REFLECTIONS: Getting to know all about cucumbers

By Jack Batdorff Pioneer
Group Chairman

Ok already!

I feel a little Heloise coming on today!

See, with the weather getting set to turn funky, I decided this would be a good day to go clean out my garden … and I have a LOT of cucumbers.

Like: prolific, a multitude, many varieties, etc. etc.

Now, in all fairness, I like cucumbers. All kinds: pickled or plain … tiny, small, regular or humungous.

And I particularly LOVE lemon cucumbers!

I know. I know. Even OUR ex farm boy, John Norton (the publisher of The Pioneer and who knows ALMOST everything there is about farming and crop type thingys) had never heard of lemon cucumbers.

So, when the farmer’s market was open this last Friday, I broke down and actually spent a buck on him for three GREAT lemon cucumbers.

Since this is a Sunday, and I’m trying to get this baby written now, by the time I send this off to my editors I won’t have gotten a reply from him yet. (I can still see his face when he asked the cucumber seller how to eat them. The reply was simple: “Like an apple, naturally!”)

My gut reaction is he’ll be hunting for lemon cucumber seeds next spring!

Now, back to the gist of this story.

As I didn’t know a heck of a lot about cucumbers … other than how much I enjoyed eating them … I thought I’d Google the critters and see what I could find.

And as my fingers starting reaching for the keys, my e-mail message came on … and low and behold … (Yes, John, there IS a Cucumber Fairy) I received a message from friend Emily Jasperse of Hastings … and it was (guess what) “Prepare to be Educated about Cucumbers.”

Now…is that fate, or what?

So, you lucky folks, guess what you’re going to be learning about today?

And trust me, after reading this, I just KNOW all you non-veggie growers are going to make cucumber seeds scarce on the market next Spring!

  • Did you know that cucumbers contain most of the vitamins you need every day? Just one cucumber contains your day’s equivalent of Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B6, Folic Acid, Vitamin C, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorous, Potassium and Zinc!
  • Feeling tired in the afternoon? Put down the caffeinated soda and pick up a cucumber. Cucumbers are a good source of B Vitamins and Carbohydrates that can provide that quick pick-me-up that can last for hours.
  • Tired of your bathroom mirror fogging up after a shower? Try rubbing a cucumber slice along the mirror. It will eliminate the fog and provide a soothing, spa-like fragrance.
  • Are grubs and slugs ruining your planting beds? Place a few cucumber slices in a small aluminum pie tin and your garden will be free of pests all season long. The chemicals in the cucumber react with the aluminum to give off a scent undetectable to humans but drive garden pests crazy and make them flee the area.
  • Looking for a fast and easy way to remove cellulite before going out…or to the pool? Try rubbing a slice or two of cucumbers along your problem area for a few minutes. The phytochemicals in the cucumber cause the collagen in your skin to tighten, firming t up the outer layer and reducing the visibility of cellulite. Works great on wrinkles, too!
  • Want to avoid a hangover or terrible headache? Eat a few cucumber slices before going to bed and wake up refreshed and headache free. Cucumbers contain enough sugar, B vitamins and electrolytes to replenish essential nutrients the body lost, keeping everything in equilibrium, avoiding both a hangover and headache!
  • Looking to fight off that afternoon or evening snacking binge? Cucumbers have been used for centuries … and often by European trappers, traders and explorers … for quick meals to thwart off starvation.
  • No time to polish your shoes? Rub a freshly cut cucumber over the shoes, its chemicals will provide a quick and durable shine that not only looks great, but also repels water!
  • Use a pen and make a mistake? Take the outside of the cucumber and slowly use it to erase the pen writing. This works great also on crayons and markers the kids have used to decorate the walls.
  • Out of WD40 and need to fix a squeaky hinge? Take a cucumber slice and rub it along the problematic hinge and voila … the squeak is gone!
  • Stressed out and no time for a massage, facial or spa visit? Cut up an entire cumber, place it in a boiling pot of water and the chemicals and nutrients from the cucumber will react with boiling water and be released in the steam … creating a soothing, relaxing aroma that has been shown to reduce stress in new mothers … and college students during final exams!
  • No gum or mints? Take a slice of cumber and press it to the roof of your mouth with your tongue for 30 seconds. Bad breath is eliminated … as the phytochemicals will kill the bacteria in your mouth responsible for causing bad breath.
  • Finally: looking for a ‘green” way to clean your faucets, sinks or stainless steel? Take a slice of cucumber and rub it on the surface you want to clean. Not only will it remove years of tarnish and bring back the shine, it won’t leave streaks and won’t harm your fingers or fingernails while you clean!

Wow! I’m impressed! Thank you Emily for sending the Cucumber Fairy my way!!

This next little piece was sent to me by another friend, Kelly Quinn, a few years back … and just resurfaced in time to be reprinted in this column!

The subject is “Chartered Flights.”

His request approved, the news photographer used a cell phone to call the local airport to charter a flight.

He was told a twin engine plane would be waiting for him at the airport.

Arriving at the airfield, the anxious photographer spotted a plane warming up outside a hanger and he jumped in with his gear, slammed the door shut and shouted “Let’s go!”

The pilot taxied out, swung the plane into the wind and took off.

Once in the air, the zealous photographer instructed the pilot, “Fly over the valley and make low passes so I can take pictures of the fires on the hillsides.”

“Why,” asked the pilot.

“Because I’m a photographer for Associated Press,” he responded. “And I need to get some close up shots!”

The pilot was strangely silent for a moment. Finally he stammered, “So, what you’re telling me is…you’re NOT my flight instructor?”

Thank you Kelly … and now I suddenly remember why I worked for United Press International and not AP! Ha!

Have a super weekend, back in seven … I hope!

Jack Batdorff is the chairman of the Pioneer Group. E-mail him at jbatdorff@pioneergroup.com.

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