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Food Hacks

The Best Way to Store Cucumbers in the Fridge + Expert Tricks to Keep Them Fresh Longer

Get your paper towels ready

Crunchy and cool, it’s no wonder cucumbers are such a popular fruit! Plus, they’re packed with vitamins and low in calories, making them a great snack or ingredient for culinary dishes. If you don’t like to turn them into pickles however, you may find that your cucumbers often spoil before you have a chance to enjoy them. So we asked food bloggers and cooking pros to share the best way to store cucumbers, plus other secrets on how to guarantee freshness!

The best way to store cucumbers

A cucumber stored in the fridge
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One of the reasons cucumbers tend to go bad? Improper storage, specifically in the cold. Many people place their cucumbers in the coldest part of the refrigerator, which can affect their texture and shelf life. “When cucumbers are stored at cold temperatures below 50°F (10°C), this can cause the flesh of cucumbers to become watery, resulting in a loss of crispness,” explains Jessica Chantilly, former chef and food blogger at Jecca Chantilly. “No one wants mushy cucumbers!”

Another common mistake? Leaving cucumbers in their original packaging. “Remove the plastic the cucumbers were purchased in immediately when you get home,” advises Aleka Shunk, founder and recipe developer of food blog Aleka’s Get-Together. “This will only trap moisture in which leads to spoilage.”

It’s also a good idea to make sure they’re separated from certain fruits in your fridge. “Keep cucumbers stored away from fruits like apples, avocados, and tomatoes, which produce ethylene gas,” Chantilly adds.  “Ethylene gas increases the rate of ripening and can cause cucumbers to spoil faster.”

The best way to store cucumbers if they are whole

Whole cucumbers
Yulia Naumenko/Getty

Proper ventilation is key for whole, untouched cucumbers, as excess moisture can result in the fruit becoming slimy and moldy. Yuck! The first step to keep them as crispy as possible? Wrap each cucumber in a paper towel.

“The towel will absorb any drop of excess moisture and ensure the cucumber is crisp and ready when you are,” says Melinda Keckler, content creator and recipe developer for The Crinkled Cookbook. “This trick helps keep the cucumbers fresh — with little or no risk of freezing. An unpeeled cucumber will stay fresh for up to five days using this method.”

You should also place the paper-towel wrapped cucumber in a partially-open plastic bag. Finally, keep it in the crisper drawer with the humidity set to low, or in the warmest part of the fridge, like near the front or in the door.

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The best way to store cucumbers if they are partially cut

A cucumber cut in half

There may be time that you need to only use part of a cucumber for a recipe. If you expect you’ll be consuming the rest and want to save it to enjoy, it can be done without compromising the taste.

Related: Cucumber Salad Is the Ultimate Summer Side — Here’s How To Make It Extra Crunchy

Brian Theis, cookbook author and recipe developer for The Infinite Feast, suggests tightly wrapping the cut end in plastic wrap. Then follow the steps above about wrapping the remainder of the fruit in a paper towel and storing in a baggie. This will ensure the exposed end stays fresh and doesn’t cause the rest of the cucumber to go bad before you can eat it.

The best way to store cucumbers if they are pre-sliced

Sliced cucumbers
Hubei territory Network Technology Co., Ltd/ 500px/Getty

You love having homemade salads for lunches throughout the week, and to save time you like to cut up the ingredients in advance. One of your go-to items? Cucumbers!

The best way to store sliced cucumbers? “Place on damp layers of paper towel in an airtight container,” suggests Theis. The paper towel will help absorb the excess moisture just like it does for an uncut cucumber.  

One note: Most cut slices will only be good for 2 to 3 days, even with proper storage. “Have a backup plan if they go limp — make gazpacho, pickles, smoothies, spread for tea sandwiches!” he adds. You can also consider one of these clever beauty hacks for your cucumbers.

How to tell if a cucumber is fresh

First, carefully inspect the ones you are buying from the store.  “When picking out cucumbers, go for ones that are firm to the touch and free of soft spots,” shares Chantilly. “Fresh cucumbers should have a vibrant color and no blemishes.”

Related: Buy More Produce To Spend Less, and Other Secrets To Save at the Farmers Market

Then, even when properly stored, cucumbers don’t have a lengthy shelf life. This can range from 2-7 days depending on whether it’s whole or sliced.

For the freshest taste, eating the fruit as soon as possible is always better! But when you can’t consume it right away, you may be wondering how to determine if it’s still good to eat.

“Fresh cucumbers should be hard and firm to the touch, so if they feel soft and mushy, that’s a good sign that they should be tossed,” says Chantilly. “Some other signs of spoilage include discoloration or yellowing and a slimy texture on the surface of the cucumber.” White or gray spots are another cause for concern. That means mold is growing and it’s time to toss the cucumber out!

For more food preservation hacks, keep reading!

Genius Storage Trick Prevents Peanut Butter From Separating — No More Oily Layer!

Easy Chef’s Trick Keeps Scallions Fresher Longer — Plus, It Saves You Time + Money

Genius Trick Reheats Roasted Veggies So They’re as Crispy as When You Made Them

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