Preserving Cucumbers: 5 Delicious Pickle and No-Pickle Recipes

preserving cucumbers
Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / artellliii72

Preserving cucumbers can be tricky if you're not a big fan of traditional pickling. Try these two pickling recipes and five non-pickling recipes to preserve your cucumbers.

If you aren’t a fan of pickles, preserving cucumbers can be a difficult task. There is a limit to how many people we can gift our harvest to. To solve this issue, we’ve put together two unique pickling recipes and 5 non-pickling recipes, so you can try out a few different ways to preserve your cucumbers.

Preserving Cucumbers: Tips & Tricks

Cucumber grow in abundance from May to November.
Cucumber grow in abundance from May to November.
(Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / sergei_spas)

Due to their high water content, cucumbers are harder to preserve. For best results, store your cucumbers no more than 2 weeks before preserving them.

Choose the Right Ingredients

The right vinegar can also make all the difference to your preserved cucumbers. You want to choose one with a 6 percent acidity –  white wine, or malt vinegar are suitable for this. Apple cider vinegar, while providing you with many health benefits, has slightly lower acidity, so is more suitable for chutneys over preservations.

For the following recipes, you will also need to be using salt flakes – you cannot use regular table salt. The salt draws out the excess moisture from the cucumbers and other vegetables, which will help keep them crisp, intensify their flavor, and improve their preservation by preventing the excess water from diluting the vinegar. Regular table salt tends to contain an anti-clumping agent which can make your preservations cloudy and discolored.

The reason you need to absorb as much moisture as possible before pickling is because softer, more watery vegetables, such as beans and cucumbers, are most likely to lose their bite sooner and therefore won’t preserve as long.

Sugar is also called for in most of these recipes. While granulated sugar is a common household staple, it is possible to use just about any sugar you have to hand. 

Tips for Storing Your Preserves

You will also need to prepare your jars and lids shortly before you need them by sterilizing them. Make sure you’re also sterilizing any funnels or spoons you’re going to be using too to eliminate the risk of bacteria or yeasts ruining your preservation.

Furthermore, you’ll want to make sure no cucumbers or vegetables are left sticking out of the vinegar solution. leaving a few centimeters of space at the top of the jar is recommended but letting your cucumbers dry out certainly isn’t. Pickling and preserving is not an exact science so don’t be afraid to play around with the quantities until you find what works for you. If all else fails, the end of a rolling pin will usually be able to push your vegetables back under.

In general, most of their recipes unless stated otherwise, should last several months if kept unopened in a cool, dark place.

Preserving Cucumbers: 2 Pickling Recipes

Slice or chop your cucumbers to make pickles.
Slice or chop your cucumbers to make pickles.
(Foto: CC0 Public Domain / Unsplash / Natalie Rhea )

Preserving cucumbers is an easy task if you don’t mind pickling them. We’ll show you two ways in which you can repurpose your summer harvest. 

1. Fridge Pickles 

Ingredients:

  • 2 cucumbers
  • 1½ tsp salt flakes
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 100ml vinegar
  • 50ml water
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ½ tbsp mustard seed
  • ½ tbsp celery seed
  • 3 garlic cloves

Instructions:

  1. Thinly slice the cucumbers and place them in a sieve over a bowl with the onion and sprinkle over the salt.
  2. Cover with ice and let stand for 1-2 hours in the fridge, then drain well. This helps make the pickles crunchier and can be skipped.
  3. Meanwhile, put the remaining pickling ingredients into a pan and gently heat for a few minutes until the sugar is dissolved. Set aside.
  4. Pack the cucumber and onion into sterilized jars and pour the liquid over them.
  5. Seal and leave in the fridge for a few days before opening.

Once open, keep in the fridge and use within two months.

2. Sweet Relish 

Ingredients:

  • 4 cucumbers
  • 1 onion
  • 1 small red bell pepper
  • 1 small green bell pepper
  • ⅓ cup salt flakes
  • ¾ cup vinegar
  • ½ tbsp mustard seeds
  • ½ tbsp celery seeds
  • 1½ cups sugar

Instructions:

  1. Finely chop the cucumbers, onions, and peppers and place them in a large bowl. Add salt and cover with water. Soak for 2 hours.
  2. Drain well and pat dry with a clean tea towel.
  3. Place the vinegar, mustard and celery seeds, and sugar into a pan and heat gently until the sugar is completely dissolved.
  4. Add the vegetables and bring to boil for 10 minutes. Remove from heat. 
  5. Pour into sterilized jars.

Seal and store in a cool place. Should keep for up to half a year if left unopened. Once open, keep in the fridge.

