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What Are the Different Uses of Cucumber?

Cucumbers are a versatile wonder, not just for refreshing salads but also as a skin-soothing agent, a natural deodorizer, and even a DIY pest deterrent. They're packed with hydration and essential nutrients, making them a staple in healthy diets and beauty routines alike. Discover how this crisp, green marvel can elevate your daily life—what unique use will inspire you?
David Bishop
David Bishop

Cucumbers are a vegetable with many uses in both cooking and skin care. These members of the gourd family are a healthy, flavorful addition to salads and are often served along with spicy Asian dishes to help cool off the diner's palate. Many people make pickled cucumbers as a side dish with a mixture of salt and sugar or preserve them in a brine for later use. The uses of cucumber also extend to skin care, from helping to reduce the swelling of puffy eyes to serving as an ingredient in facial masks. Some people even recommend using cucumbers to help clean bathrooms and shine shoes.

Some of the most important uses of cucumber are in food preparation. They are used in cuisines around the world for their mild flavor and texture. In Thai cuisine, cucumbers are often served with extremely spicy dishes to help soothe a burning mouth and tongue. The lightness of the vegetable provides a strong contrast to more powerful flavors in many cuisines. Cultures around the world also use cucumbers as a healthy, low-calorie snack.

Cucumbers on the vine.
Cucumbers on the vine.

In Western cuisine, fresh cucumbers are often sliced and placed in salads along with a mixture of other vegetables or as a garnish. They also are one of the most commonly pickled vegetables, so much so that the word "pickle" is essentially a synonym for pickled cucumber in many several countries. Pickles provide a salty condiment for use on various types of sandwiches. Fresh, lightly pickled cucumbers are often served as a side dish, either alone or mixed with onions, peppers and tomatoes.

Pickling cucumbers.
Pickling cucumbers.

After eating, skin care is one of the main uses of cucumber. As an economical home remedy, people often place sliced cucumbers over their eyes to reduce swelling and improve their appearance. Cucumbers also can be blended in the home along with other ingredients to make a moisturizing facial mask or a skin toner. Many commercial skin care products advertise cucumber as an active ingredient, and the vegetable is often used in day spas.

A cucumber.
A cucumber.

There are several other household uses of cucumber that have not been verified by the scientific community. Cucumbers have been recommended as an emergency shoe polish, breath freshener and ink eraser. Some advocate the vegetable as a green alternative for chemical products when cleaning sinks and bathrooms. The accuracy of these claims has not been scientifically proven, though many of them do have popular support.

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Discussion Comments


I've only eaten cucumbers fresh, in salads or in yogurt. There is an Indian yogurt side dish that is made with cucumbers called raita. They usually serve it like the Thai do, with very spicy foods to balance it out. Fresh cucumbers combined with plain yogurt is very cooling and tasty. I always ask for raita alongside my meal at Indian restaurants.


@fify-- No, freezing fresh cucumbers is a terrible idea. When you thaw them, they will be mushy and will taste horrible. You might as well throw them out now.

You can however make frozen cucumber pickles. This is basically when you let fresh cucumbers sit in brine overnight before freezing them. The brine help keep the cucumbers intact. However, they will still taste different after thawing.

Can't you just make regular pickles with them? If they're the kind suitable for pickling of course. I think pickles are the best use of cucumbers. It will last for a long time and they're delicious.


I have a lot of fresh cucumbers and I don't know what to do with them. Is it possible to freeze cucumbers to use later?

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    • Cucumbers on the vine.
      By: Natalya Korolevskaya
      Cucumbers on the vine.
    • Pickling cucumbers.
      By: Elenathewise
      Pickling cucumbers.
    • A cucumber.
      By: Kenishirotie
      A cucumber.
    • There are many cucumber-based skin care products.
      By: picsfive
      There are many cucumber-based skin care products.
    • Cucumbers may be an ingredient in toners.
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      Cucumbers may be an ingredient in toners.
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      Greek salad with cucumbers, feta, and tomatoes.
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      Cucumbers contain vitamins C and A, calcium and folic acid.