How to Store Cucumbers, Keeping Them Fresh and Crunchy
Cucumbers are one of the most refreshing summer vegetables. Cool and crisp, they're splendid in side dishes, heavenly on dainty tea sandwiches, and scrumptious swirled into creamy tzatziki. You can even combine them with juicy watermelon, feta, and mint for the best salad of all time or slice 'em up to dunk in smoked salmon dip and homemade ranch dressing. Whether you grow your own cucumbers at home or buy them from a farmers' market or grocery store, they're a vegetable with many delicious uses. However, cucumbers are also the victim of forgetfulness. How many times have you opened your refrigerator drawer to find a forgotten cuke long past its prime?
There's not much worse than reaching for a cucumber to make zippy cucumber salad only to discover it has grown miserably soggy and slimy. But if you've noticed your cukes are going bad a little too quickly, it could be because of the way you're storing them. It turns out, tossing them straight into the crisper drawer may not be the best method for keeping them crunchy and fresh. Here's how to store cucumbers properly, so they last longer!
How do you keep cucumbers fresh longer?
The tricky thing about cucumbers is that you want to store them in a way that prevents moisture loss but also avoids too much moisture buildup. The solution? Wrap your cucumbers: it's an easy way to lock in moisture and keep them from ripening into mush. Cucumbers are sensitive to ethylene, a natural gas given off by some fruits and vegetables that can cause quick ripening, but a protective layer can help prevent exposure to that, too.
There are a few methods to wrap cucumbers and the first is simply with plastic wrap. This method acts as a second skin keeping the cucumber crunchy and fresh for longer. Just tightly wrap a cucumber and store it towards the front of the refrigerator (the front half of the crisper drawer works well!) where it's warmer—cucumbers don't love temperatures below 50 degrees! Another way to wrap and store cucumbers is by wrapping them in paper towels and storing them in a zip-top bag in the refrigerator. The paper towel helps wick away unwanted moisture preventing sliminess for longer but the bag holds in enough moisture so the cucumber doesn't dry out. With these methods, cucumbers can last about two weeks!
What's the best way to store sliced cucumber?
Similar to how you'd store a whole cucumber, it's best to pack sliced cucumber into an airtight container with a paper towel. The paper towel will absorb moisture but keep the slices from drying out. Cut cucumber doesn't last near as long as whole ones do, though, so it's best to slice a cucumber just before you use it.
Do cucumbers last longer in the fridge or on the counter?
Unless you're planning to use the cucumbers in the next day or two, always store them in the refrigerator. Countertop cukes may last about a week out of direct sun, which isn't bad, but they can last longer in the refrigerator.
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