I visit a little circle of trees most mornings and my usual spot is often bathed in sunlight as the sun crests the ridge, only this morning, the sun, (or maybe the planet) had shifted, and so I moved to stand in a different spot, so I could still be in the circle, but also bathed in sunlight. It felt really strange to be there, instead of at my usual place. Everything looked different. And it felt as if that was the offering of the morning… as if the world was nudging me to try different perspectives on for size. To go stand somewhere different, to let myself see things differently.
What does this have to do with cucumbers?
Yesterday, someone shared this post on Facebook.
I am growing lemon cucumbers and they are literally the most fantastic things. Funny looking. A little bit prickly. Never bitter. I thought, because I grew cucumbers that don’t look like hothouse cucumbers or pickling cucumbers, that I already looked at cucumbers differently.
And then, hello mind expansion courtesy of random internet person.
Here are 13 (not fact-checked) things you might not have known about cucumbers. May it be useful. And if not, may it be a nudge to give yourself permission to see even the most commonplace ordinary thing differently, as full of potential you barely even can imagine.
1. Just one cucumber contains Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B6, Folic Acid, Vitamin C, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium and Zinc.
2. Feeling tired in the afternoon, put down the caffeinated soda and pick up a cucumber. Cucumbers are a good source of B vitamins and Carbohydrates that can provide that quick pick-me-up that can last for hours.
3. Tired of your bathroom mirror fogging up after a shower? Try rubbing a cucumber slice along the mirror, it will eliminate the fog and provide a soothing, spa-like fragrance.
4. Are grubs and slugs ruining your planting beds? Place a few slices in a small pie tin and your garden will be free of pests all season long. The chemicals in the cucumber react with the aluminum to give off a scent undetectable to humans but drive garden pests crazy and make them flee the area.
5. Phytochemicals in cucumber cause the collagen in skin to tighten, firming up the outer layer and apparently reducing the visibility of cellulite and wrinkles.
6. Want to avoid a hangover or terrible headache? Eat a few cucumber slices before going to bed and wake up refreshed and headache free. Cucumbers contain enough sugar, B vitamins and electrolytes to replenish essential nutrients the body lost, keeping everything in equilibrium, avoiding both a hangover and headache.
7. Looking to fight off that afternoon or evening snacking binge? Cucumbers have been used for centuries and often used by European trappers, traders and explores for quick meals to thwart off starvation.
8. Have an important meeting or job interview and you realize that you don’t have enough time to polish your shoes? Rub a freshly cut cucumber over the shoe, its chemicals will provide a quick and durable shine that not only looks great but also repels water.
9. Out of WD 40 and need to fix a squeaky hinge? Take a cucumber slice and rub it along the problematic hinge, and voila, the squeak is gone!
10. Stressed out and don’t have time for massage, facial or visit to the spa? Cut up an entire cucumber and place it in 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 in new mothers and college students during final exams.
11. Just finish a business lunch and realize you don’t have gum or mints? Take a slice of cucumber and press it to the roof of your mouth with your tongue for 30 seconds to eliminate bad breath, the phytochemicals will kill the bacteria in your mouth responsible for causing bad breath.
12. Looking for a ‘green’ way to clean your taps, sinks or stainless steel? Take a slice of cucumber and rub it on the surface you want to clean, not only will it remove years of tarnish and bring back the shine, but is won’t leave streaks and won’t harm you fingers or fingernails while you clean.
13. Using a pen and made a mistake? Take the outside of the cucumber and slowly use it to erase the pen writing, also works great on crayons and markers that the kids have used to decorate the walls!!
I don’t know if any of these claims are for real, and I tend to turn any excess cucumbers into refrigerator pickles (using this tried and tested recipe from four years ago, shared on this site, that I literally use every year, (thank you Kalmia!!), just refilling the jar full of brine with new cuke slices whenever I pick a new one.) But even as an exercise in generating 13 New Ways of Looking at a Cucumber, this feels inspiring.
(See also: 13 Ways of Looking at a Blackbird. )