Who would have thought a Cucumber is so Helpful
A little about the simple cucumber
I suppose everybody knows what a cucumber is and most people will eat this vegetable on a regular basis. Until recently I was not aware of its multiple facets and that is why I would like to tell you about it.
The cucumber grows on creeping vines and originally came from South Asia. This vegetable has been cultivated for more than 3000 years. It is mentioned that people of ancient Ur had cucumbers as food. Also Pliny the Elder refers to the Italian fruit and describes the many varieties existing. It seems that the Romans used the cucumber for scorpion bites, bad eyesight and midwives would carry cucumbers until the child was born.
Nowadays you can buy cucumber nearly everywhere be it the type for slicing like in your salads or the other one mainly used for pickling. Then there is also the type which has no seeds.
Is it really a vegetable?
We all think of cucumber as a vegetable when actually it is classified as a type of botanical berry as it has a hard outside rind and no internal divisions, similar to the tomatoes or squash. The cucumber is very low in calories, only 16 kilo-calories on 100 gram of raw cucumber with the peel. It has quite a few nutrients and is an excellent source of vitamin k, providing up to 16% of the recommended daily allowances of this vitamin.
In old times in the south of Spain, a man leading a donkey would visit the villages. On the donkey’s side were hanging big earthenware jars in which extra virgin olive oil was being kept. This oil had quite a bit of vitamin K. Good olive oil has a strong smell and is dark yellow or light green. When modern times started people switched over to margarine and sunflower oil and started to suffer illnesses which were unheard of before.
As we have turned away from nature we normally do not get enough of vitamin K, therefore if you do not have a good source of virgin olive oil, the cucumber can help you out.
Celebrating this cucumber
There exists an unusual ceremony which is the blessing of the cucumber. In the summertime when the temperatures rise in the Shingon Buddhist temples in Japan, this blessing is taking place. The priest and the faithful pray they may come out of the hot summer season as fresh as a cucumber. I saw a picture of the temple where a table had a big pile of cucumbers laying there for the ceremony. I rather like this unusual story.
Some interesting ways to use the cucumber
I read some little-known facts about cucumbers and how they may help in your daily life so I would like to share this with you.
Instead of drinking a soda pop when you start feeling tired how about eating or juicing some cucumbers? They are a much better alternative and will pep you up for quite some hours. Cucumbers have little sugar and the effect is better for your health than a man-made juice.
After a party with too much alcohol instead of taking an Aspirin before going to bed try to eat a few slices of cucumber. By the next morning, you will realize you have no hangover or a headache. Cucumbers have enough sugar, B vitamins and electrolytes to compensate for the lost nutrients.
Another great use of cucumber is when after a meal you realize you do not have a gum or mints. Stick a slice of cucumber to the roof of your mouth. Keep it there for 30 seconds and the phytochemicals will have killed all the bacteria which causes you to have bad breath.
There are also some clever tips for your house
If you have decided to go green as much as possible you will for sure like this. Instead of using some chemical to clean your faucets, sinks and stainless steel surfaces how about trying cucumber. Take a slice to remove the tarnish and it will make everything shine and at the same time is kind to your fingernails. Also, the water which one uses for rinsing will not contain harmful chemicals so you are doing something good for the environment.
Have you ever been irritated by a squeaky hinge? Now there is an easy solution to this problem. Just take a piece of cucumber and rub it on the hinge, you will be surprised when the squeak has gone.
A big help for your vegetable garden
Here comes a nice tip for you gardeners. If you have a” green” vegetable garden slugs and grubs can ruin your crop. As we do not use pesticides what can one do instead? You take a small pie tin in which you put a few slices of cucumber. Your vegetable garden will be free of pests all season long. It seems that the chemicals in the cucumber react with the aluminum and so gives off a scent which we cannot smell put drive all unwanted critters crazy, so they stay away. I personally like this as one does not kill the slugs or grubs, neither does one poison them which is good as they are a food source for other animals.
There is a lot more to the cucumber then one originally might have thought
Cucumbers contain a lot of beneficial things which only lately have been discovered by science. Cucumbers contain 3 types of Phytonutrients, Cucurbitacins, Lignans, and Flavonoids.
They have an important role in our body as they fight oxidation, inflammation and are also helpful in the battle against cancer. The list of vitamins is quite long. Cucumbers contain vitamin K, molybdenum, pantothenic acid, potassium, phosphorus, copper, manganese, vitamin C, vitamin B1, biotin, and magnesium.
After reading this post you might want to grow your own cucumbers. Here is a nice and practical video of how to grow them vertically, like that you save a lot of space. No need to say that if you grow your own cucumbers you will not be confronted with this vegetable with a plastic layer put on. That is done so the vegetable stays fresh longer but it does mean you cannot use the peel. Grow your own organic cucumbers, like that you know what you are eating.
Source: Wikipedia and Wikivoyage
Photo Source: Pixabay