8 Handy Uses for Cucumbers (That Don’t Involve Pickling)

Cucumbers aren’t just for pickling anymore.

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

Add a slice of cucumber to a summer 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.

Freshen Breath

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.

Shine Shoes

Buff shoes with a slice of cucumber for a quick, waterproof shine.

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.

Mellow Out

The scent of this produce will leave you cool as a cucumber.

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

Cucumbers add flair and subtle flavor to a glass of 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.

14 Responses

  1. Betseygal says:

    I planted (summer of 2013) ten (10) cuke plants. Wow, what a mistake! I had cucumbers coming out the zing-zang! llol. I made sweet pickle relish using 'Mrs. Wages sweet pickle relish packet. Delish… I also ate them raw in a salad,, I gave them to friends, neighbors, (seemed no one wanted to buy them even tho' I priced them cheaper than the local walmart stores), I gave sack fulls
    to Souls Harbor, Salvation Army, my local Fire Dept. firemaen, took to my church & gave away to the church folks, & still had nice long, healthy cucumbers. They just kept producing!! After three months, one gets tired of eating cucumbers (don't like pickles, been there, done that yrs ago), so this yr. I decided to plant less plants. BTW, these were seeds I purchased from Stokes
    Seed catalog, & the variety was called "Stonewall", in case anybody is interested, & no Stokes doesn't know I've posted this, & NO, I don't get paid for making this post!

  2. m. kukowski says:

    okay,this may be weird but…pull out the Mr.Potato Head pieces and parts,or Halloween pumpkin decor(ones that poke into the pumpkin to create faces) and let the kids design an interesting character. They love it!


About Mick Telkamp 


A former Midwesterner living in North Carolina, I write about my adventures in backyard chicken-keeping and suburban homesteading over at HGTVGardens, and my exploits in the culture of Southern cooking ...

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