The Emotional Lives of Cucumbers: World Cucumber Day

Written by: Sophie Taylor

Firstly, have you seen Macka B’s cucumber rap yet?

Play it out, play it loud and let it be the soundtrack to the week while you get even more excited for World Cucumber Day on the 14th June.

In celebration of this special day, that you’ve been excited for since 15th June 2016, we’ve got some extra special cucumber facts for all you watery veg fans.

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1. They’re sweet little rock n rollers Mr Brown, a research scientist in the Plant Breeding Institute, spent a lifetime investigating plants and the whole of the last decade concentrating on the mighty cucumber. One experiment exposed three groups of cucumbers from seedling age to three different genres of music: classical, jazz and rock. Surprisingly, it was the rock and roll cucumbers who grew the largest providing better-tasting fruits, cylindrical in shape, with no curving and smooth dark green skin. “Malformed fruits in the jazz treatment may indicate that the nutrients and water supplies were interrupted by the genre’s jaunty soundwaves.”

2. They enjoy sleeping in sleeping bags Through these experiments, Mr Brown proved cucumbers are intelligent and responsive, particularly when it comes to their sleeping arrangements. Cucumbers use a sense of touch to help them grow, using their tendrils to feel and reach for surfaces to hold onto for support, particularly at night. Putting them into tiny sleeping bags for a week helped their skin soften and the flesh more tender and sweet as they were protected from the dry atmosphere and light.

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3. They like the smell of dill It makes sense –cucumber with smoked salmon and dill is one of life’s rare treats. In another experiment, cucumbers were divided into three groups: one spritzed with dill, another with sage and one final group left scent free. Those spritzed with dill turned out the tastiest. Obvs. But it’s not just a sense of smell cucumbers have managed to cultivate, despite not actually having a nose. Previous studies have proven plants have 20 different senses, compared to our five, and found they are ‘inherently intelligent, communicating with the world and one another using electric signals, giving off warning signs when in danger, and building relationships with other species and insects to survive and prosper.’ 

4. There’s a variety called Burpless Which sounds wildly optimistic. When I was four I ate a plate of cucumber for dinner, when my stomach was immediately replaced with a water balloon for a day and let me tell you those 24 hours were far from ‘burpless’. 

5. They have emotions Former CIA operative Cleve Backster developed the work of Jagadish Chandra Bose who noticed that plants and their different organs were sensitive stimuli and generated electrical impulses, suggesting excitement. Bose once traumatised playwright George Bernard Shaw with a demonstration of a cabbage convulsing in pain as he boiled it to death. In 1966 Backster measured the emotional response of a plant as he burnt it’s leaves. Reaching for the lighter again it recorded a strong fear reading. Read more here.

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6. They can be used as currency. Yep. The gin enthusiasts down at Hendricks have decided to take these cucumber celebrations a slice further with their Cultivate the Unusual campaign. Encouraging gin fans to grow their own cucumbers over the last few months in preparation, Hendricks are asking us to bring said veggies to participating pubs and bars this Thursday 15th June.

The Canonbury Tavern for example, will light up if you walk in with a cucumber and will proceed to exchange it for a free gin and tonic. Can you imagine? I believe you can bring along a shop bought cucumber, but make sure it’s not a courgette or a pickle or some green painted banana imposter. You will be turned away for being so crude. No-one wants banana floating about their gin for heaven’s sake. 

“Participants must be 18 or over, only 1 drink per person, per cucumber. Other elongated cylindrical vegetables will not be accepting! Especially courgettes!”

Cucumber Hour, Wed 14th June 2017, 5pm – 8pm

Limited to one Hendrick’s & Tonic per person at selected bars, see here for more details.

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