of the cucumber and slowly use it to erase the pen writing. This also works great on crayons and markers that the kids have used to decorate the walls!

Who knew?  I think the humble cucumber just rose remarkably through the ranks from a boring salad constituent to being cool as …

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