Cucumber is one of the most commonly used vegetables in the world. It is used in a wide variety of different dishes, and is popular in cuisines all over the globe.
Cucumber is also a staple vegetable used in most kinds of salads, and is also used as garnishing on many other kinds of dishes. However, cucumber is best used fresh, because most people love the taste of fresh cucumber, and because it has such a delightful crunch to it.
Cucumber is widely cultivated across the globe, and it’s a common vine plant that you will find all around the world. The cucumber originated primarily in South Asia, but it’s grown all over the globe and can be found in almost any part of the globe.
Raw cucumber is almost 95% water, and provides a low content of the basic nutrients that your body needs to survive. There are several kinds of cucumbers that you can buy in the market as well.
Let’s talk about a few of those.
The most common choice available in the market is the slicing cucumber. Slicers most commonly mature on the vines, and there are generally larger leaves that provide a considerable amount of shade.
You can eat these cucumbers in their unripe, green state, or when they turn ripe and yellow. However, you should know that when the cucumber turns yellow, it often turns sour and bitter, making it unfit for consumption.
The yellow cucumber is still used in a few dishes. In some cases, the smaller sliced cucumbers can be pickled as well.
Then, you have the pickled cucumbers. The pickling process is usually done by adding vinegar, brine, and even a bit of sugar.
A bunch of different spices can be used in the process too, which can ultimately be used to create a whole host of flavored products using the cucumbers. Pickled cucumbers are also readily available in the market.
Even though virtually any kind of cucumber can be pickled, commercial pickles are generally made from specially bred cucumbers that are grown in uniformity to ensure the length to the diameter ratio.
Moreover, they are grown for the lack of voids found in the flesh. Usually, cucumbers that are grown for the sale process of pickling are generally between 7 cm and 10 cm.
When you compare the outlook of a pickling cucumber to a slicer, the pickling ones are generally shorter, slightly thicker, and usually don’t have a regular shape. Some even have bumpy skin, and you might even see their white or black dotted spines.
The color usually varies as well.
There are also gherkins, which are commonly known as cornichons. Some also refer to gherkins as baby pickles. These are generally smaller in size, usually ranging between 2.5 and 12.5 centimeters in length.
Most gherkins usually have bumpy skin and are commonly used for pickling.
You also have the burpless cucumber, which is considerably sweeter and also has a thinner skin when compared with other types of cucumbers.
The burpless cucumber is known for its ability to digest easily and because of its incredibly pleasant taste. The cucumber is capable of growing as much as 60 centimeters, and has a relatively delicate skin. On top of that, the cucumber is almost seedless.
Now that you know about the different kinds of cucumber, you should learn how to keep them fresh. If you go to your local supermarket to buy the cucumber, you will realize that it doesn’t take very long. Most people like to save time when making salads and preparing their veggies, and often cut the cucumbers as well.
However, you should know that cutting the cucumbers and keeping them aside isn’t a wise idea. Within a day or two, the cucumbers are going to get mushy, and that’s going to destroy their use in your salad. People generally like to eat cucumbers that are fresh and crispy, and they also look good in terms of presentation.
There are a number of reasons why this happens. It’s usually caused due to a combination of natural gasses, and an excessive build-up of moisture. More importantly, chopping up the vegetables also increases the speed at which the process of decomposition takes place.
Storing cucumbers is often a big problem, because you can’t just leave them in your fridge. Cucumbers are an excellent choice for people looking for a healthy snack, but it often becomes a hassle when you have to cut them before consuming every time.
Moreover, even if you leave the cucumbers in your fridge for far too long, they will eventually become mushy.
As more and more people across the globe understand the importance of eating healthy, the demand for cucumbers has grown considerably. As per the USDA, a single cup of sliced cucumbers only contains around 14 calories. One of the biggest challenges that you are going to face when buying grocery items is to make them last.
Buying vegetables and keeping them fresh is difficult. You will want to try and make the vegetables last as long as possible so that you don’t have to constantly rush back to the grocer’s every time you need to buy fresh vegetables. Storing cucumbers is often more difficult than you might realize.
You can leave the cucumbers in a storage container and put them in the fridge, and even tighten it up, but it won’t take long before the cucumbers start to get soggy and mushy.
For people working a 9 to 5 job, it’s almost impossible to visit the local store and restock their fridge every day. Even people who work from home have difficulty in making a daily trip to the grocer’s.
Needless to say, it only makes sense that you shop for the week at least. You might have heard your elders telling you that eating the season’s produce is the best option.
The only thing that you can do is to employ a variety of methods that can help you keep the cucumbers fresh. It’s much easier said than done, however.
Even with the best intentions of keeping your cucumbers fresh, you will end up opening your fridge at the end of the week only to find a bruised or a rotten cucumber. However, you should know that there are a few simple ways by which you can store the cucumbers to keep them as fresh as possible.
Some will tell you that you should not cut the cucumbers before storing them, but that’s utterly wrong. In fact, the key to making sure that your cucumbers last you a long while is to cut them up first, and then use any of the storage methods given below.
By cutting the cucumbers first before storage, not only will you keep them fresher, but they will also become much easier to store.
All you need is a bit of creativity and you also need to pay a bit of attention to ensure that your cucumber lasts you for several weeks.
Now, let’s talk about some of the most common methods that you can use to store the cucumber in the best possible manner.
How to Store Cucumber Slices
1 – Freezing Them
Freezing the vegetables is a fantastic idea. Any kind of vegetable and meat can be frozen, and it has long been touted as one of the most efficient ways of preserving the food for consumption over a longer period of time. The science behind freezing the food is actually quite simple, and also quite supportive.
