Fresh cucumbers are delicious, crunchy veggies that are the perfect healthy snack. Cucumbers are great to have on hand year-round, as they're easily found at the grocery store. One issue with cucumbers is their high water content, which makes them a bit tricky to store.
Cucumbers contain 96% water per volume, putting them on par with iceberg lettuce. Surprisingly, cucumbers have more water content than watermelons. Even though they can be a bit finicky to store, they're well worth the extra work. We are sharing our best cucumber storage tips, so you always have some ready to eat.
How to Store Cucumbers
When you purchase whole cucumbers from the store, the first thing to do is to wash and dry them. Once they are completely dry, wrap them in a paper towel. The paper towel works to absorb any excess moisture coming off the cucumber. Take the paper towel-wrapped cucumbers and place them in a plastic bag.
Cucumbers need air circulation to thrive, so leave a corner of the bag open. Freezing cold cucumbers can acquire chilling injuries like wilting and pitting, so store them around 50 degrees Fahrenheit. The warmest parts of the fridge will be the middle and top shelves.
You can store unwashed cukes in the crisper drawer, just make sure to check it's not too cold.
Cucumbers are very sensitive to ethylene gas, so keep them away from tomatoes, melons, and bananas.
How to Store Cut Cucumbers
Ideally, you'd want to use cucumber slices right away to prevent spoilage. However, if you find yourself with some extra sliced cucumber, do not fear.
You can preserve a large chunk of cucumber by wrapping tightly in plastic wrap and storing it in the fridge.
For cut cucumbers, you can place a damp paper towel in an airtight container and lay the slices on top. The damp towel will seal in some of their moisture.
Best Type of Container for Storing Cucumbers
If you want the best shot at keeping your cucumbers fresh, wrap them first in plastic wrap, then seal them in an airtight container. A good plastic or glass storage container with a tight-fitting lid is the way to go.
How Long Do Cucumbers Last?
You'll want to use your fresh cukes as soon as possible, though they can have a two-week shelf life by storing them properly.
Sliced cucumbers stored correctly still need to be eaten within 3-4 days for optimal freshness.
Whole cucumbers do pretty well when left at room temperature. The key is to keep them away from ethylene-producing fruits and out of direct sunlight. You can also wrap them in a paper towel and keep them inside a bag on the countertop.
If you need long-term storage for your cucumbers, you can freeze cucumbers. Frozen cucumbers will get a mushy texture when defrosted, but retain their great flavor. You can store frozen cucumbers whole, peeled or unpeeled, and even sliced.
How to Use Leftover Cucumbers
If you picked up too many cucumbers on your last trip to the farmer's market, we've got some great cucumber recipes to try out. My favorite way to use leftover cucumbers is to pickle them. Pickling cucumbers is incredibly easy.
If you're short on cucumbers, zucchini is a great substitute for pickles. To make pickles, you'll need to make a brine of vinegar, cold water, salt, peppercorns, and spices. Once your cucumbers are sliced, add them to the brine and add them to a tightly sealed jar.
You can store them in their pickling jars in the fridge for several weeks.
Get the recipe here.
Pickled cucumbers make a great condiment or midday snack. A tomato cucumber salad is a great healthy side dish that vegetarians and meat-eaters will love.
Another popular cucumber salad is an Asian cucumber salad. Cucumbers are tossed in a dressing of soy sauce, ginger, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, maple syrup, and garlic. This umami bomb salad amps up the flavor of the crunchy cucumber.
Frozen cucumbers are great for adding to smoothies or blending up in gazpacho. You can store grated cucumbers in ice cube trays and enjoy cucumber popsicles on a hot day.