Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Forgotten Skills Or Wives Tales 2 ?

I think this one definitely falls into the wives tales category.
I was taught by both my mother and my grandmother that you had to take the fever out of a cucumber. You did this by cutting the end off and rubbing the end over the white part of the cucumber in a circular motion. The cucumber will start to secrete a white creamy stuff. If you didn't take this white stuff out the fruit would make you sick.

All my growing up years I was taught this. When I got married one day I was over at my in-laws helping to prepare a meal. I was asked to peel the cucumbers and started my ritual of rubbing the ends. My professor of horticulture  ex father-in-law was quick to educate me that it was not necessary.

I am afraid I was a regular source of entertainment. 

It seems in centuries past that cucumbers were thought to be only good cow feed. Back there in them hills obviously my own family had not been enlightened to the fact that they were edible and carried no fever. I never thought to ask and am still curious as to what exactly that white stuff is. I have never met another human being who was taught this.

Obviously this is a wives tale that traveled through my family for generations. I am happy to report that it dies with me and I did not pass this on to my daughters. Hopefully this will save them some embarrassments in the future : )

I am also going to admit that I still do it ........just in case !!!!!!

Anyone hear banjos?

Anyone else taught to rub the fever from their cucumbers?

Oh please lord let there be someone else out there !!!

Blessings from The Holler

The Canned Quilter 


  1. Just because we never heard or did it , doesn't mean that there wasn't a reason why others did it..who knows maybe we don't know it all yet! Yes, I wash my grits because their are organisms growing that we don't see..they even grow in a lab peri dish in a fridge.(I've seen that myself).

  2. We were taught to cut past that "white end" and toss it. The first slice had to be far enough down to have seeds in it for them to be safe to eat. Never told why -- just what grandmama said do. :-) And we always had to slice them in advance and salt them to draw the "bad" stuff out. After the liquid was drawn out we washed and drained them. Thanks for the smiles of the memories.

  3. I was! Well... not the fever part, but the cut off the ends, switch 'em, and rub till the foam is all out. I was told it removed the bitterness. Sometimes I think it helps, other times I think it doesn't make any difference.

  4. Hallelujah!! I have been vindicated : ) Where have you girls been all my life ?

  5. Well, as you know, I wasn't taught anything. ;)
    And when I did start eating cucumbers, no one ever told me anything, other than peel it before I eat it.
    I would have thought the white stuff might be some sort of milk.
    Learned something new! :-)

  6. This is to funny. I have never heard of cucumber having a fever! Sorry you might be the only one doing this.

  7. I eat cucumbers, peeling on, peeling off, depending on how young they are. The bigger ones usually do have a bitter taste close to the peeling. I salt and it seems to remove the bitter as it does with egg plants...then rinse and prepare as usual.

    The rubbing may remove the bitter taste. Good to know in case I run out of salt.

  8. A little late in finding you, but I was taught to rub the ends after cutting them to remove the bitterness.

  9. I agree with some of the others, that the rubbing of the ends was to remove the bitterness. I don't think it makes any difference most of the time.

  10. My Mom and every other woman I knew growing up in Southwest Louisiana (Cajun Country) would never dare eat or serve a cucumber without first "taking the fever out". I still do it to this day if for no other reason but to smile & think about all those wonderful people that have long passed. Life was simple then & simply better.

  11. I'm 72 years young and remember my mother doing this to large cumbers. She said it was to take the bitterness out. After that they'd go into the pickling pot. She always made wonderful dill pickles. Wish I had her recipe. Just stumbled onto your site. Totally love it and must subscribe! Thank you !


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