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.