Cucumbers are a nutritious and delectable addition to your meals. They are a versatile food that can be used in numerous ways—as an ingredient in a salad or a meal, a side dish, or eaten as a snack.
Cucumbers are watery vegetables that have a refreshing taste.
There are two main types of cucumbers, the slicing cucumbers, which can be eaten fresh and are usually included in a salad.
The other one is the pickling cucumbers which are smaller and are the type used to make pickles.
Ripe cucumbers are the best ones to consume. They should be dark green in color and pale green on the inside with white seeds at their center. Fresh cucumbers should be crisp and firm.
Cucumbers have high water content, therefore they have a shorter shelf life. It is important to learn how to determine whether cucumbers are good to eat or if they have turned bad.
You can usually recognize bad cucumbers by using your senses such as smelling, tasting, touching, and seeing to check if they are spoiled already or are still edible.
Here are five signs of spoilage that indicate if your cucumber has gone bad.
1. Softness and Wrinkles
Good cucumbers should be firm to the touch. You can distinguish if a cucumber is bad with its firmness and texture.
Check for soft spots on the surface, something that you can press into with your finger.
Although if only one end of the cucumber is soft, you can still use the firm part and cut the rest of the soft part off.
2. Sliminess and Moisture
The physical appearance of a cucumber can help distinguish if it is rotten or not.
Moisture or wetness on the surface of the cucumber is an indication of spoilage.
Bad cucumbers that are sliced tend to have a milky, soft and slimy texture and get translucent in color.
Mold growth on the surface of the cucumbers is easily visible.
You should not eat cucumbers that have mold on the surface as particles of mold can spread and contaminate the entire cucumber due to its watery flesh.
Cucumbers that have dark spots or blemishes on the skin are signs of cucumbers going bad.
5. Foul Odor and Sour Taste
Cucumber develops a foul odor and a sour taste when it turns bad.
Cucumbers aren’t naturally sour, so when it gets sour in taste, plus gives off a repugnant smell, they are spoiled and not suitable to consume.
How Long Do Cucumbers Last?
Cucumbers last from 1 to 2 weeks when properly stored.
It is important for cucumbers to be stored properly to maintain optimal freshness and to extend their shelf life.
Sliced and peeled cucumbers spoil faster than whole, unpeeled cucumbers since their protective skin is still intact, which protects from deteriorating quickly.
Should You Refrigerate Cucumbers?
Room temperature is ideal for cucumbers but if you want to refrigerate them, you can do so.
According to the American Heart Association, cucumbers will last for 1 to 3 days after being removed from the refrigerator. (source)
Keeping it in the refrigerator for more than 3 days can cause chilling injury that can accelerate its decay.
Wrap them with a paper towel or place cucumbers in a plastic bag. Put them in the crisper drawer or keep them in the warmest area in the refrigerator, like near the door.
Cucumbers are sensitive and are more prone to spoilage and over-ripening when exposed to the ripening agent, ethylene. This gas is produced by the ripening of some fruits and vegetables such as melons, tomatoes or bananas so make sure to keep your cucumbers away from these types of fruits and vegetables to avoid quick decay.
Can You Freeze Cucumbers?
Freezing cucumbers is not recommended as cucumbers don’t freeze well.
Since they have high water content and are high in moisture, frozen cucumbers turn into ice and create a mushy and wilted texture when thawed.
How Long Do Cucumbers Last When Cut?
Cut or sliced cucumber lasts for 1 to 2 days in the fridge. Cover the cut end of the cucumbers with a paper towel or plastic wrap to keep the exposed flesh from drying out. Place the cucumbers in an airtight container.
What’s the Difference between an Overripe and Bad Cucumbers?
Overripe cucumbers are ones who have been left too long on the vine before being harvested. They develop smooth and yellowed skin.
Overripe cucumbers are still edible, while bad cucumbers are definitely not suitable for consumption as they can lead to foodborne illnesses.
Are Soft Cucumbers Bad?
Soft cucumbers are one of the signs that the cucumbers are aging. It is important to check for signs of spoilage on the cucumber such as mold and spotting.
What Should You Do With Soft Cucumbers?
If your cucumber has a few soft spots and is not that crisp anymore, you can use it for blended dishes that call for pureed cucumber. When cucumbers become soggy, you can mix them with other ingredients and blend them instead.
You can use it to make a cucumber soup, an addition to your tzatziki sauce, add to cocktails, or create refreshing cucumber smoothies or juices.
What Should You Do With Overripe Cucumbers?
Cucumbers that are overripe are not very good for eating but they are still edible and can be great to make into pickles, provided that they are not too bitter.
If the skin is undesirable but the inside is still fine, you can peel the skin off and scoop out the seeds to reduce its bitterness.
You can also grind them or cut them into chunks, then add onion and other spices for some yummy homemade pickle relish.
It is important to be able to tell whether your cucumbers are good or bad, if they can still be eaten, be made into homemade pickles, or be thrown in the trash. Enjoy your fresh and delectable cucumbers and pair them with many dishes.
Eat them raw, add them to your water for that refreshing cucumber water, pair them with other fruits and vegetables, or make fresh salads.