How to Store Cucumbers

If you're simply tossing them in the produce drawer, you're doing it wrong.

May 24, 2023
High angle of cut ripe cucumber and halved lime on wooden chopping board near lemonade with ice cubes and cherry tomatoes

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High angle of cut ripe cucumber and halved lime on wooden chopping board near lemonade with ice cubes and cherry tomatoes

Photo by: Alberto Rojas Garcia/Getty Images

Alberto Rojas Garcia/Getty Images

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Whether you have plucked them fresh from your garden or brought them home from the store, proper storage is crucial in preserving cucumbers' signature crunch, clean taste and nutritional value. Without it, cucumbers become soft, slimy and moldy. Keep reading to unlock the surprising secrets to maximizing the life of your cucumbers. From ideal storage temperatures to clever packaging techniques, this article will review all you need to know, ensuring you have a steady supply of these garden gems.

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Photo by: Grace Cary/Getty Images

Grace Cary/Getty Images

How to Choose the Best Cucumbers

No matter the variety, select cucumbers that are firm and unwrinkled with vibrant color. Avoid any that appear soft, discolored or have small signs of decay. Remove any store packaging.

How to Store Cucumbers

Step 1: Clean the Cucumbers

Gently rinse the cucumbers in cool running water to remove any dirt or debris. Pat completely dry with a clean towel, as moisture can expedite their spoilage.

Step 2: Wrap Up the Cucumbers

Wrap each cucumber in a paper towel and place them together in a zip top bag. Store this bag in the warmest zone of your refrigerator, like the door or upper shelves.

Step 3: Check Your Cucumbers Periodically

Check on your cucumbers periodically and remove any cucumbers that show signs of decay, such as mold or mushiness. This prevents the spoilage from spreading to the other cucumbers.

How to Keep Cucumbers Fresh

The method of wrapping the cucumbers in paper towel cocoons is effective because it protects the cucumbers against inevitable condensation that collects in the bag. The paper towels essentially create a barrier that wicks away the moisture that leads to decay, allowing the cucumbers to last far longer than normal, typically 10 to 12 days. This storage ensures that the cucumbers remain fresh far longer than store-bought packaging allows.

If you have an abundance of cucumbers and want to preserve them, consider methods like pickling or canning, which will maintain the cucumbers’ texture and flavor for an extended period. Look no further than these Cucumber and Carrot Pickles for the perfect homemade pickles.

Hands of woman preparing vegetable for a fresh salad

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Hands of woman preparing vegetable for a fresh salad

Photo by: Hinterhaus Productions/Getty Images

Hinterhaus Productions/Getty Images

How to Store Cut Cucumbers

Surprisingly, once a cucumber is sliced, moisture loss is the greatest threat to freshness. Store sliced cucumbers in an airtight container, covered in water. The water will prevent the cut cucumbers from drying, shrinking or softening. Be sure to change the water every 2 to 3 days, to maintain freshness. We love this technique when preparing ahead of time for a big batch of Cucumber Salad.

Do Cucumbers Need to Be Refrigerated?

Contrary to what you may think, cucumbers are most comfortable in a cool and dry environment that is warmer than refrigeration allows (50 to 55 degrees F). This is why we recommend storing them in the warmest zone of your refrigerator, like the door. Shockingly, cucumbers will survive without refrigeration for several days. However, countertop storage at room temperature is not recommended for extended time periods as cucumbers are sensitive to temperature changes and humidity.

Tips for Storing Cucumbers:

  • Place a metal spoon in the bag with the cucumbers to help alleviate changes in temperature.
  • Ensure that the cucumbers are stored away from ethylene-producing fruits like tomatoes, apples, and bananas. Ethylene can cause cucumbers to ripen and spoil more quickly.
  • Avoid placing cucumbers near foods with strong odors as they absorb odors easily.
  • Keep temperature and storage method consistent to avoid chilling injury. Do not leave cucumbers at room temperature for more than an hour or two once refrigerated.

Photo by: Armando Rafael

Armando Rafael

Can You Freeze Cucumbers?

Yes, but freezing cucumbers will result in a loss of their characteristic crunch. Freezing cucumbers change their texture significantly, resulting in a mushy and watery consistency once thawed. While freezing, the water in the cucumber cells expands and ruptures the cell walls, resulting in a loss of overall crispness.

Use the freezer as an option for long term storage of cucumbers that will be pureed – think cold soups, salsas and beverages. We recommend using frozen cucumbers in recipes where the texture change is less noticeable, like our Green Gazpacho (pictured above) or this Cucumber-Mint Water

Make sure the cucumbers are dry before freezing in airtight freezer-safe containers or bags.

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