Americans are huge fans of the cucumber.
They’re enjoyed fresh and crisp as an ingredient in a summer salad or perhaps, my favorite, standing alone with a balsamic vinaigrette; maybe with a few thinly sliced onions and topped with cracked black pepper. Either way the cucumber is a summer mainstay as well as the number 4 cultivated vegetable in the world.
An ancient plant, the cucumber has been with us since biblical times. Originating in Asia (India), it was probably introduced to the rest of Europe through trade with the Romans and Greeks. Today it’s grown on every continent with China as the number one producer of the fruit. The United States is number five.
As both a vining or bush variety in the urban garden, cucumbers are a source of fiber and rich in vitamins A, B1, B6, C, D, Folate, Calcium, Magnesium and Potassium. But it doesn’t stop there. They are a natural health tonic with an assortment of phytonutrients and electrolytes.
Did you know that a cucumber slice can be used topically to sooth swelling under the eyes and relieve sunburn, inflammation and eczema? Fresh slices can be rubbed on the body to tighten collagen in the skin and remove cellulite.
Cucumbers are also a great source for the mineral, silica, a necessary component for healthy connective tissue, aka muscles, skin, ligaments, cartilage and bone. Also, being comprised mostly of water, they hydrate the skin, joint and muscle tissues as well.
They are an effective retard of anti-inflammatory ailments and recently have been shown to reduce the risks of cardiovascular disease as well as breast, uterine, ovarian and prostate cancers.
Need WD40? Not anymore. Instead, rub a squeaky hinge with a fresh cucumber slice to stop the noise.
Made up mostly of water, cucumbers aid in weight loss and digestion, help control blood pressure and can reduce the discomfort of hangovers.