How’s your garden doing? I’m having a pretty good year in the yard. Some yellow squash and zucchini, plenty of green beans. Not as many tomatoes as I’d like yet, but there’s still time. And then there’s cucumbers. I’m not sure what special ray of sunshine has smiled on the cucumber plants, but the harvest has been prodigious.
The pickles have been put up, cucumber salad is served with practically every meal and sliced cucumbers are the preferred snack these days and still the cucumbers pile up on the counter. What’s to be done with our most plentiful resource?
It turns out cucumbers are good for more than pickling. We’ve found some creative ways to put the plentiful produce to use around the house. Some are novel, but not especially practical. Others have quickly become part of the daily routine in a house wrangling a serious supply of cukes this summer.
Got a cucumber surplus this summer? Here are eight handy ways to put cucumbers to use once the pickles have been processed.
Reduce Puffy Eyes
The idea of cucumber slices placed over the eyes for 10 or 15 minutes to get rid of dark circles has become a cliche, but it also happens to work. The moisture, cooling property and antioxidants in cucumber will take care of those bags and leave you refreshed and rejuvenated.
Beat a Hangover
Cucumbers are a great way to hydrate, they also have the electrolytes, sugar and vitamins that will help keep a hangover at bay. Chomp on a cucumber or two before going to bed after an evening of adult beverages to avoid morning regret.
Garnish a Cocktail
Speaking of cucumbers and drinking, they make a refreshing addition to summer cocktails like Bloody Marys, Pimm’s Cups or Gimlets. Unlike defogging the bathroom mirror (see below), this has become a standard cucumber deployment at our house this summer.
Eating cucumbers (and other crunchy veggies) increase saliva production, washing away bacteria that cause halitosis. For a quick breath freshener, skip the gum. Just hold a cucumber slice in your mouth for about 30 seconds, chew and swallow.
Need to give your shoes a quick buff? Rub those patent leathers with a slice of cucumber to give them sheen.
Defog a Mirror
Rubbing a fresh cucumber slice on the surface of the mirror will keep it from fogging up during a hot shower. It works, but I admit I’m unlikely to keep a supply of cucumbers under the vanity.
Cucumber is commonly used in aromatherapy as a stress reliever. The scent of cucumber is naturally calming and, when combined with licorice root, is also said to be an aphrodisiac. Slice a cucumber and place it in a pot of boiling water to fill the house with the soothing scent of this versatile veggie.
Make Cucumber Water
Skip the lemon wedge and drop a slice of cucumber to drinking water to add light, refreshing flavor and give a glass of water distinctive summer style.
Did you know? Cucumbers are part of a plant family called cucurbits. See cucumbers and their cousins in the gallery below.