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Surprising cucumber update, cucurbitacine natural poison & my “challenge plants” ;)

3.9.2015 surprise massive cucumber!-a--1-

I was so proud of a success never matched before in my home grown projects, the cucumbers came out relatively huge… that is until I got this very important information, which was like my balloon being pricked, nevertheless I am going on having a load of fun seeing it grow!
I have included a one mn video showing how to get rid of the poison. Personally, I’d rather not touch it. I rarely eat cucumber as I follow the guidelines of macrobiotic eating & it’s a nightshade(*see correction in comment) vegetable which means a big no-no. 🙂
I call my other plants a challenge as they are warm climate ones which I have to keep indoors all year round for the first two yrs then for many winter months.
A very gratifying experience. I always get a kick out of a good (positive obviously!) challenge.
Not many survive. I start off with a whole load then, left with one or two. Keep scrolling down to see my “exotic” plants 🙂
Out of precaution I kept my plants in a protected part of the balcony which is partially closed.
I wasn’t going to take any chances 😉

Have a great weekend!

Here’s the news I received…

“A 79-year-old German died after eating a home-grown zucchini. In the vegetable (probably one created by the plant itself) was poison. That poison can cause death in very rare cases.
The man and his wife were seriously ill after their meal. They were taken to hospital. The woman recovered, but the man continued to deteriorate and eventually died. The culprit is the substance cucurbitacine. Which was formerly naturally in courgettes and cucumbers to prevent animals from eating the vegetable. Growers have the past centuries with breeding programs managed to take away the poison. If people grow vegetables, it can still crop up. The advice is therefore (to home-grown courgettes) first to eat a raw piece. If the vegetables taste much more bitter than usual, then this are indicative of cucurbitacine. This also applies to pumpkins.”

Published on 27 Nov 2012
Cucumbers naturally can produce chemicals called cucurbitacins which causes the cucumber to be bitter. In large quantities, this chemical can make a person sick.

Did you know that?

And here I thought a cucumber was just a harmless vegetable.
I learned this method of reducing the bitterness from my mom.
The kids found this exercise rather amusing :).
Science & Technology
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See all those cucumber sprouting everywhere?

See all those cucumber sprouting everywhere?

My beautiful Litchi plant! That's a very difficult one...

My beautiful Litchi plant! That’s a very difficult one…

Two pomegranate trees left :)

Two pomegranate trees left 🙂

So proud of my Kiwi tree which nearly died winter, had it wrapped up in a huge plastic bottle indoors as a greenhouse!

So proud of my Kiwi tree which nearly died winter, had it wrapped up in a huge plastic bottle indoors as a greenhouse!

A close up... See the huge leaves?

A close up… See the huge leaves?

My accidental date baby tree. I had thrown a pit in the earth & totally forgot about it... A beautiful summer surprise!

My accidental date baby tree. I had thrown a pit in the earth & totally forgot about it… A beautiful summer surprise!

A citrus tree. Out of all of them this is the only one truly picking up :)

A citrus tree. Out of all of them this is the only one truly picking up 🙂


About oawritingspoemspaintings

A lover of poetry, abstract and realistic painting, music, good writing, languages, Italy, photography, holistic therapies, natural lifestyle and fully living the moment.

8 responses »

  1. Well firstly i didn’t know that cucumbers were nightshades and was going to juice one tomorrow. How’d i miss that one? Thank you for sharing this post. As for the bitter taste i’ve found in many squash, i had no idea it was poison tho it certainly is bitter enough to make me believe it. I have to avoid many types of foods, gluten, histamine, nightshade, dairy, no fun at all…. and have done this for years so this really surprised me. I am not sure how i missed knowing the thing about the zukes but was so sick the other night with food poisoning yet couldn’t identify what it had been and NOBODY else was sick. That’s the usual drill for me but i ate zukes and they were bitter…. so thank you for this enlightening*and possibly life saving info! Otherwise your garden is lovely with many things I cannot grow in my dry hot climate…. I love that kiwi and have wondered if i could grow the vine…. might try! 😉