Non-Pickle Recipes for Preserving Cucumber

Apart from pickling, there are a few methods that you can use to extend the life of your cucumber harvest or to use them up before they spoil. One of the easiest methods is to simply infuse your drinking water with the cucumbers, though you can also make homemade tzatziki, or blend it with some yogurt for a moisturizing face mask. We’ve listed three recipes for preserving cucumbers below. 

1. Cucumber Chips

Thinly slice cucumbers and make cucumber chips!
Thinly slice cucumbers and make cucumber chips!
(Foto: CC0 Public Domain / Unsplash / Markus Winkler )

Try making cucumber chips as an alternative to potato chips. This method for preserving cucumbers is definitely unique, and also quite tasty. 

  1. Slice the cucumber super thinly with the help of a slicer.
  2. Season as you like.
  3. Spread out and use a dehydrator to dehydrate the chips for 4 hours
  4. Store in an airtight container and enjoy!

If kept in an airtight container, cucumber chips should last up to 2 months.

2. Cucumber Salsa

A great way of preserving cucumbers is to make a cucumber salsa.
A great way of preserving cucumbers is to make a cucumber salsa.
(Foto: CC0 Public Domain / Unsplash / Jamie Coupaud )

Cucumber salsa is a fun way to use up a spare cucumber or can be doubled to make large batches to be sealed in the fridge and eaten at a later date.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 onion
  • 1 tomato
  • Handful cilantro, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeño, finely chopped
  • 1 lime, juice of
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp vinegar
  • pinch of salt

Instructions:

  1. Chop the cucumber, onion, and tomato into ½-inch cubes and combine with the garlic and jalapeño. Set aside.
  2. Combine the remaining ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. Add the chopped ingredients to the larger bowl and toss until completely coated.

Place in the fridge for at least half an hour before consuming. If placed in a sealed container, this recipe can last up to a month in the fridge.

3. Cucumber Jelly

You can spread your cucumber jelly on toast and enjoy it with breakfast.
You can spread your cucumber jelly on toast and enjoy it with breakfast.
(Foto: CC0 Public Domain / Unsplash / Nathan Powers)

Great spread for sandwiches or even just on its own on sliced bread, cucumber jelly is a refreshing treat and the perfect way to preserve cucumber long-term.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cucumbers
  • 1¾ cups sugar
  • ½ cup vinegar
  • 1 pouch of pectin

Instructions: 

  1. Peel the cucumbers and blend into a paste. Push the paste through a sieve to get just the juice. You will need to do this a few times and the one final time through a cheesecloth or cheesecloth alternative. This should make around 1 cup of juice.
  2. Combine the juice, sugar, and vinegar in a pot and gently heat until the sugar is completely dissolved. 
  3. Add the pectin and turn up to a boil for 1 minute before removing from heat. 
  4. Pour into sterilized jars.

Seal and store in a cool place. Keeps for up to half a year unopened. Once open, keep in the fridge.

Simply Keep Your Cucumbers In the Fridge

Before preserving cucumbers, make sure to give them a good wash.
Before preserving cucumbers, make sure to give them a good wash.
(Foto: CC0 Public Domain / Unsplash / Eric Prouzet)

If none of those recipes fit into your schedule right now, it’s key to know how to keep them fresh in the short term. Although it may be tempting, don’t put your cucumbers straight in the fridge after you pick them! Try to keep them in a cool, dry place away from dampness as any moisture is likely to make them rot faster.

You also want to keep them away from tomatoes and bananas as well as this will also cause them to lose their freshness.

If you do need to keep them in the fridge, this is how to do it:

  1. Rise your cucumbers with regular water to remove dirt.
  2. Dry well with a clean cloth.
  3. Wrap in aluminum foil and keep in an open plastic bag if you have one on hand.

Cucumbers will last up to a month stored like this.

If you have the option, store your cucumbers in the middle of the fridge instead of the bottom as they are more likely to get too cold in a crisping draw. Because cucumbers are mostly water, they freeze very easily and crystallize, which causes them to lose some of their taste and texture. 

Preserving Cucumbers in the Freezer

Cucumber are a good source of electrolytes.
Cucumber are a good source of electrolytes.
(Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / Skitterphoto)

If you do accidentally let your cucumber get too cold in the fridge, don’t worry! You can still use it and embrace the cold.

  1. Rise your cucumbers with regular water to remove dirt.
  2. Slice into roughly ¼-inch slices.
  3. Place on a baking sheet and store in the freezer until completely frozen. 
  4. Remove from the tray and store in a sealed reusable freezer bag.

Cucumber preserved like this will last indefinitely and can be used in water as flavored ice cubes packed full of electrolytes, or to make drips and smoothies.

Read more:

** Links to retailers marked with ** or underlined orange are partially partner links: If you buy here, you actively support Utopia.org, because we will receive a small part of the sales proceeds. More info.

Do you like this post?

Thank you very much for voting!

Tags: