If someone were to ask you to describe a cucumber using one adjective ‘refreshing’ may be the first word that comes to mind, because after eating a cucumber, one feels cooler and more energetic. Cucumbers may be a simple vegetable, but their health benefits are noteworthy. They’re full of flavonoids, lignans, and triterpenes—phytonutrients that offer anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant benefits. They are an excellent source of vitamin K (helps maintain healthy blood clotting), a very good source of vitamin B5 (helps make red blood cells), and a good source of biotin, copper, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, and vitamins B1 and C. That’s a lot of good stuff!
Here are some ways to enjoy cucumbers beyond the classic salad: use in gazpacho, mix up some tzatziki (a Greek sauce served as a dip or with grilled meats), and make refreshing cucumber and lemon water. You can even use cucumber for homemade beauty treatments. Apply slices of cold cucumber onto your eyes if they’re puffy or tired. Or you can make a cucumber mask by pureeing ½ of a peeled cucumber with 1 tablespoon of yogurt. Apply to face and leave on for 15 minutes. Rinse with cold water.
And for your next garden party or shower party, here is a recipe for cucumber tea sandwiches. They’re light, flavorful, and delightful.
Cucumber Tea Sandwiches
- 2 cucumbers, trimmed and seeded
- 12 slices white sandwich bread
- 6 ounces whipped cream cheese
- 1 ½ tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill
Cut each cucumber, crosswise, into 4 equal pieces. Cut each cucumber piece, lengthwise, into thin strips. Spread a thin layer of cream cheese onto each bread slice. Evenly place cucumber strips and dill atop 6 bread slices. Top with the remaining bread. Trim the crusts and cut into quarters. SERVES 6 TO 8