    • First I have to apologize for my mistake. I have been macrobiotic for so many yrs… More than twenty five yrs ago I got a list of foods which was given to me for my constitution, my asthmatic and extreme sinus symptoms which “regular” doctors were unable to help me with. I got a crash course on yin yang and nightshades and in the process must have gotten this mixed-up. When you commented I wanted to be sure my information was one hundred percent correct so I googled it and discovered it’s not a nightshade but more on the yin side which doesn’t suit the cold climate we live in. Macrobiotics believe in eating what they call balanced foods which is in between the yin and yang but then adapt the food plan according to symptoms. As they use food for cure, it has to be tailored. I spent many yrs thinking it’s no fun at all and was more than annoyed having to follow this rigid food plan. But thanks to overeaters anonymous I managed to accept love and appreciate the balanced simple ways of eating which I call… Clean and lean 😉 it did take me a good few yrs of constant “relapses” which one could call allowances that did me no good, to then finally surrender and accept. I must say that I have controlled my asthma with not having to use once my medication which I nevertheless keep in my handbag. As I wrote in my post, these plants are surely not suited for our cold climate but I pampered them as newborns! At first they were mostly indoors. It was a big challenge. I never expected them to survive but the longer they did the more satisfaction I got seeing them grow. In my opinion it’s well worth the effort! I wish you much success joy and satisfaction with your food plan.
      Here is a small text I found on Google about cucumbers. I remember my food counselor saying they are hard to digest. Same goes for fresh green beans. The most balanced veg are onions leak cabbage spring cabbage pumpkin carrots turnips broccoli cauliflower. I even learned how to make mock potato puree with cauliflower and millet. It was delicious! Here goes the text I googled…
      “Other vegetables that are really fruits and therefore more yin are cucumbers, okra, and the entire squash family.  These include zucchini, summer squash, butternut, spaghetti, acorn squash and others.  Some of the winter squashes are not too yin (butternut, spaghetti, and acorn types), but the summer squashes such as zucchini are quite yin and best avoided. 
      Fungi, such as mushrooms are more yin because this is a quality of all yeasts and fungi.
      Raw vegetables are far more yin than cooked vegetables. Fermented vegetables such as sauerkraut are much more yin.”
      Last precision… As I couldn’t use dairy anymore I was advised to take two big spoons of whole sesame seeds to replace it with, as they are very high in calcium which they claim does not only give calcium but doesn’t take it away from the body as some studies have concluded dairy does.


      • Wow, you sound like me! I treat my chronic health problems holistically as well and am really struggling with my newest food regime of a low histamine diet. Ugh is all I can say. I’m already gluten, dairy, egg & nightshade free. Now this… It’s difficult but if I see an uptick in my health I’ll call it good! 🙂

        Thanks for this info. Going macro has always sounded challenging, sort of like raw. I’m going to break out my new juicer but maybe I’ll leave out the cuke!

      • Yes, it’s about the same food plan here. No eggs, far too yang, no sugar obviously, dairy, only sesame oil which I switched to olive oil occasionally & mostly organic virgin coconut oil, no flour just whole grains, no meat, chicken… I just allow myself organic salmon twice a week to give me energy as I’ve tried to go without for eight months but felt depleted.No fruits either bc they’re too mucus forming for my problem so I’m left with… clean & lean 😉 It only takes a while to get use to but once you do, you see it through a different perspective & wonder how can everyone eat the way they do! Today I call manufactured foods “Dog food” no disrespect to dogs which I absolutely love, but there’s no denying that unfortunately, the canned foods they sell for animals are of very poor quality. I compensate with Macrobiotic specialties as Seitan which is vegan meat, a bit of tofu, Natto, tempeh, then for starch crispy fried Mochi which is like a snack, so as you can see, there’s still quite a variety 🙂

  2. Those plants look very interesting , great article too.

  3. As a fellow gardener who also grows some stuff out of pottery, many thanx for the info and photos on your cucumber success. Will try my hand at growing them too. Peace.

    • I didn’t dare to eat those cucumbers because of that information. It wasn’t worth the risk. But it was my first success story at growing in pots which gave me the incentive to go on further next year with other veg. Actually my tomatoes were a success too but taking care of the green flies that came along with it was a backbreaking job! All in all growing your own food is very gratifying.
      Thanks for the kind feedback and best wishes for a wonderful week ☺


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