One More for the Cuke

Temperatures have hit 110 degrees fahrenheit consistently all week. I slug home from the office, kick off my shoes, pull my hair back, and change into lighter clothes. The AC blasts a cool reprieve. So does the cucumber.

Cucumber Smoothie

Because cucumbers are part of the melon family, they are approximately 95% water. That enables them to keep the body hydrated and to help regulate inner body temperatures. They’re also helpful in flushing toxins. I sometimes find cucumber skin bitter and peel it away but the skin does contain ample vitamin C and makes it an anti-inflammatory. If I’m not going to eat it, I might as well rub it on my skin like I use aloe vera. Used this way, it also hydrates and relieves irritations like sun burn. In fact, some herbalists recommend using cucumber around the eyes to reduce swelling.

According to studies by DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) eating cucumbers can also help lower blood pressure in some hypertension prone individuals when coupled with a diet of low starch and lean proteins. They’re high in vitamin K and a host of other phytonutrients that I can’t pronounce like apigenin, luteolin, quercetin, kaempferol, pinoresinol, lariciresinol, secoisolariciresinol, and triterpenes. All good I’m sure. Other studies show that cucumbers, when eaten regularly, help to regulate uric acid, so it is great for prevention of certain kidney or bladder stones.

I love how fresh they are – great for salads but also for adding to smoothies. In this case, they become a smoothie on their own. This is a terrific refreshment but would also work well poured into popsicle molds (paletas) or with watermelon added for a sweeter flavor. Try one of these with a dip in the pool or a brief shower. My athletic sons assure me that getting my head wet is a great cooling mechanism also. If you’re fighting the heat, what are your tips for staying cool?

Agrigirl’s Cucumber Cooler
large serving for one

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium cucumber peeled (or not) and cut into chunks.
  • leaves stripped from 2 sprigs of mint
  • 1 cup sparkling water
  • 8+ ice cubes
  • Sprinkle of stevia (I use stevia as a sweetener – this is not FDA approved and that is worthy of a food politics post of its own)

Directions:
Combine all ingredients into a blender and whip on the highest setting for 1 minute. Pour into glasses and drink immediately. You could actually add alcohol to this drink if desired but it is so light and refreshing that it’s definitely not needed.

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90 Comments

  1. I like cukes. Thanks for the recipe. Blessings to you. Tammy…

    Reply
  2. I was really curious to try this smoothie. I have never used cucumbers in my smoothies period, but the flavor is definitely there. I made slight modification by adding a bit of plain yogurt, makes it taste a lot better in my opinion. Try it out let me know what you think!

    Reply
  3. I am lucky in that I am not generally bothered by the heat. Though – because I live in northern Michigan – some might say I have never really known heat! In any case, this sounds refreshing. The sparkling water adds a nice touch. I often mix grapefruit juice with sparking water for a summer beverage. Thanks!

    Reply
  4. I’ll have to try this next time I get cukes in my CSA share—I get tired of salad after a while and this looks like a tasty alternative.

    Reply
  5. fivereflections

     /  June 24, 2012

    Cukes are awesome!
    David in Maine USA

    Reply
  6. Lisa H

     /  June 24, 2012

    Wow, I didn’t realize cucumbers were so rich in vitamins. Your smoothy sounds refreshing, I would never have thought of it, but it totally makes sense!

    Reply
  7. Love the idea; thanks Tammy!

    Reply
  8. Sally Mom

     /  June 24, 2012

    Yum. I use the sliced cukes on my eyes often and make a soup of blended yogurt, mint, cuke and lemon zest, plus a little garlic. The skins are good pulverized and used on scrapes and bites.
    It is 68 here today and wet. But I still eat cold cukes daily for digestion. They are wonderful. Thanks Tammy!

    Reply
  9. Fabulous. I have everything I need for this… well, except Stevia, but I could just do a little simple syrup instead, especially since I have mint simple syrup lying around!

    But… wuff. 110 is hard. I’ve been dying here and it hasn’t quite hit 100 yet.

