When it comes to selecting the right cucumbers, flavor and freshness are everything. As such, maintaining the shelf life and quality of your produce is absolutely critical.
Here are 4 key points to keep in mind if you want to get the greatest shelf life out of your cucumbers.
1. LIMIT ETHYLENE EXPOSURE
Ethylene is a gas emitted by many fruits and vegetables as they begin to ripen. While non-toxic to humans, exposing this gas to ethylene-sensitive produce like cucumbers can cause them to spoil prematurely. If you’ve ever noticed a yellow discoloration in your cucumbers, it’s likely a result of storing them too close to ethylene-producing produce, such as apples, grapes and peaches.
2. CONSIDER THE HUMIDITY LEVELS
Humidity is one of the most important factors when it comes storing your produce. For cucumbers, the optimal humidity level to store them at is 85-95%. Storing them in conditions with a lower humidity level than this can cause the cucumbers to shrivel prematurely. Instead, try storing the cucumbers in your fridge’s humidity-controlled drawers, with the level set to high.
3. TEMPERATURE CONTROL
Many types of produce are preserved best when stored at room temperature, and many others are preserved best when refrigerated. For cucumbers, the optimal storage temperature is between 50-60˚F. Storing your cucumbers at a temperature higher than this could result in premature softening, eliminating the signature crunch that a cucumber provides.
4. CAREFUL INSPECTION
When selecting the perfect cucumber for your next meal, it’s important that you first give it a quick—and careful—inspection. If the cucumber has soft or sunken ends, it’s an indication that it has overly-matured. The ideal cucumber should be firm from end to end.