Nancy Szerlag is a master gardener and Metro Detroit freelance writer. Her column appears Fridays in Homestyle. To ask her a question go to Yardener.com and click on Ask Nancy.
Last week's podcast on Joe Lamp’l‘s website was “Get to Know Cucumber-Melons, an Alternative to Bitter Cucumbers”, which sent me on a web search to learn all about these fascinating historical fruits. The first record of their existence was 7OO AD.
Cucumbers contain a large number of nutrients, plant compounds, and antioxidants that may help treat and even prevent a variety of health conditions. They’re low in calories and contain lots of water and soluble fiber, making them ideal for promoting hydration, aiding digestion issues, and weight loss.
This summer I’m going to live on cucumber water. The health benefits are impressive and it’s a snap to make. It’s many health benefits, including hydration, weight loss, lowering blood pressure, and skin health. Just what I need when working in the garden in the heat of summer.
To a container of 8 cups of water add 2 thin sliced cucumbers and ½ tsp sea salt. Stir well and refrigerate for 4 hours. Keep refrigerated and use within 3 days. For additional flavor, add lemons, oranges, mint, basil, ginger, or your choice of berries.
Here are some other uses for cucumbers that may surprise you.
Stress: Add a add a cut up cuke or cucumber to a boiling pot of water – the chemicals and nutrients from the cucumber will react with the boiling water and be released in the steam, creating a soothing, relaxing aroma that has been shown the reduce stress. Also, cucumbers are a good source of B vitamins and carbohydrates that can provide a quick pick-me-up.
For gardeners plagued by slugs place a few slices of cukes in a small aluminum pie tin. The chemicals in the cucumber react with the aluminum to give off a scent undetectable to humans but drive garden pests crazy and makes them flee. Replace them weekly. I’m defiantly going to try this one.
To avoid a hangover or terrible headache, eat a few cucumber slices before going to bed and wake up headache free. Cucumbers contain enough sugar, B vitamins, and electrolytes to replenish essential nutrients the body lost, keeping everything in equilibrium, and avoiding both a hangover and headache!!
Cucumbers have been a food source around the world for centuries and were often used by European trappers, traders, and explorers for quick meals to thwart starvation. Make cucumbers your evening snack.
A slice of cucumber pressed to the roof of your mouth with your tongue for 30 seconds eliminates bad breath.
To read more about the fascinating history of the cucumber melon and find a source for their seeds visit Jay Tracey at The Cucumber Shop