    Reply
  10. That looks beautiful, Tammy. At the Science Museum we were given a lovely cucumber concoction only the other day. Most inspired now to use your recipe.

    Although it has to be said our temperatures are dismal 😦

    Reply
  11. I happen to have cucumbers in my fridge that I should use up…this sounds wonderfully refreshing!

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  12. Cukes just by themselves are refreshing. I enjoy slicing them thin and keeping them in the refer in water with just a little vinegar.

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  13. Cucumbers may be my very favorite vegetable… 110 degrees??
    I’m miserable here in the 90’s – that might actually make me feel sick.

    Reply
  14. Funny– I think of xyz-terpene compounds as being in highly flavorful foods like citrus, or herbs, whereas the cucumber is often just a culinary filler for me. Interesting about the quercertin too, as cuke aren’t usually on that list. You mostly see it discussed in the context of “red” foods like apples and red grapes. For the athletic, quercertin helps with endurance (in mice) so it’s another reason to eat your produce.

    I too regularly soaked my head at any number of track meets to increase my odds of survival ;-). Cool wet cloth on the neck is a little less messy for the grown-ups.

    Reply
    • Wow. You’re up on the nutritional bits. I just report it. Soaking the head = best strategy.

      Reply
  15. Since moving to Arizona nearly twenty years ago I’ve really begun to enjoy cucumbers. Their flavor may be mild, but their cooling effect is quite remarkable.

    Reply
  16. Is this where “cool as a cucumber” came from? You inspire me and teach me with each post, learning all the good that is packed into cucumbers this time. We don’t have temps as bad as yours, but do have a 12 x 4 ft. that we climb into during the summer, to cool us off.

    Reply
  17. We’ll give this one a go. You really do a great job capturing the cool essence of the drink with your photo!

    Reply
    • Thanks. I wasn’t happy with the photo but just decided to let it go. Oddly, many people have looked at it over the last two days.

      Reply
  18. This does sound cool, thanks for the recipe!

    Reply
  19. Greg Pins

     /  June 25, 2012

    Tammy, love the recipe and the blog. I’m working to meet with you on the business side but need to share this with you: A close friend runs a company called AZ Pops in Phoenix and has a cucumber lemon popsicle that is a little addictive. I read an article about a year ago that not only focused on the panacea-like benefits of cucumbers for sunburns, dry skin, acne, hypertension and the like but also had a laundry list of practical applications for the vegetable around the house. Think a cross between organic WD40 and Linseed Oil. Cucumbers are pretty cool.

    Reply
    • I have indeed seen AZ Pops at the market but haven’t tried cucumber lemon yet. Planning a post on green household products so I’ll do some research.

      Reply
  20. Love all the added research goodies you throw into your posts! This does indeed sound refreshing! Thanks, Renee

    Reply
  21. Tammy – today is about gratitude. Thank goodness people like you exist – a wife and mom who practices what she encourages. Not only do you feed your family, you help us to remember to respect ourselves enough to do likewise!

    I hope you will accept an award I’m offering. Check my blog tomorrow – it’s given from the heart so I hope you will accept – even if you don’t post or pass it on.

    Reply
    • Oh, you are so kind. And a green eco-mom? I love that description! Thank you. I accept. I am not good and passing along but do definitely accept!

      Reply
      • Yes, an intelligent, caring, authentic green eco-mom who lives community through and through. At the Celebration of Gratitude (internet) on Sunday, a presenter said “Community is a powerful antidote for consumerism”. You instantly came to mind.

        Reply
  22. I used to order something like this at one of our favorite restaurants. Then the restaurant closed, and we were sad. I have been making a similar drink with lime, but I am so glad you reminded me about the cucumber!

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  23. I made my first cucumber smoothie last week! It was very good! 😀

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  24. I am going to add a cucumber to next week’s vegetable juice! Why does Stevia need FDA approval if you can grow it in your garden? Keep cool 🙂

    Reply
  25. I had no idea about the possible effects of cucumber on blood pressure! I am not a great fan of vegetable juices usually, but I must say, this does look refreshing, and may help keep my blood pressure down. Must try!

