Gardening newbies tend to make one big mistake with their first garden, planting more vegetables than they could possibly use in one season. Even seasoned gardeners can go overboard with seed catalogs and make this common gardening mistake. Fortunately, many vegetables and fruits have long shelf lives. Some vegetables, such as cucumbers, don’t have a long shelf life but can be preserved in ways that extend the storage life. Continue reading to learn more about cucumber storage.
How Long Do Cucumbers Last?
Fresh cucumbers can last about two weeks if stored properly. They can be very specific about storage temperature, lasting longest when stored at 55°F. (13°C.). When storage temperatures are below 40°F. (4°C.), pitting will develop on the cucumber skin, and water-soaked spots may also form.
Keeping cucumbers in perforated bags provide aeration to the fruits, keeping cucumbers fresher longer. Before storing fresh cucumbers, wash them thoroughly, and remove any residual dirt or debris. Do not use soaps or abrasive materials. Rinse the cucumbers and let them completely air dry before placing them in ventilated plastic bags and storing in a cool, dry place.
Tips for Preserving Cucumbers
Cucumbers can also be prepared in recipes such as Greek salad and other cucumber salads, salsa or tzatziki sauce, then canned to get the most out of excess cucumber harvests. If you have a plethora of cucumbers and your family and friends no longer take your calls at harvest time, try preserving some in homemade cucumber jelly which adds a cool, crisp flavor when paired with chicken or pork.
Thinly slice extra cucumbers and place in a food dehydrator for long lasting, healthy cucumber chips. You can even put excess cucumbers in a fruit juicer and then freeze the juice into ice cubes for a refreshing, summery flair to ice water, lemonade or cocktails.
Of course, the most common way of preserving cucumbers is by making pickles or relishes with them. Properly preserved pickles and relishes will give cucumbers the longest shelf life. Only pickling varieties of cucumbers should be used to make pickles. With just a Google search, you can quickly end up headed down a never-ending rabbit-hole of pickle and relish recipes, so it helps to know a little about canning vegetables in advance.