Cucumber

Cucumis sativus - L.

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Fruit; Leaves; Seed.

Edible Uses: Oil.

Fruit - raw or cooked. The cucumber is a common ingredient of salads, being valued mainly for its crisp texture and juiciness. However, it is very watery, with little flavour. Fruit can be available from mid summer until early autumn from outdoor grown plants. It can be peeled, scratced with a fork, and sliced into vinegar and a little sugar with tomato. Seed - raw. Rich in oil with a nutty flavour but very fiddly to use because the seed is small and covered with a fibrous coat. Young leaves and stems - cooked as a potherb. Oil from seed. Said to resemble olive oil, it is used in salad dressings and French cooking. The oil contains 22.3% linoleic acid, 58.5% oleic acid, 6.8% palmitic acid and 3.7% stearic acid.

Raw fruit peeled, sliced thin, served with vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper and calamansi makes a good vegetable side dish. Also boiled in stew dishes. Good source of calcium and iron, vitamins B and C.

Medicinal Uses

Aperient; Diuretic; Skin; Tonic; Vermifuge.

The leaf juice is emetic, it is used to treat dyspepsia in children. The fruit is depurative, diuretic, emollient, purgative and resolvent. The fresh fruit is used internally in the treatment of blemished skin, heat rash etc, whilst it is used externally as a poultice for burns, sores etc and also as a cosmetic for softening the skin. The seed is cooling, diuretic, tonic and vermifuge. 25 - 50 grams of the thoroughly ground seeds (including the seed coat) is a standard dose as a vermifuge and usually needs to be followed by a purgative to expel the worms from the body. A decoction of the root is diuretic.

The juice of the leaves is used as an emetic and the bruised root applied to wound swelling. Raw cucumbers are used for dysentery. Cucumber salve is used for scalds and burns. The seeds are used as taeniacide (1 - 2 oz of seed thoroughly ground, with sugar, taken fasting, followed in 1-2 hours with a purge).

 

Other Uses

Cosmetic; Repellent.

Cucumber skins have been shown to repel cockroaches in laboratory experiments. The fruit is applied to the skin as a cleansing cosmetic to soften and whiten it. The juice is used in many beauty products.

Cultivation details

Requires a rich, well-drained moisture retentive soil and a warm very sunny position. Cucumbers make good companion plants for sweet corn, beans and sunflowers, but they dislike growing with potatoes and aromatic herbs. The roots of cucumber plants secrete a substance that inhibits the growth of most weeds. Used in the manufacture of cucumber soap.