The warmer climate usually encourages more microbial activity, so when you freeze any kind of food, the microbial activity within the food itself, ranging from the yeast to the growth of insects inside the food stops completely.
That is one of the main reasons why meat that is kept in the freezer tends to last longer and stays fresher, even if you bought it from the store several weeks ago.
In the same manner, you can also keep the cucumber slices in your freezer. As soon as you cut up the cucumber, you should keep it in the fridge. These cucumbers can be used without any problem for up to a month.
Before you place them in the freezer, it might be a wise idea to cut them, and then dry them with a paper towel to get rid of the intrinsic moisture within the vegetable.
Then, you can place them in a plastic bag and put them in the freezer. You can also consider using a freezing container. This is important, because it will prevent moisture build-up within the container.
More importantly, the shelf life of the cucumbers will also increase, going up from just three to four days to around two weeks. However, it’s still advised that you use the vegetables within a few days, because the nutrients in fresh vegetables are obviously more.
2 – Pickling
We have already discussed pickling cucumbers, and it’s important to note that this is one of the most delicious and efficient ways of keeping the cut cucumbers in storage for longer periods of time. If you like making tangy side dishes and enjoy them with your food, you are definitely going to enjoy pickled cucumbers.
There are a whole bunch of different recipes that you can search for on the internet to pickle the cucumbers. Some are tangier than the others, and some require you to make use of a variety of different ingredients as well.
But, if you don’t often get the time to combine various ingredients together, you can always make use of the classic recipe.
All you need to do is to cut up the cucumber, and then mix equal parts vinegar and water in a container. Add a bit of salt, pepper, and any other kind of spice that you would like to add to the cucumber, and then leave the mixture in your fridge to rest.
Make sure you cover it up properly so that all of its tangy goodness can continue to grow.
Pickling doesn’t take a long while; some people start using their cucumbers the next day only. However, if you want the cucumbers to completely cover up in the flavors, you need to wait a few days before you decide to start using them with your meals.
It’s easily one of the most delicious ways of keeping your cucumbers fresh and using them in the long run.
3 – The Lemon and Salt Method
Lemon and salt are both widely regarded as the best solutions for keeping your vegetables, meats, and fruit fresh and crisp for several weeks.
There’s no reason why this strategy won’t work with cucumber. In fact, many people make use of the lemon solution for their cucumbers.
Basically, any method that keeps the meat from rotting quickly will also be useful for vegetables. If you want to keep the cucumber slices in your fridge, but you are hesitant because you have seen how quickly they lose their freshness and become soggy, you should try to infuse them with a bit of salt and lemon.
Both the salt and the lemon will work in tandem with each other to keep your cucumbers firm for several weeks! But, how do you do it? Here’s how.
Once you have sliced up the cucumbers, cup up a fresh wedge of lemon, and then squeeze it all over the sliced cucumbers. Then, add a few pinches of salt into the container, and make sure that the solution is mixed properly within the container.
Not only is this going to ensure that your cucumbers remain fresh in the long run, but it’s also going to improve the taste.
Keep in mind that you can store your cucumbers this way for up to a week. The taste is likely to change slightly due to the addition of salt and lemon, but they are going to remain as fresh as ever.
4 – Cucumber Ice Cubes
Another excellent way to keep your cucumbers cool is to turn them into ice cubes. This might come as a surprise to most people, but it is actually quite doable. Turning the cucumbers into ice cubes is one of the quickest ways to get pre-cut cucumbers with minimal hassle.
Basically, the idea is simple: you can use these ice cubes when you are pressed for time and need to make food quickly. The cucumbers are going to be fresh within the freezer, there’s no doubt about that, and you can also freeze the cucumber for salads.
On top of that, you can also crush a few ice cubes and carrots and place them in the ice cube tray as well!
All you will have to do before using the cucumbers is pop the tray out of the freezer for at least an hour before you get started with the preparation. This will give the vegetables more than enough time to thaw out completely, and you can just put them in the bowl to create a quick salad.
Also, have you ever tried cucumber ice cubes in a drink? It can really improve the taste!
Instead of freezing a whole slice, you can also grate the cucumber and then place it in the ice trays. Grating the cucumbers is also going to help you add a bit more variety to your dishes.
If you are going to make sandwiches, using the grated cucumbers is a great idea, because you can thaw them out quickly and add them into your mixture.
5 – Pre-Made Salad Containers
Instead of placing the cucumber in ice trays, you can also cut it and place it in salad containers. You can create whole salads by chopping up other veggies and placing them in the container. Throw a few chunks of meat in the process as well, and then put everything in a nice container.
Then, any time you want to eat your salads, just take them out of the freezer, put them in a microwave for a couple of minutes, and get your healthy dose of a fresh salad!
6 – Create a Detox Drink
We have already talked about just how much water is found in cucumbers. You can always create a detox drink to take advantage of its hydrating properties!
Cut up a few lemon wedges and add some apple slices along with the mixture, and you can add them to the sliced cucumbers. Then, take a jug and fill it up with water. Put all the slices inside and leave it for an hour or so. Let the flavors mix with each other properly.
Then, you can use this detox water for the next three or four days. It’s going to remain fresh in the long run too, though it’s best consumed within the four-day time period.
As you can see, there’s no shortage of methods that you can use to make the cucumbers last longer. So, there’s no reason for you to stop eating this delicious vegetable!
I have a bachelor’s degree in Film/Video/Media Studies, as well as an associates degree in Communications. I began producing videos and musical recordings nearly 15 years ago. I am a guitarist and bassist in Southwest MI and have been in a few different bands since 2009, and in 2012 I began building custom guitars and basses in my home workshop as well. When I’m home, I love spending time with my three pets (a dog, cat, and snake) and gardening in my backyard.