When you begin gardening, you often think of the best things to grow. One of the most rewarding crops you can grow are cucumbers. While they deliver plenty of fruits, there are times when the cucumbers you pick begin to taste bitter.
You may think this is your fault, yet it is rare for any gardener not to have bitter tasting cucumbers.
As they are growing, there isn’t any way you can tell the cucumber will ultimately taste bitter. In most cases, you will find the reasons are down to the climate and conditions of the soil.
With this bit of knowledge, you can take some steps to try to avoid your cucumbers tasting bitter. In this guide, you can learn why are cucumbers bitter, and what you need to do to help prevent it from happening.
How Do You Get the Bitterness Out of Cucumbers?
When you are planting a garden for beginners, you need to know that cucumbers can be stressed as you go through the growing season. Much of this happens because of less than ideal growing conditions.
If there is a lack of water, temperatures are too hot and too cold, and more, this will leave you with bitter-tasting cucumbers. However, some types are bitter by nature.
The reason is, cucumbers contain some organic compounds such as cucurbitacin, and when they are shocked, the release of these causes them to taste bitter. If the levels are low, you can’t taste it, yet as it increases, then it is detectable.
Here are the best ways to make sure you don’t get bitter cucumbers.
Choose Your Site: When you site your cucumber plants, you need to make sure they are in a sunny spot, and you have planted them in rich soil. Most often, you need to add organic matter to get it to the ideal level of nutrients and to offer good drainage.
It is advantageous to use raised beds or mounds as the soil can warm earlier in the season and remain warm. You can work in a few inches of compost and manure before you come to plant in preparation, and as the season progresses, you can side-dress your cucumber plants with aged compost.
Spacing is also vital, and you need to plant your trellises around 8 to 12 inches apart. If you use mounds, these will need to be around 3-feet between each other.
Planting Cucumbers: Only sow your seeds or transplant cuttings when there is no danger of any frost falling. You need to be sure that soil temperatures are warm up to 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
Frost is one of the things that will cause bitter cucumbers because of stress. It is also advisable to protect your plants at night with row covers.
Mulch: As the soil temperature rises to about 70 degrees Fahrenheit, you need to begin reducing water evaporation. Do this by adding a thick layer of mulch, or use a thick plastic. You will also cut down on weeds that are vying for nutrients by using these.
Water: Cucumbers are mostly water, so they need plenty. Be sure the earth doesn’t dry whilst they flower, and fruiting or they will have a bitter taste. If there is a lack of water in early growth, then the bitter cucumber taste grows in the fruit.
Make sure you water deeply once or twice per week. Soil shouldn’t be dry when deeper than three inches.
Is It Ok to Eat Bitter Cucumber?
If your cucumber has high levels of cucurbitacin, it will cause the cucumber to have lots of bitterness. Besides a bitterness in the fruit, these compounds can be toxic. You can find that any fruit in the squash family can suffer the same as bitter cucumbers.
If you eat a severely bitter cucumber, you can end up with food poisoning or feelings of nausea, cramps, and other symptoms.
Does Rubbing Cucumbers Remove Bitterness?
When you find out why the cucumber is bitter, you will most likely wonder if you can get rid of the bitterness.
It may sound like a tale, yet some individuals say you can cut the ends of your cucumber. Doing this, you will see a white substance oozing from the end of your fruit. This cause a cucumber to be bitter.
One way to stop this is to rub the end of your cucumber on the cut end, and after a short time, the foam dissipates. Most often, you find this on the stem end of the cucumber.
You should also know that this cucurbitacin is mostly found in the skin of your cucumbers. However, if you don’t wish to peel your cucumber to get rid of this bitter taste, start rubbing the stem ends with the cut off a piece and see if the bitterness does go.
How Do You Make Cucumbers Taste Better?
As well as wondering how to make sure your cucumber tastes better and without the bitterness. You need to know, do cucumbers go bad?
You can rub the ends of your cucumber to get rid of bitterness, yet if they are older than one week and kept in the refrigerator, you may find them going off. Such a situation isn’t good for your family.
It may be possible to cut off the stem end or the other, yet if all of it is like soft, and then toss it in the trash.
Here are a few things that can help deliver a better tasting fruit, than wondering why cucumber is bitter all the time.
Cucumbers need protection against high temperatures, so make sure you have enough shade. Plant your cucumbers on the south side of taller crops like corn, or you can use shade cloth that will block around 40 to 50 percent of the sun.
Picking your cucumber at the right time is vital when you know what makes cucumbers bitter. You don’t even need to sign up with your email address to get these tips.
Mature sizes are around 6 to 8 inches from end to end for America Slicers. Middle Eastern is 4 to 6 inches, and if you are growing Asian varieties, these are about 8 to 12 inches.
Serving can be the last way to avoid the bitterness of your cucumber. Cut off an inch or two of the stem end and make sure you rinse the knife after cutting a slice.
Read more Edible Vegetable guides