How to Store Cucumbers

Updated: Feb. 28, 2024

Learn how to store cucumbers the right way and you'll never find a mushy cuke in the refrigerator again.

From salads to sandwiches, sauces to dips, cucumbers brighten up a recipe. Storing them for any length of time is the tricky part, as cucumbers have a notoriously short shelf life. Here’s how to store cucumbers to ensure they’re as firm and crisp as the day you picked them.

If you’ve harvested a lot of cucumbers and don’t want them to go to waste, consider preserving them with a recipe for cucumber pickles.

How to Choose Cucumbers

There’s a variety of cucumbers from which to choose and the rules for selecting the best are the same for all of them. Whether your harvesting cucumbers from your home garden or buying some at the farmers market, you want firm, unwrinkled veg with brightly-colored medium to dark green skin. Take a hard pass on cukes with soft or mushy spots. The same goes for black or white spots, which indicate the cucumber is overly ripe. An unusually heavy or waterlogged cucumber tells you it’s already pretty far along in the decaying process. Keep looking!

How to Store Cucumbers

washing english cucumber in the sinkandriano_cz/getty images

Once home, rinse your cucumbers in cool water. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), soap or a produce wash isn’t necessary. A clean produce brush is great for removing any dirt and debris. Just be careful with thin-skinned varieties like English cucumbers. Their delicate skin makes them prone to damage and dehydration, which is why you’ll often find them wrapped in plastic at the grocery store. It’s best to leave them in the plastic wrap until ready to eat.

After rinsing, thoroughly dry the cucumbers with a clean towel. Any moisture left on the veg when storing can expedite the rotting process. Wrap each cucumber in a paper towel and store in a zip-top bag. The paper towel acts as a barrier and prevents condensation from affecting the cucumbers. The bag helps hold humidity to prevent dehydration.

Once wrapped, store them in the warmest part of your refrigerator. Temperatures are often too cold in the crisper, triggering the cells in the cucumber to rupture and result in a mushy blob. The warmest area of your fridge, like the door or top shelf, is best.

Check your cucumbers occasionally for any signs of mushiness or discoloration and remove them from the bag.

Do cucumbers need to be refrigerated?

If you’ll be eating your cucumbers right away, a few hours on the countertop shouldn’t be a problem. You might even get a way with a few days. When kept too long at room temperature, however, cucumbers may begin to rot due to fluctuations in humidity. Your best option is the refrigerator, but not in your crisper drawer.

How do you store sliced cucumbers?

CucumberVictor Yee/Getty Images

If you prefer to slice your cucumbers before storing them, here’s what you need to know. Cucumbers dehydrate quickly and slicing them speeds up that process. As they lose moisture, cucumbers become soft and mushy. To combat that, store your sliced cucumbers in an airtight container filled with water. The water will keep your cukes crispy. Just be sure to change the water every two to three days.

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