Sure, cucumbers are absolutely delectable in a salad but what do you do when you have too many cucumbers for your fridge to hold and your family to consume? Fear not, we are here to help; soon enough, you’ll never have to throw out those home-grown cucumbers ever again! The following tips will also help you reduce food waste, which is a significant issue throughout the world. Did you know that globally, four billion tons of food is wasted each year and in the U.S., approximately 40% of all food is never consumed. So let’s start putting our extra cukes to good use and stop wasting, starting with these 5 uses for extra cucumbers :
#1: Repellent for those Nasty Garden Critters. If you’re an avid gardener, the last thing you need are those pesky grubs, slugs and bugs destroying your planting beds. As you know, these critters are a huge nuisance when they hinder the growth of your plants. This clever trick can work wonders. Just chop up some of your excess cucumbers and lay them around your garden, particularly in areas where you have noticed an insect infestation. The chemicals in a chopped cucumbers emit a scent that is undetectable to the human nose but irritates some garden pests, causing them to flee. Not only does this work in gardens but sliced cucumbers can be used around your home to deter ants. Placing sliced cucumbers in soil near the entrances of your home will prevent ants from entering your home. Putting them in soil allows the cucumbers to decompose slightly, which strengthens the scent that will deter critters. Cucumbers will also deter moths and mites around your home. Although placing them around your home (where you have noticed outbreaks) may raise the eyebrows of a few of your visitors, you’ll be happy to no longer see moths and mites in your place of residence.
#2: Scrub-a-dub-dub! What is better for your own skin than freshly grown, chemical-free cucumbers?! Cucumbers are an excellent ingredient used in many natural face scrubs, some of which you can make in your very own home! Grab half of one of your home grown cucumbers and puree it in a food processor. Mix this puree with 3 cups of granulated sugar and 1/2 cup of grapeseed or coconut oil, both of which are easily accessible at a supermarket or health food store. There you go; a natural scrub which will leave your skin soft as a baby’s bottom! Don’t worry if you made a little too much… you can store your scrub in the fridge to prolong its use!
#3: Clean with Cucumbers. No, we are not kidding. Cucumbers contain chemicals which are effective in reducing bacteria and can be used for many things around your home and on your own body. Rubbing slices of cucumbers on the glass in your shower will prevent it from fogging up while you bathe while adding a spa-like aroma. Looking for a chemical free way to clean your stainless steel? Cucumbers! The natural juices of a sliced cucumber will remove years of dirt from your steel faucets and sinks while returning it to its former shine. For the next trick… no need to slice your cucumber. Use the exterior of the cucumber to remove crayon and markers that your kids have used to decorate your walls! Can’t find your shoe polish before an important interview because your home is overwhelmed with cucumbers? Don’t fret! Slices of cucumbers will create a lasting shine that is sure to impress. Shortly after you clean those leather shoes, you notice that the garlic you ate for lunch may not be the most pleasing scent. Hold a slice of the cucumber on the roof of your mouth and leave it for 30 seconds to eliminate bad breath. By using cucumber as an alternative to harsh cleaning chemicals, you are having a positive impact on the environment.
#4: When life gives you cucumbers, make lemonade! Yes, we did say lemonade. Or shall we call it cucumber-ade? Trust us on this one. Cucumbers will no longer slowly rot in your fridge once you learn of this quick and delicious refreshment. Simply boil 1/2 cup white sugar with 1 cup of water until the sugar dissolves. Throw this syrup into the fridge to speed up cooling. Meanwhile, puree 2-3 cucumbers and strain until you have 2/3 cup of juice. Mix the cooled syrup and cucumber liquid with 1 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice. Serve over ice and mint leaves. Once your tongue has savored this yumminess, you’ll never be able to drink regular lemonade again! This cucumber-ade is a favorite with kids too.
#5: Heavenly Sorbet. You will find no need to buy ice cream ever again once you create your own cucumber sorbet! Cucumbers are the perfect base for a beautiful sorbet. First, peel and deseed 4-5 of those extra cucumbers from your garden. Throw them into a food processor with 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and 1 cup of sugar. Add the mixture to an ice cream machine for 15 minutes. Once in an airtight container, place sorbet into a freezer for 2 hours, mixing every 30 minutes. This can be served immediately or stored. What is incredible about this recipe is that you can add absolutely whatever your heart desires. Just add any other flavor you’d like into the food processor and blend it in with your cucumbers, sugar and lemon juice. Try strawberries or mint leaves for a tasty twist.
#6 Give your extra produce to neighbors with the Giving Garden App. We know we said 5, but we have one extra for you! If you live in Davis or Sacramento, try giving fresh produce to those in your local area through our app, Giving Garden, which is now available on the App Store and Google Play (in beta for the Davis and Sacramento market). Giving Garden helps you connect with gardeners and local-food enthusiast in your community, share ideas, knowledge and produce. You can share photos, get gardening advice and chat with members of your community who can assist you with your gardening and local-food questions. We’re currently available in beta in the Sacramento and Davis area and are looking to expand nationally to allow growers across the country to connect with like-minded people. Along with using Giving Garden, donating extra produce to your local food pantry is an excellent way to reduce food waste in addition to lending a helping hand.
No longer will you tremble in your boots when your garden produces enough cucumbers to feed a small village. You are now equipped with the knowledge to conquer cucumber waste and make cucumbers an integral part of your home and community.