Stillwater News Press

Local Columnists

July 2, 2014

Farmers Market 07-03-14

The wonder of the cucumber

The Stillwater Farmers market is open every Monday at Stillwater Medical Center from 2-5:30 p.m. and every Wednesday and Saturday in Strickland Park from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. We are there rain or shine! The market is open Saturday.

What’s at market this week?

Fruits and veggies: Bell peppers, beets, blackberries, cabbage, cauliflower, carrots, collards, cucumbers,  eggplant, garlic, green beans, jalapenos, leeks,  new potatoes, onions, squash, sweet corn, tomatoes and turnips

Baked goods: Biscotti, cakes, cinnamon rolls, cookies, muffins, pies, scones and turnovers

Breads: Artisan, challah, cinnamon raisin, pepperoni cheese roll, rosemary, rosemary cheddar, rye, seven grain, sourdough, whole wheat, whole wheat cinnamon raisin and white

Eggs: Farm fresh eggs

Flowers and plants: A variety of herb plants and flower bouquets

Fresh cut herbs: Basil, dill, mints, oregano, parsley and sage

Jams and jellies: Apricot habanero, elderberry wine, lemon honey, sand plum and strawberry jalapeno

Meats: Beef and lamb

Santa Fe-style Mexican cuisine: Breakfast burritos, fresh and canned salsas, frozen tamales and enchiladas in a variety of flavors

Specialty items: Dog biscuits, goat milk soaps and lotions and honey

Cucumbers may be light in taste, but the benefits go above and beyond the humble appearance and mild flavor. The cucumber is a nutrient-packed fruit (yes, fruit!) that not only makes you healthier, but may also make your life a whole lot easier.

Highly nutritious, containing vitamin B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, folic acid, vitamin C, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and zinc, the cucumber is nearly entirely comprised of water (95 percent). But there is more to this fruit than nutrition alone. It has a variety of uses that you may never have imagined. The following five unusual uses for cucumbers will surprise you.

• Wards off pests: To prevent slugs and other pests from ruining your garden, plants place a few cucumber slices in an aluminum pie tin. Place the tin in the garden. The cucumber’s chemicals will react with the aluminum and create a scent that pests can’t bear. Humans are unable to detect the scent, so it’s a win-win method!

• Gets rid of cellulite: Cut a few slices of cucumber and rub them on areas of your body where you have cellulite. The phyto-chemicals in the cucumber tighten collagen, which reduces the appearance of cellulite and keeps your thighs and bum beach ready.

• Treats a hangover: After a boozy night, eat a few slices of cucumber before bed to avoid a hangover. Cucumbers contain sugar, B vitamins and electrolytes, which replenish your body and prevent your from becoming dehydrated and thirsty for nutrients.

• Kills bad breath: If you have no gum or mints to spare, no fear. Place a slice of cucumber and keep it pressed to the roof of your mouth for a minute. Chew and swish the cucumber around your mouth before swallowing. The phyto-chemicals kill the odor-causing bacteria and leave your mouth fresh.

Staves off hunger: Hungry but don’t want to take in excess calories? Cucumber’s water content will fill you up and hydrate you while also providing essential electrolytes. This helps you stay charged midday without a rumbling tummy. Better yet, one medium cucumber only contains about 50 calories.

Cucumber plants naturally thrive in both temperate and tropical environments, and generally require temperatures between 60-90 degrees.  For this reason, they are native to many regions of the world. Historically, the first cucumbers were likely to have originated in western Asia (and perhaps more specifically in India) or parts of the Middle East. Cucumbers are mentioned in the legend of Gilgamesh – a Uruk king who lived around 2500 B.C. in what is now Iraq and Kuwait. It was approximately 3,300 years later when cucumber cultivation spread to parts of Europe, including France. And it was not until the time of the European colonists that cucumbers finally appeared in North America in the 1500s.

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