Technically, cucumbers are a fruit because they contain seeds for reproduction, but typically cucumbers are grouped with veggies due to their use. Cucumbers belong to the same family as watermelon, zucchini, pumpkin, and other types of squash. Varieties of cucumber grown to be eaten fresh are more commonly known as slicing cucumbers. Cucumbers used to make pickles are typically smaller varieties than slicing cucumbers.
Although less nutritious than most fruit and vegetables, a fresh cucumber is still a very good source of the vitamin C and the mineral molybdenum. It is also a good source of vitamin A, potassium, manganese, folate, dietary fiber and magnesium and contains compounds called sterols, which have been shown to lower cholesterol in animals. The heaviest concentration of sterols is in the skin of the cucumber, so you shouldn’t remove the peel before eating. The flesh is primarily composed of water but also contains ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and caffeic acid, both of which help soothe skin irritations and reduce swelling. Cucumber skin is rich in fiber and contains a variety of beneficial minerals including silica, potassium and magnesium. Do not store cucumbers near fruits, since many fruit surfaces may contain ethylene gas to enhance ripening and looks. This will cause cucumber seeds to become hard.
Cucumbers have the highest water content of any vegetable and have only 13 calories per 3-1/2 ounce serving. Cucumbers are a great digestive aid and have a cleansing effect on the bowel. With just a handful of calories per cup, cucumbers have always been the dieter’s dream. Cucumbers are natural diuretics used to help lose weight!
Rubbing a slice of cucumber on wrinkles or cellulite for a few minutes causes the collagen in your skin to tighten. Sliced cucumbers release water and can be used to moisturize the skin. Sliced cucumbers placed on the eyes is a common remedy for wrinkles.
You can help ease the possibility of a hangover by eating some slices of cucumber before going to bed. Cucumbers contain enough sugar, B vitamins, electrolytes to replenish essential nutrients, keeping everything in equilibrium avoiding both a headache and a hangover.
Soak slicing cucumbers (after peeling) in salt water before slicing to suck some of the moisture out of the cucumber. Sliced cucumbers leak water when sliced.
That super unnatural shine that is on store bought cucumbers is a thin layer of wax for preservation. (Ugh!)
After a stressful day, cut up a cucumber and place it in a pot of boiling water. The chemicals and the nutrients of the cucumber will react with the boiling water and will be released in the steam, providing a relaxing aromatherapy.
Rubbing a cucumber slice on your bathroom mirror will eliminate the fog and leave a spa-like scent. Cucumbers are a green way to clean your faucets, sinks or stainless steel. Take a slice of cucumber and rub it on the surface you want to clean, removing tarnish without streaks.
At work, cucumbers come in handy, too. If you don’t have gum or mints you can take a slice of cucumber, press it to the roof of your mouth for 30 seconds to eliminate bad breath. The phytochemicals will kill the bacteria in your mouth causing bad breath. If your shoes need a quick polish, rub a freshly cut cucumber over the surface of a shoe and rub out, for a durable shine that also repels water.
In the garden, a few cucumber slices in a small pie tin will keep the slug and snail population down in your garden. The chemicals in the cucumber react with the aluminum and give off a scent that will drive them from the area.
Rubbing a squeaky hinge with a cucumber slice is a quick and easy lubricant.
Ulysses S. Grant, soldier and U.S. President, was so passionate about cucumbers that he often made a complete meal of nothing but sliced cucumbers and coffee.
BTW: The title of this post is actually the word Cucumber in three different languages: English, German and Swahili!
A man walks into a doctor’s office. He has a cucumber up his nose, a carrot in his left ear and a banana in his right ear. “What’s the matter with me?” he asks the doctor. The doctor replies, “You’re not eating properly.” (This was the cleanest cucumber joke I could find! )