Do you have a bumper crop of homegrown cucumbers this year? Learn how to store cucumbers from the garden with these simple tips!
Estimated reading time: 7 minutes
Our family LOVES cucumbers. We eat them raw as snacks, sliced on toast with cream cheese, in salads and even whipped into smoothies.
We've had some challenges growing cucumbers in our northern garden, though.
We're still working out exactly how much to plant for our family. And experimenting with different permaculture principles to find the best spot for them to grow.
Anyways, cucumbers are tasty and they're also great for you. According to The Cleveland Clinic, they help keep you hydrated. And they also include vitamins and minerals to help strengthen bones.
Use fresh cucumbers as a snack, side dish, or even sliced to add crips and refreshing flavor to your water.
In the summer, cucumbers are available in abundance allowing you to work them into your daily diet and preserve them to help get you through the long cold winter. Here are some simple ways to use and preserve cucumbers.
How to store cucumbers
Cucumbers are a bit harder to preserve than many other fruits and vegetables. Due to their high water content and limited uses, you may find it a bit tricky to come up with ideas. However, here are a few options to get started.
How to store cucumbers in the refrigerator
Extend the shelf life of your cucumbers by washing them in a vinegar and water solution. Then go ahead and store them in the produce drawer of your fridge.
And while we're on that topic, those are the drawers in the bottom of your fridge. They might even have a humidity setting.
These drawers are considered top real estate in our fridge. The girls and I think they should house fruits and vegetables. The guys think they're exactly the right size for beer.
Does anyone else have this issue?
In any event, the best way to preserve your cucumbers in the refrigerator is to make refrigerator pickles. These simple pickles will stay fresh in the refrigerator for several months and also crisp, unlike canned pickles.
Try our recipe for garlic dill pickles as a good basic refrigerator pickle recipe. Then if you enjoy it, try our recipe for pickled red onions. (I also have a maple bacon jam and balsamic onion relish recipe in the works.)
How to can cucumbers
The most common way to store cucumbers is by canning them. Pickles, which are cucumber-based, are a hugely popular canned snack.
Pickle brine recipes can be found online or experiment with your own.
And remember, to inhibit bacterial growth, you must use at least 50 percent vinegar in your brine solution.
Canned pickles tend to have a softer texture that can leave your pickles limp. You can find crystals designed to help maintain the texture of your pickles in the canning section.
Fun fact: Dan uses pickle juice as a base for some of his mixed drink recipes and some of his sauces and soups. But don't tell him I told you.
How to dehydrate cucumbers
You probably don't think of cucumbers when you think of dehydrating vegetables. Dehydrated cucumbers do have their limits. However, if you're wondering how to store the huge cucumber bounty you grew in your kitchen garden this summer, you might want to make your own cucumber chips.
Cucumber chips are great for those on a diet, including keto. They offer fewer carbs and fat than traditional potato chips and a lighter flavor than kale chips.
Even better? You can use nearly any flavoring combination you want. Cucumber chips are perfect for a garlic and dill dip.
Want to try your hand at dehydrating cucumbers? Here's a quick overview of how to dehydrate cucumbers.
- Slice your cucumbers with a mandolin slicer to get an even cut.
- Season as desired. Try sea salt and dill to start.
- Dehydrate the food at 135 degrees for 10 to 12 hours in a single layer in your dehydrator.
- Check to see if they're crispy.
How to freeze cucumbers
Often, cucumbers don't get frozen because of texture issues. Cucumbers have a high water content, so you might worry they'll get mushy. And if you try to freeze fresh cucumbers, they will indeed get mushy.
Freezing cucumbers involves freezing them in a brine solution, much like when making pickles.
This brine helps prevent freezer burn and maintains as much texture as possible. However, keep in mind that even if you rinse them, the brine flavor remains, which can limit uses for frozen cucumbers.
Another option is to dice cucumbers into small chunks and throw them into ice cube trays. Then add them to smoothies or water for a refreshing drink.
Ways to use fresh cucumbers
Before wondering how to store cucumbers, try to eat them fresh in as many dishes as you can.
After all, Cucumbers taste amazing when served fresh from the garden.
The high water content of fresh cucumbers make them a quick and easy addition to summer meals and snacks to help keep your family hydrated.
As the summer wears on you may find yourself with a great sale or an overabundance of cucumbers right from your garden. Here are a few more ways to use them.
Grilled cucumbers make a great side dish for your next summer cookout. Simply slice and season with your favorite seasonings and grill just enough to get the char lines and smoky flavor.
Cucumber sandwiches are a fun option for using your fresh cucumbers. These cool sandwiches make a great addition to tea while you relax in the shade on a hot summer day. Try them on artisan bread, sandwich bread, or even dinner rolls.
Salads with fresh cucumbers are a great idea for hot summer days. Your fresh cucumbers can even be the highlight of your salad. Serve it with onions, tomatoes, and herbs from the garden for a fresh summer taste.
Salsa made with cucumbers is a fun way to use up a lot of cucumbers. And for those people who do not like the flavor of cilantro, cucumbers are a great alternative. They add a cool flavor to spicy salsa.
Fruit smoothies are great for you, but they are even better when you hide some extra vegetables inside of them.
Try adding chunks of fresh cucumbers to your smoothies. They will blend right in and can make a great addition to everything from strawberry bananas to mixed berries smoothies.
Veggie noodles like zucchini and cucumber are gaining popularity as a low-carb portion to replace pasta noodles.
Use a spiralizer to turn your cucumbers into the perfect noodles for summer. Add olive oil and sun-dried tomatoes or try your favorite marinara sauce.
So Many Ways to Use Cucumber
Whether fresh, pickled, canned, dehydrated, frozen, grilled, or served fresh, I hope you got some new ideas of how to use cucumber from your garden. What else can I add to this list? Let me know in the comments below!