    Reply
  26. That looks so refreshing! Cucumbers are the best. There is a restaurant in Manhattan that offered a cocktail (also available as a mocktail) made with cucumber, mint and lime. Soooooo good!

    Reply
  27. Okay, so I know, rationally, that 110F is insanely hot, but as I sit here in winter dealing with health issues related to poor circulation and cold temperatures… i want to go to there!

    I’ve used zucchini in smoothies before but not cucumber. Love the idea!

    Reply
  28. Sounds so refreshing!

    Reply
  29. Now that we have hit mid-90s even in Wisconsin, it might be the perfect time for me to try cucumber in a smoothie!

    Reply
  30. I love this recipe. And we happen to be growing cucumbers and mint! Great blog..I look forward to following. -Julie

    Reply
    • Thanks for the visit Julie. I look forward to getting to know you. I have a sense that if you try this recipe and others like it, it will “sharpen the intuition”.

      Reply
  31. MMMMMM,..so bright green & so refreshing! Yum Yum yum!

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  32. Very interesting.

    Reply
  33. I have a twist for you. Cucumber + lemon + cumin powder. Ideally, jal jeera. Tastes fantastic.

    Reply
    • oh wow! I don’t know jal jeera so I’ll have to find that but I’m so excited to try it. Maybe we can collaborate on an ebook of smoothie recipes, RR?

      Reply
  34. Tammy, this sounds like the perfect treat for one of those hot days. Our temps rarely soar above the 80-90 fahrenheit range, but the cucumber would still be welcome on those days, too! thank you.

    Reply
    • I hope you like it. There are so many things that you can add. Today I’m having grapefruit cucumber.

      Reply
  35. Yes, I knew there were so many reasons to admire cucumber.

    Reply
  36. That certainly is hot weather and a cool refreshing drink like this would be most needed I’m sure. If the skin of my cucumber is bitter I score it with a fork and that removes most of the bitter juices then the rest of the cucumber is fine to eat. Scoring it makes it look quite pretty too when sliced. Enjoy the heat – we’re freezing here! xx

    Reply
  37. randipants

     /  June 30, 2012

    Sounds delicious. I probably would add alcohol, but I’m just like that. I know I am soon to be drowning in cucumbers, so I think this will come in handy in a few weeks!

    Reply
  38. I had “green lemonade” the other day from a little corner stand–lots of cucumber water, lemon, and lime juice—brilliant green color, not too sweet, and so refreshing. The heat has been rough here in Nashville, 108 degrees, an all-time record, with no rain in sight.
    It’s so important to stay hydrated in these searing times.

    Reply
    • ooooh. It’s so hot here too but those temps are really off chart for your area.

      Reply
  39. Now, that’s healthy, innovative and refreshing. I wish everyone will discover how natural veggies and fruits are good for one’s health. It may take more to prepare than opening a can of Coke but it’s all worth it. Thanks…

    Reply
  40. Reblogged this on A.C.R.E.S.S. Farms and commented:
    We’d love to try this with our cucumbers!

    Reply
  41. Thanks for stopping by my csa post. Will try this smoothie when the cukes show up in my weekly CSA. These days in has been hot in VT – but not as hot as AZ! To stay cool, I make a big glass pitcher of water – add cucumbers (peeled and quartered lengthwise), sprigs of thyme and mint from the garden, slices of lemon and lime. Invites me to drink lots of water – and is super refreshing. 🙂

    Reply
  42. Wow…this looks so good..if it wasn’t the middle of the night and if i had some lemon or lime…and ice…and sparkling water….I’d make a smoothie with the two cucumbers i picked today…great idea( and I have lots of mint)…I will try it. (I’ve been living off raspberry/blueberry/strawberry smoothies lately in this heat wave…)….maybe I will try cucumber and watermelon smoothie with mint tomorrow……that should work…..

    Reply
  43. Thanks for the shout out!

    Reply
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