Cucumbers are mildly sweet, refreshing treats that are great straight from the garden or used in your favorite recipes. One of the best things about them is their crisp, crunchy texture.
But with so many different options out there for how to store cucumbers, how do you decide which method is best for you?
Read on to learn about the different preservation methods you can try out at home, and find answers to some common questions about how to store cucumbers.
You’ve got options when it comes to how to store cucumbers. There are ways to store cucumbers at room temperature, in the refrigerator, and even in the freezer. You can also choose whether to store your cucumbers in whole or cut forms.
How Long Do Cucumbers Last?
How long you can keep your cucumbers without compromising their quality depends on a few factors.
Cucumbers from a supermarket usually have a shorter lifespan than those harvested from your home garden or purchased at a local farmer’s market.
The preservation method you use will also determine how long your cucumbers will last.
Read on for the simple steps for each cucumber storage method that you can take to start storing cucumbers like a pro.
Storing Whole Cucumbers
If you want to keep your cucumbers in whole form, you can store them at either room temperature or in the fridge.
This is considered the best way to store cucumbers and it will give your cucumbers a good amount of shelf life.
The main thing to consider when it comes to how to store cucumbers at room temperature is the ambient temperature of your home.
If you have a cool place to store your cucumbers with a consistent temperature of around 55 degrees, they may last longer in your kitchen pantry than they would in the fridge.
Keep your cucumbers out of direct sunlight and away from heat sources. Inside a cupboard or pantry is a better choice than the kitchen counter.
Homegrown cucumbers can keep like this for up to about two weeks.
In the Fridge
If storing whole cucumbers at room temperature doesn’t work for you, then your next best option is to keep them in your fridge. Follow these steps for the tastiest refrigerated cucumbers.
1. Clean Your Cucumbers
If your cucumbers are store-bought, remove any packaging they came in.
Then wash them in cool water to remove any dirt or grime.
2. Make Sure They Are Dry
After washing the cucumbers, dry them thoroughly.
Next, wrap your clean, dry cucumbers loosely in a dry paper towel.
Cucumbers naturally lose moisture as they ripen. The towel will absorb some of this sweat, preventing a buildup of condensation that could cause them to shrivel or mold.
3. Put Them in a Plastic Bag
Storing refrigerated cucumbers in plastic bags maintains an optimum moisture level and helps keep them in temperature.
After cleaning, drying, and wrapping your cucumber in a paper towel, place it inside a plastic bag.
If the bag is resealable, leave it open. Airflow is necessary to prevent condensation buildup.
4. Find the Right Place in the Fridge
How to store cucumbers correctly in refrigeration is all about location.
Find a spot that doesn’t get too cold, since cucumbers are susceptible to chilling injury if stored below about 45 degrees.
Chilling injury damages cucumbers at the cellular level, giving them a water-soaked appearance and preventing them from ripening normally.
The warmest parts of the fridge are the door and the aptly named crisper drawer, which provides the added benefit of protecting its contents from the fans that blow dry air through the main part of the fridge.
Storing Cucumber Slices
Storing cut cucumbers isn’t ideal for prolonging their shelf life, but there’s a best way to do it when you need to.
Whether you’re prepping mise en place or stashing ready-to-eat snacks, here’s how to store cut cucumbers and keep them crunchy.
First, find a container the right size for the slices you’ve prepped, with a few inches of extra room.
Then, fill the container with cool water. Close the lid and store in the fridge, preferably in the crisper.
How Long Will Slices Last in the Fridge?
Store-bought cucumbers kept whole will last about four to six days in the fridge. Your home harvest should last one to two weeks using the same preparation.
Cut cucumbers and slices will only be good for a day or two.
When considering your options for how to store cucumbers, don’t forget pickling as a means for storing cucumbers long-term.
Making your own pickles is especially helpful if you’ve got a bigger harvest than you can handle.
Like some of the other cucumber storage methods, canning cucumbers can be done in a couple of different ways.
Water Bath Method for Home Canning
Water bath canning is a method for preserving jams or pickled produce at home.
It involves submerging jars into boiling water and cooling them to create a seal that’s shelf-stable for dry storage.
Relish, Salsas, and Jellies
Canning cucumber relishes, salsas, jellies, and jams is another great way to store your cucumbers for use at a later date.
A simple relish can be a major crowd-pleaser, especially if there are hotdogs around. Check out this relish recipe made specifically for beginners who are new to canning.
How Long Will Canned Cucumbers Last?
Your homemade pickles or canned cucumber accoutrements will have a shelf life of about one year.
You may be wondering, “Can you freeze cucumbers?”
Absolutely! Freezing is another great option for how to store cucumbers long-term. Like canning, freezing will give you about a year of storage for cucumbers.
Check out our post on Freezing Cucumbers for a deep dive into this process, including detailed, step-by-step instructions.
Frozen Juice/Puree Option
One great way to store cucumbers in the freezer is by making cucumber juice or puree.
Pour the cuke juice into an ice cube tray. Throw the cubes into a resealable bag when they’re solid. Now you’ve got a perfect serving to toss in the blender for smoothies!
When Should You Throw Out a Cucumber?
Pick up a cucumber and you’ll be able to tell by touch if it’s still good. When it’s past its prime, the skin will start to get soft.
While you could still safely eat a slightly squishy cucumber, its texture is telling you that the flavor is also compromised. As it perishes, the cucumber’s sweet taste fades and is replaced with an increasingly bitter one.
If you see mold on your cucumber, it’s time to say goodbye. The fruit has begun to rot, and your safest bet is to re-home it to the compost bin.
Now You Know How to Store Cucumbers
You’ve learned all about the different options for how to store cucumbers. Freezing and pickling are your two best options for how to store cucumbers with the longest possible shelf life, giving you about one year to enjoy your cucumbers.
All that’s next is to decide which cucumber storage method to try out first!
Ready to continue discovering these funky fresh vegetables? Then learn more about cucumbers by checking out my planting guides, recipe tips, brand suggestions, and more!