Cucumbers are much more than just a topping that comes on salads or the eye masks women use in spas when getting some R&R. When eaten regularly, cucumbers provide a ton of health benefits such as lowered blood sugar and aided weight loss, and they even help to keep you regular.
Not surprisingly, cucumbers are best when they're perfectly ripe since they feature a firm texture that's fun to crunch on and a refreshing taste on the inside thanks to their high water content (they're 96 percent water). The color of a ripe cucumber on the inside is pale green and white with seeds in the center.
Figuring out how to tell if cucumbers have gone bad, however, can be difficult since you can't see what's fully going on inside without slicing into it. Luckily, these tips should do the trick.
How to Know if a Cucumber Is Bad
If you're trying to figure out if a cucumber has gone bad, start with two of the five senses: taste and touch.
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Cucumber feels slimy: When cucumbers have gone bad, it's not uncommon for them to develop a slimy texture on the surface. It may even be white in color along with black spots on the skin, which indicate that mold is present. Ripe cucumbers are firm, so when its texture has turned flimsy, soft and mushy, then it's also gone bad.
Cucumber tastes sour: Cucumbers are not naturally sour, so it’s not a good sign if a cucumber tastes sour. Another reason for the sour taste in cucumbers is if the cucumber plant was not watered regularly while growing. This can cause the plant to become stressed and produce a sour taste. However, it’s important to note that bitterness is much more common with cucumbers because of a soil or climate condition gone awry.
How Long Is a Cucumber Good in the Fridge?
When you pick up a cucumber at the grocery store or farmers' market, there’s a good chance that it was originally stored at room temperature instead of being chilled. You might be surprised to learn that you should be storing your cucumbers at room temperature once you bring them home instead of storing them in the fridge.
When you do store them in the fridge, however, cucumbers can last for around three to five days and sometimes even a week. Avoid having your fridge lower than 50 degrees Fahrenheit since this can cause what is called “cold injury” on the cucumbers. This leads to wateriness, accelerated decay and pitting.
What's the Difference Between English Cucumbers and Regular?
Even though there are over 100 different types of cucumbers, it's English cucumbers that are some of the most recognized. So, what's the difference between English cucumbers and regular anyway?
- The English cucumber has a long, thin shape that is often two times the size of a regular cucumber.
- English cucumbers have a smooth skin that is without bumps unlike other varieties such as pickling cucumbers. The color is also a dark green.
- Regular cucumbers, also known as "slicing cucumbers," have a waxy skin and a dark-green color. They can be stored without plastic wrap unlike English cucumbers, which need to be covered due to their thin skin.
- The taste of regular cucumbers is more bitter, which may be why they are less expensive than English cucumbers.
- If you're trying to figure out which cucumber is best for weight loss, any kind of cucumber will do since they are low in calories. If ultimate freshness in cucumbers is what you’re looking for, then slicing cucumbers are perfect.
Sarah is a multi-platform writer and editor. Her work has appeared in USA Today, Vital Proteins, Healthline, Diply, and more. When she's not writing, she's trying to keep up with her border collie, Emmy.