Cucumbers for Slicing and Pickling
By Melinda Myers
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[September 05, 2018]
all about timing when harvesting cucumbers for eating fresh or
preserving as dill or sweet pickles. Picking these low-calorie
vegetables ensures the best flavor, greatest nutritional value and
suitability for pickling.
Harvest cucumbers based on how you plan to use
them. Pick the fruit when it is 1½ to 2½ inches long if you plan on
making sweet pickles. Allow the cucumbers to grow a bit bigger,
three to four inches, if dill pickles are on the menu.
Allow them to grow longer, if you plan on using them fresh in
salads, beverages or for snacking. Harvest slicing cucumbers when
the skin is firm, bright green and the fruit is six to nine inches
long. You can leave burpless cucumber varieties on the vine a bit
longer. They have been bred to maintain their mild flavor when
harvested at ten to twelve inches in length.
Impress your family with the crisp, mild flavor of the long Japanese
cucumber. Pick these when they are 12 to 18” long. The flavor
remains mild and skin easy to digest despite the longer size.
Misshapen and bitter flavored cucumbers are usually the result of
drought, improper fertilization, and large fluctuations in
temperatures. These are safe to eat but may not have the best
flavor. Remove about an inch of the stem end and peel to remove some
of the bitter flavor.
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Compost poor quality fruit that is not suitable for
eating. Then adjust your care to ensure better quality cucumbers for
the remainder of the season.
These low-calorie vegetables are a good source of
fiber, potassium, and vitamin K. Plus, they have a high-water
content, making them a mild diuretic to help in weight loss and
reduce blood pressure. Enjoy cucumbers in chopped salads, chilled
soups or sandwiches. Or add a few slices to a glass of water for a
Cucumbers can also sooth and minimize eye puffiness. Just place a
few chilled slices of cucumber on closed eyes and relax.
No matter your desired use for this multi-purpose vegetable, harvest
it at just the right time to enjoy its many benefits.
[Photo credit: Melinda Myers, LLC]
Melinda Myers is the author of more than 20 gardening
books and is the host of The Great Courses’ How
to Grow Anything DVD series. Her website, www.MelindaMyers.com,
offers gardening tips and videos.