Say goodbye to slimy cucumbers! Learn what causes that unsightly slime on your cukes, plus how to handle it and prevent it in the future.
person washing cucumbers
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Cucumbers can be delicious and crunchy at their peak. But if you've ever pulled a cuke out of your fridge in preparation for a tangy and refreshing vinegary salad only to be met with a slimy texture, it could turn you off from the healthy veggie altogether. So, what causes the repellent slime? And can you prevent it with proper storage? Glean more ahead.

Why Are My Cucumbers Slimy?

The light-white or clear coating of slime you may find on your cucumbers is a sign that the rotting process has begun, and it's just matter of time before they totally spoil. 

Is It Safe to Rinse and Eat Slimy Cucumbers?

Unfortunately, giving your slimy cucumbers a good rinse won't save them and make them safe for eating. They have begun to rot and it is best to simply toss out your slimy cucumbers, or better yet add them to your compost bin. To avoid slime in the future, store your cucumbers properly (more on that below) and enjoy them, ideally, within 7 to 10 days, says Ann Ziata, a chef at the Institute of Culinary Education.

How to Choose the Freshest Cucumbers

A soft and squishy texture is another common cucumber affliction. It also can be a side effect of improper storage, so make sure the ones you're purchasing are fresh and firm from the start. Ziata recommends testing this "by pressing the ends, since this is where the cucumber will start to soften first." Make sure your cucumber ends are firm before you decide to take them home!

How to Store Cucumbers

Cucumbers need to be cool, but not too cold, in the fridge, so your best bet is to store them in a slightly warmer spot near the door. As with other veggies, whole cucumbers will last longer than chopped pieces, so unless you're planning to eat them within the next day or so, keep 'em whole for the best outcome. 

"Cucumbers have a high water content, and excess moisture will cause them to spoil faster. Wash off any dirt or grime, and dry each one well. Wrap each cucumber in a paper towel to absorb excess water and, finally, store in a closed but not airtight plastic bag or container, so as not to trap in any moisture," says Ziata.

Bottom Line

Toss any slimy cucumbers, because the slime is a sign that they have begun to rot. To use up your fresh cucumbers before it's too late, make them the star of a simple Cucumber Sandwich or pair them with other crunchy veggies, like in this recipe for Loaded Cucumber & Avocado Sandwiches