How to Store Cucumbers
The cool crunch of cucumber in our salads is the song of summer. Yet, despite the many salads we eat, we sometimes can't seem to use up as many of our garden cukes as we'd like. That leaves us with another conundrum: how to store cucumbers so they stay fresh. The cucumber is a tricky vegetable to store, but we'll tell you the best way to do it so your cukes keep their crunch.
How Long Do Cucumbers Last?
When stored properly, cucumbers can last up to one week in the refrigerator. This timeframe is applicable to both whole cucumbers and sliced cucumbers. If you're looking for a long-term storage solution, you could try freezing cucumbers.
How to Store Whole Cucumbers
- Wash cucumbers and dry them thoroughly.
- Place cucumbers in the warmest spot of your refrigerator This is usually near the front of your fridge, or on the door.
How to Store Cut Cucumbers
If you sliced your cucumbers and aren't ready to eat them yet, here's how to store them:
- Place cucumber slices in a container with a lid.
- Fill the container with water and store in the refrigerator.
This method works really well—the cold cucumbers keep their crunch as they're shielded from the dry air in the fridge.
Pictured recipe: Tomato Salad with Lemon-Basil Vinaigrette
How to Freeze Cucumbers
Whether it's a whole cucumber or cucumber slices, learn how to freeze cucumbers. Freezing cucumbers is convenient, but keep in mind that it's not ideal for every recipe. While a fresh cucumber is crisp in texture, a frozen one will turn mushy. You'll want to skip using a frozen cucumber in a salad or sandwich, but you can stick them in a blender and puree them to use in a smoothie or in gazpacho. Or, you can strain the cucumbers to separate the pulp from the liquid to make cucumber water. The liquid does have a very strong flavor, so you'll have to add water if you want a more mellow taste.
Debunking Common Ways to Store Cucumbers
Common Practice #1: Kitchen Counter
One common misconception is that cucumbers do best stored on the counter at room temperature. While a fresh cuke can hold its own at room temp for a little while, it's probably not going to yield the results you expect if you don't get to it in a day or two. While it's true that cucumbers can experience "chilling injury" at temperatures below 50℉ (pitting, softening, etc.), cucumbers do need to be refrigerated. To avoid "chilling injury," keep cucumbers in the warmest part of the fridge, away from the cooling elements and toward the front.
Common Practice #2: Wrapped in a Paper Towel and Refrigerated
This method involves wrapping clean cucumbers in paper towels, placing them in a zip-top plastic bag or plastic wrap and storing them in the refrigerator. This practice doesn't hurt the cucumbers, but it is unnecessary. An unwrapped cucumber and a wrapped cucumber both stay equally crisp in the refrigerator for about 6 days before they begin to soften.
A Longer-Term Storage Solution
If you're looking for long-term storage solutions, consider pickling your cucumbers! If that sounds like a daunting project, know that you don't have to commit to the whole canning process. Check out our guide on How to Pickle Anything (no canning required!) so you can enjoy your garden cucumbers for up to a month—or longer if you preserve them.