Food News

Cucumbers for Cocktails, Hangovers, Shoe Polish, and Other Stuff

During the summer, cucumbers are abundant wherever you look. Florida produces more cukes than any other part of the country. After stopping by a local farmers' markets and picking up a big bag, we found a few interesting ways to use these green, watery delights.

1. Sluggish afternoon? Instead of that cup of java, eat some cucumber slices. The vitamin B and carbohydrates make this a great pick-me-up.

2. Want to get rid of cellulite before hitting the beach? Rub a few slices on "problem areas." The phytochemicals cause the collagen in skin to tighten.

3. Hot date and no shoe shine? Rub a freshly cut cucumber over the shoe. You'll get a quick shine and it repels water -- great for Miami summers.

4. Front door squeak when you sneak in at night? Rub a cucumber slice on the offending hinge.

5. Going in for a kiss but your breath stinks? Press a slice on the roof of your mouth with your tongue for 30 seconds.  Goodbye, bad breath; hello, lover!

But probably the best use of cucumbers is in cocktails. We found this great recipe from a 1952 issue of Gourmet magazine. It's essentially a vodka martini, but the cucumber and salt add an extra touch of old-school elegance.

YIP PIP Cocktail (pictured above)

Prepare the glasses by packing with crushed ice, and when ready to serve, toss out the ice and drop a thin slice of cucumber and a pinch of salt into each glass. Mix six parts vodka with one of dry vermouth, stir well in cracked ice, and pour.

When you are done throwing back a few of these, eat a few more slices of cucumber because the sugar, B vitamins, and electrolytes keep everything in equilibrium.

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Christina Staalstrom