By Rebecca Mullins, RHN
Cucumbers grow in abundance in our Northern Ontario summer gardens! They are wonderfully refreshing to eat and to use in beverages, and are also soothing and healing for our skin! Cucumbers may not come to mind as often as other veggies in terms of health benefits, but they actually provide us with a unique combination of nutrients. At the top of the phytonutrient list for cucumbers are – cucurbitacins, lignans, and flavonoids – which provide valuable anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer benefits.
Cucumbers are also an excellent source of anti-inflammatory vitamin K. They are a very good source of the enzyme-cofactor molybdenum, and a good source of free radical-scavenging vitamin C; heart-healthy potassium and magnesium, bone-building manganese, nail health-promoting mineral silica, and energy-producing vitamin B5. It is important to realize that both the peel and the seeds of cucumbers are rich in nutrients – in fact, it is significantly higher than the flesh.
Therefore, try to include them in recipes as often as possible. Cucumbers are not only edible, but they are also very soothing and softening for your skin. Resting with cucumber slices on your eyes helps to reduce puffiness.
- 1 cup Cucumber, peeled if necessary, roughly chopped
- ½ cup Strawberries, stems removed
- 1 Tablespoon Raw Honey
- ½ Teaspoon Sea Salt
- ¼ Teaspoon Baking Soda
- 1 cup Water
Blend all ingredients in a blender, pour into a glass as is or strain over ice. Cucumber Sticks with Tzatziki OR Honey-Mustard Dip Tzatziki
- ½ cup Plain Yogurt
- 1 cucumber, peeled if necessary, diced
- 1 Teaspoon Olive Oil
- 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
- 1 Tablespoon Fresh Dill, chopped (or 1 Teaspoon Dried)
- 2 cloves Garlic, peeled, minced
- Sea Salt and Pepper, to taste
Drain yogurt overnight through a cheesecloth. Mix all ingredients together. Transfer to a container, cover and refrigerate for at least one hour for best flavour.
- ½ Cup Plain Yogurt
- ¼ Cup Raw Honey
- ¼ Cup Grainy Mustard
- Sea Salt and Pepper, to taste
Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl. Serve cucumber sticks with either of the above dips.
Iced Cucumber-Lemon Soup
- 5 cucumbers, peeled if necessary, roughly chopped
- ½ cup of your favourite fresh herb (Mint, Dill, Cilantro, Basil or a combination)
- 2 whole green pnions, finely chopped
- ¼ cup lemon juice (from about 2 Lemons)
- 2 Teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
- 1 Teaspoon raw honey
- 2 cups Ice, crushed
- Sea salt and pepper, to taste
Put all ingredients (except ice, salt and pepper) into food processor or blender; process until smooth. Stir in crushed ice. Season with salt and pepper. Serve in chilled bowls. Cucumber-Kale Salad Dressing:
- 5/6 sun-dried tomatoes
- 3 tomatoes
- 1 Tablespoon raw honey
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup water
- 1 Teaspoon paprika and pepper, to taste
- 1 Bunch Kale,
- 2 Tomatoes,
- 5 Sun-dried Tomatoes,
- 1 Cucumber ,
- 1 Apple,
- Pumpkin Seeds,
To taste Blend all dressing ingredients in a blender. Set aside. Rip kale leaves into bite-sized pieces. Pour dressing on kale; toss until well covered. Slice tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, cucumber and apple into small pieces. Add to kale. Toss with walnuts, raisins and pumpkin seeds.
Cucumber Tea Sandwiches
• 2 Beets
• 1 Cucumber, peeled if necessary
• 1 Cup Pine Nuts
• 1 Tablespoon Nutritional Yeast
• ¼ Cup Water
• 2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
• ½ Cup Whole Green Onions, diced
• 1 Tablespoon Tarragon
• Sea Salt and Pepper,
To taste Slice beets and half of the cucumber into thin rounds; dice the other half. Put pine nuts, nutritional yeast, water, and lemon juice into food processor. Process until very well blended. Stir in green onions, diced cucumber and tarragon. Add salt and pepper. Make tea sandwiches by placing a dollop of processed mixture on top of beet or cucumber slice, covering with another slice.
Cucumber Skin Mask
- 1 Cucumber, peeled, roughly chopped
- 5 Mint Leaves, minced
- 1 Egg White
Mix cucumber and mint leaves together. Beat egg white until peaks form – add to cucumber/mint mixture. Apply evenly to face; leave on 20 minutes. Rinse with water; pat dry. Rebecca Mullins RHN is a North Bay-based Registered Holistic Nutritionist.