Cucumbers enhance summer salads and are a refreshing treat as a side dish or snack. But how should you store cucumbers to make them last as long as possible? With these tips, the vegetables stay fresh and crisp.
Whether you shred them into a salad, serve them with grilled food or eat them plain. The crunchy bite and refreshing taste of cucumbers is a welcome treat, especially on warm summer days. Cucumbers taste best when they land as fresh as possible on the plate or in the salad bowl. If you can’t use the vegetables immediately after buying them, they are usually stowed away in the refrigerator. But this is not at all the ideal place to store cucumbers.
How do cucumbers stay crisp?
Freshness starts with the purchase. When selecting cucumbers, look for a shiny, undamaged skin. If the vegetable appears dull, mushy or rubbery, it’s better to leave it. Also, wizened ends can be a sign that the cucumber has been on the vegetable shelf for a while. If you are going to eat the cucumber the same day, you can leave it in the kitchen until you are ready to eat it. If the vegetable is not to be prepared until later in the day, it should be stored in a cool, dark place. The ideal temperature for storing cucumbers is between 10 and 15 °C / 50 and 59 °F. Therefore, they are best kept in the cellar or pantry. It is important not to store cucumbers next to fruits and vegetables that emit ethylene. The ripening gas from tomatoes, apples, pears and co. causes neighboring fruit to spoil prematurely.
How long will cucumbers last in which storage?
There are several places where you can store cucumbers:
Store cucumbers open in the kitchen
If you would like to eat the cucumber on the day of purchase, it is advisable to simply place the vegetable on the kitchen counter until it is needed. In that case, store the cucumber in a perforated plastic bag.
Shelf life: a few hours, up to one day
Pantry or cellar as ideal places
Pantry and cellar are the best places to store cucumbers, because in these rooms are usually temperatures between 10 and 15°C / 50 and 59 °F and darkness. These are the perfect conditions for cucumbers.
Shelf life: two to three weeks
How long does a cucumber keep in the refrigerator?
Store a cucumber in the refrigerator for a maximum of four days. If it stays in there for a longer period of time, it will quickly become blotchy or yellow due to the cold. It will also take on a mushy consistency. This is because cucumbers are more than 90 percent water. As soon as temperatures drop below 4 °C / 39 °F, the green vegetable freezes. When thawed, it then becomes soft and inedible.
If you have neither a pantry nor a basement, the cucumber is best kept in the refrigerator after all, if it is not consumed on the same day. If possible, then put the cucumber in the vegetable compartment, where it is a little less cold.
Shelf life: seven to ten days
Storing cucumber after cutting
A cut cucumber will keep for about two days in the cool crisper. Open cuts should be covered with cling film, slices or cubes should be placed in sealable boxes.
Here’s a quick step-by-step guide to storing a cut cucumber:
- Wash the cucumber thoroughly before you cut it.
- Carefully rub the cucumber dry with paper towels.
- Cut off the desired piece of cucumber.
- Wrap the remaining cucumber in plastic wrap.
Can you freeze cucumbers?
Due to their high water content, cucumbers are only suitable for freezing to a limited extent, as they become mushy when thawed. However, you can still use frozen cucumbers to make soups, smoothies or refreshing mixed drinks. It’s best to slice or dice the vegetables before putting them in freezer boxes and freezing them. Stored this way, a cucumber will keep for several months.
Basic tips for storing cucumbers
- Do not store your fresh cucumbers with ripe apples and pears, melons or tomatoes. As they ripen, these fruits and vegetables produce ethylene, a gas that accelerates the ripening process of cucumbers and causes them to spoil quickly – literally.
- Refrain from freezing cucumbers. To store the green vegetable for a longer period of time, simply turn a salad cucumber into a pickling cucumber, which you can then easily store in the refrigerator – for several months.
- Cucumber lovers disagree on whether cucumbers sold in foil should be unwrapped afterwards or not. In fact, both variants have their justification: If no moisture is visible between the cucumber and the film, the latter remains – it protects the cucumber from moisture loss. However, if you discover damp spots between the vegetable and the film, the risk of mold is high, so it is better to remove the film.