As a healthy snack, smoothie or in a salad – crunchy cucumbers are THE summer vegetable par excellence and provide great refreshment in the heat. Low in calories, healthy and full of vitamins and nutrients – it’s hard to imagine our table without this crunchy vegetable, which enriches our cuisine. Although cucumbers are available in the supermarket all year round, the warm summer months are the best time to enjoy them as fresh as possible. And since everything from our own garden simply tastes better, more and more people are choosing to grow cucumbers. But what should we do if we have produced more than we can consume? What is the best way to harvest and store cucumbers? Can we store them in the refrigerator? Or what about freezing them? We’ve done our research for you and compiled the best tips and tricks on how to make vegetables last the longest and stay fresh.
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How to harvest cucumbers? How to do it right!
Cucumbers are an extremely delicate vegetable and if you want to enjoy a bountiful harvest, you should avoid some of the most common mistakes in cucumber cultivation at all costs. To help you enjoy this crunchy summer favorite into the fall, we’ll explain the best way to harvest your cucumbers. The perfect time, however, depends on the cucumber variety. But all varieties have one thing in common, and to make sure they taste nice and crisp, the rule when harvesting is: better too early than too late. Salad cucumbers are the best known and are best harvested from a size of about 15 centimeters. Vinegar and pickling cucumbers, on the other hand, are usually slightly curved and are harvested at a maximum of 9 centimeters. For the small cornichons, a length of 5 centimeters is considered optimal.
To avoid a bitter taste, when harvesting, make sure that the cucumbers have a smooth skin and an even color. Also remember that the earlier you harvest the cucumbers, the more fruits and flowers will then form on the plants. To avoid cutting off whole shoots and possible injuries, use scissors or a sharp knife to harvest the cucumbers and be sure to wear gloves. Also, be sure to leave a small section of the stem on the cucumber, about 2.5 inches long. This will prevent the vegetable from rotting quickly. Early morning or later in the evening are considered the optimal time to harvest cucumbers – this is when the vegetables actually have the most nutrients.
Store cucumbers in the basement?
You got a generous harvest or the neighbors shared theirs with you? Then the question arises: how to store the cucumbers to keep them fresh for as long as possible? Unfortunately, due to its high water content, the vegetable does not keep that long. Originally, cucumbers come from India and can therefore be sensitive to cold. However, it should also not be too hot and in the summer heat in the kitchen, the vegetable is edible for a maximum of 2 days. The best place to store cucumbers is in a dark place and at a temperature between 10 and 15 degrees. If the temperature is too low, the vegetables will quickly become mushy and soft and will not taste as good. In the pantry or cellar, where it is pleasantly cool, cucumbers stay fresh for up to 2 to 3 weeks.
How to store cucumbers in the refrigerator?
You do not have a cellar or simply accustomed to store fruits and vegetables in the refrigerator? Although this is actually not the optimal place for the crop, with a few tips you can store cucumbers in the refrigerator. However, to prevent them from becoming soft and mushy or freezing, it is important to choose the warmest areas – these are either the vegetable compartment or the door. Meanwhile, there are some modern refrigerators that have the so-called “basement zone”, where you can best store your cucumbers.
If you decide to store cucumbers in the refrigerator, you should first wash them thoroughly and let them dry completely. Then wrap each cucumber in a clean dish towel and place them in an airtight glass or plastic container. And here’s something else to watch out for when harvesting and storing cucumbers: tomatoes and cucumbers go wonderfully together in salads, but the opposite is true when it comes to storage. Fruits and vegetables, such as tomatoes, pears and apples, produce ethylene and should not be stored with cucumbers. This is because the gas will cause the cucumbers to overripe quickly and become inedible.
Harvesting and storing cucumbers: Can you freeze cucumbers?
Those who want to optimally harvest and store their cucumbers are often faced with the question: can cucumbers be frozen? The answer to this is “yes”. In principle, you can freeze the vegetable without any problems, but due to the high water content, it tends to become spongy and mushy when thawed. So for a salad in this case the cucumbers would be unsuitable. However, if you want to use them for smoothies, soups or dips like tzatziki, then it’s not a problem. Before you put the cucumbers in the freezer, you should peel them first and scrape out the watery inside. Then cut them into thick slices, put them in a freezer bag and you’re done – this way frozen cucumbers will keep for up to 1 year.