Crisp, refreshing cucumbers straight out of the fridge are a fantastic healthy snack, whether they’re chopped up in a salad, blended into a soup or eaten like an apple (just us?). But when cukes are tossed into the fridge haphazardly, they have a tendency to rot and turn to mush—a major bummer when you’re in middle of food prepping and suddenly have to adjust your recipe to work without them.
Thankfully, there are steps you can take to help prolong the life of your cucumbers and avoid this sad situation. Here are four cucumber storage tips that will not only give you a few extra days to work with but also maintain that crunch factor.
1. Clean and Prep Your Cucumbers for Storage
There’s really no use in trying to salvage cucumbers that you scooped up from the grocery store or farmers market that are already a bit soft and starting to turn. Good on you for salvaging that ugly produce that many others probably passed on, but for cukes past their prime, it’s best to eat them right away. All cucumbers, however, whether you’re eating them right away or prepping them for storage, need to be scrubbed free of all dirt and wax. Grab a vegetable scrubber or even the rough side of your sponge, and rub the cucumber gently under running water.
2. Wrap Them Up in Dry Paper Towels
After your cucumbers are clean, wipe them with a dish towel to remove excess water, then wrap them in a paper towel before storing. Excess moisture can make cucumbers rot quickly—the exact opposite of what we’re trying to achieve here.
3. Plastic Is the Best Cucumber Saver
When it comes to storing cucumbers, baggies are the way to go. After wrapping your cukes in paper towels, reach for a plastic zip-top bag (if you don’t have one, a plastic grocery store bag works in a pinch) and put the cucumber inside, near the bottom. Place the bagged cucumbers on the counter and roll the bag tightly around them like a little green burrito.
4. Choose Your Fridge Placement Wisely
Now that your cucumbers have been optimized for longevity, it’s time to decide where they will live. The crisper drawer is probably your first thought, but make sure you don’t have any melon in there—melons produce a powerful ethylene gas that will speed up the aging process of your cukes. And don’t put the cucumbers too far back in the fridge or they will start to freeze, a process that turns the insides into crystalized mush.