Last weekend I had a rare Saturday morning free to myself. Since I almost never get to go to the farmer’s market as a patron, I decided to visit with my kids. While my husband worked our booth I wandered slowly (ignoring my whining child-anchors) and enjoyed samples of fresh produce, smelled the flowers and pet a few dogs.
At our friend’s organic farm booth I stopped to taste some fresh cucumbers they had out on a plate. They were delicious, crisp and sweet. I HAD to have some and it got me thinking about all the ways I would work them up for us to use this week. I knew I would HAVE to make my cucumber toner, the recipe I’m sharing with you in this post. I began to wonder how many people know how beneficial the cucumber (Cucurbita longa) can be. Here are some reasons you should grab up the cucumbers at your local market while they are available:
Six Uses for Cucumbers
Note: If you haven’t already tried, it’s easy to pickle your cucumbers.
Hot, dry eyes with discharge can be greatly soothed with the application of cucumber juice. This is the origin of the use of cucumber slices over the eyes at a spa. They act to reduce the redness in and around the eye.
A supreme skin soother after too much sun, the cucumber can be applied in a couple different ways. Either grind it up and apply the pulp directly to the skin, or juice your cucumber and repeatedly dab on with a soft cloth. (If you’re looking for sunscreen, check out our homemade sunscreen recipe.)
Puffiness, bloating, and water retention, regardless of the reason, can be greatly eased by eating cucumbers or drinking cucumber juice. The seeds have always been the focus for this use of the cucumber, so don’t go looking for the seedless varieties.
Summer Lung Congestion
Cucumber is cool energetically. It is actually one of the more obvious and easy to conceptualize when we talk about food having energy. We tend to feel cooler just having eaten a cucumber. This vegetable has been used for congestion in the lungs, but it tends to be best for “hot” congestion such as summer allergies.
As I said, cucumber is cooling. It can be very effective as a compress or poultice on the forehead or as a tonic that is taken internally to bring down a fever.
Cucumber for Acne, Rashes, Red Skin
Perhaps my favorite way to use cucumber is on my face! I use cucumber juice all summer long as a toner in my skincare routine. I make this toner for my herbal skincare classes throughout the summer and there are always oohs and aaahs. The cool feeling on a hot summer night before bed not only keeps my skin looking great, but also helps me sleep well.
Fresh Cucumber Toner Recipe
(Makes about 4½ ounces of astringent)
- ¼ c fresh cucumber juice
- 2 Tbsp distilled water
- 2 Tbsp witch hazel or vodka
Juice your cucumber, or alternatively, process it and put it through a strainer to isolate just the juice. Mix all the ingredients together. Pour into a clean bottle. This is fabulous when kept in the refrigerator!