Ah, as elsewhere, a member of the squash family finds itself press ganged by lonely men into a sex toy. Sigh!

Oh well. Let them think what they will. On to food.

Although there are many types of cucumber, the most common ones in my part of the world are the thicker-skinned smooth cucumber and the seedless English cucumber, plus smaller thick-skinned pickling cucumbers in the fall. Be careful of the thicker-skinned smooth ones; they are often coated with wax, and must be peeled. The English ones, tightly swathed in plastic which can be annoyingly difficult to remove, are not waxed, so I buy those. Then I can leave the attractive skin on, perhaps scoring it by dragging a fork down its length to create a nifty striped pattern.

I learned a quick and easy cucumber salad in Thailand which I'd like to share with you. What you'll need:

In a small pot, combine the vinegar, water, sugar, and salt, and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down and simmer for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, add the chili, and let cool. When ready to serve, toss with the cucumber (and peanuts and cilantro, if adding). Don't add the cucumber until the last minute, however, or it will get soggy.

In Thailand this is eaten with satay and peanut sauce or with fish cakes.

Cucumber - Cucumis sativus

This plant is a fleshy, bristly vine which creeps or climbs by means of tendrils. The leaves are incised into 5 points, while the flowers are bell-shaped and golden-yellow in colour.

Cucumber is aperient and diuretic. It's ability to eliminate water from the body makes it an important treatment for heart and kidney problems. It helps to dissolve uric acid accumulating such as kidney and bladder stones. Consumption of the cucumber fruit is good for chronic constipation, while the juice is beneficial for the intestines, lungs, kidneys and skin. It may also be applied externally to inflammations, bed sores and burns.

Folk Names: Cowcucumber
Gender/Planet/Element Associations: Feminine/Moon/Water

Ritual Uses:

In Africa, the Nuer tribe sometimes consecrates a small wild cucumber and sacrifice it in place of a treasured ox during ceremonies.

Uses In Folk Magic:

  • The peel bound onto the forehead has been said to relieve headache pain.
  • Peeling and eating a raw cucumber can bring about quick relief from stress.
  • Eating a cucumber while ill encourages the speedy recovery of the afflicted.
  • Add cucumbers to your diet when peace is desired.


  • Cunningham, Scott. Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs. St. Paul: Llewellyn Publications, 1998.
  • A Kitchen Witches' Guide to Vegetables. "Kitchen Witchery". www.geocities.com/Athens/Delphi/4536/WiseWomansCottage/kwveggies.html. Accessed: 21 December 2001.
Cucumber is also an interesting cocktail.


  • 4 cl (1.5 fl.oz.) vodka
  • 5-6 slices of cucumber
  • Noncarbonated water
  • (Ice)
Pour vodka into a highball glass. Add slices of cucumber. Fill glass with cold water (around 20 cl, 7 fl.oz). Adding ice is optional.

The tastes of vodka and cucumber complement each other in an extraordinary way and make this odd-seeming drink suprisingly pleasant. Also a fine backup in case you've run out of everything else to mix your vodka with.

Cu"cum*ber (k?`k?m-b?r, formerly kou"k?m-b?r), n.[OE. cucumer, cocumber, cucumber, fr. L. cucmis, gen.cucumeris; cf. OF. cocombre,F. concombre.] Bot.

A creeping plant, and its fruit, of several species of the genus Cucumis, esp. Cucumis sativus, the unripe fruit of which is eaten either fresh or picked. Also, similar plants or fruits of several other genera. See below.

Bitter cucumber Bot., the Citrullus ∨ Cucumis Colocynthis. SeeColocynth. -- Cucumber beetle. Zool. (a) A small, black flea-beetle (Crepidodera cucumeris), which destroys the leaves of cucumber, squash, and melon vines. (b) The squash beetle. -- Cucumber tree.(a) A large ornamental or shade tree of the genus Magnolia (M. acuminata), so called from a slight resemblance of its young fruit to a small cucumber. (b) An East Indian plant (Averrhoa Bilimbi) which produces the fruit known as bilimbi. -- Jamaica cucumber, Jerusalem cucumber, the prickly-fruited gherkin (Cucumis Anguria). -- Snake cucumber, a species (Cucumis flexuosus) remarkable for its long, curiously-shaped fruit. -- Squirting cucumber, a plant (Ecbalium Elaterium) whose small oval fruit separates from the footstalk when ripe and expels its seeds and juice with considerable force through the opening thus made. See Elaterium. -- Star cucumber,a climbing weed (Sicyos angulatus) with prickly fruit.


© Webster 1913.

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