Cucumbers are another delicious summer treat that we tend to munch on in our homes. We use them for fresh salads and snacks. There is just something about that first crisp, cool bite into a cucumber that you really can’t beat.
If you’re craving some crunch but don’t want to snack on chips, try a cucumber. You can dip them in various dips or use your favorite dressing if you need some additional flavor. Many people use cucumbers to make appetizers and low-carb solutions for sandwiches.
Do cucumbers need to be refrigerated? Cucumbers do not need to be refrigerated if they have not been cut into. Cut cucumbers are best kept in the refrigerator, but whole cucumbers should be kept at room temperature. Cucumbers can last 2-3 weeks at room temperature, but may only last one in the fridge.
You will hear a lot of mixed information here but the truth is that cucumbers that haven’t been cut actually do better at room temperature than they do in the chilly temperature of the fridge.
In this guide, we will walk you through everything you should know about properly storing cucumbers, including how and where to store them. We will also cover some additional information about how long cucumbers last and tips for keeping them crisp.
Keep reading to learn about cucumbers and refrigeration and so much more.
A Complete Guide to Storing Cucumbers
Cucumbers are one of those things that people often think should be stored in the fridge. However, the experts tell us that maybe the fridge isn’t really the best idea for taking care of cucumbers.
While storing cucumbers in the fridge is not necessarily harmful to them, it might actually diminish the time that they stay good before having to be tossed out.
It seems that when cucumbers that have not been cut are stored in temperatures of less than 50 degrees is actually quite hard on them.
Cucumbers are sensitive by nature and these cooler temperatures can shorten the shelf life of your cucumbers. A better idea is to simply store them at room temperature. They will last much longer this way.
When stored at room temperature, cucumbers will last 2-3 weeks on average, but when they are stored in the fridge, cucumbers typically will not last more than a week.
You can freeze cucumbers or can them. Obviously, you can pickle them as well. When you freeze them, you have to be careful about handling them after the freezer so they don’t turn soggy.
While whole cucumbers can be stored at room temperature, people will tell you to store sliced cucumbers in the fridge. However, there are ways around that and specific ways to keep them crisp.
We will get into these details later in the guide.
How Long Do Cucumbers Last at Room Temperature?
One thing you should be aware of is that different types and forms of cucumbers can last for different lengths of time. Check out this chart for some helpful information on storage times:
|Uncut Fresh Cucumbers
|Sliced or cut Cucumbers
|Up to 5 days
These are the timeframes that are recommended to maintain the best quality of your cucumbers.
You will notice that different types of cucumbers have different life spans. For the most part, you will also notice that storing them at room temperature doubles their shelf life – and sometimes more than doubles it.
Even with cut or sliced cucumbers, if they are stored properly, the shelf life is much better outside of the fridge. Just reviewing this simple chart gives you an inside look as to how long cucumbers will last at room temperature.
If you struggle to keep your cucumbers crisp, particularly sliced cucumbers, we’ll explain the proper ways to store cucumbers outside the fridge below. If you prefer cold cucumbers, there are ways to store them cold, but no matter what, they will probably not last quite as long.
We recommend that you only chill cucumbers you plan to eat within a week in this manner. On an alternative option, you could also just chill a cucumber for a couple of hours before you slice into it.
How to Keep Cucumbers Crisp
The best way to keep cucumbers crisp is to store them at room temperature. For uncut cucumbers, you don’t need to do anything special. You can simply store them wherever you store other fruits and vegetables at room temperature.
Put them in your fruit and vegetable bowl or hanging basket. Place them in a special spot on your table or counter. It’s really up to you!
We do recommend that you don’t leave them just hanging out in direct sunlight constantly, however, as excessive heat can be hard on any type of food.
The key is to keep them cool but not cold. So storing them in a pantry or a cellar might also be a good option. The best storage is somewhere warmer than 50 degrees but not too warm.
Be sure to keep them dry. You can clean them and dry them and store them in a bag of some sort as well. Using a bag will give them just an extra layer of protection.
If you’re set on refrigerating whole cucumbers, however, we have some tips for keeping them crisp in the fridge:
Tips for Refrigerating Cucumbers
If you decide that 1 week of freshness is good enough for at least some of your cucumbers, we have a few tips to make your refrigeration journey as successful as possible.
If you do store your cucumbers in the fridge, we recommend keeping them in the warmest part of the fridge. We know, that’s not something you normally hear when it comes to refrigeration.
This means keeping them away from the fan. You might also consider their proximity to the freezer. For example, if your freezer is on the side, keep your cucumbers farther from the side that touches the freezer.
Additionally, you can take some extra precautions. The following method will help keep your cucumbers crisp when they are stored in the fridge:
- Wrap each cucumber in an individual paper towel.
- Place wrapped cucumbers into an airtight container or a storage bag.
- Store cucumbers like this in the fridge for up to about a week.
You will notice that this does not extend the shelf life in the refrigerator any further but what it does do is help keep those cucumbers tasting fresh and crisp while also allowing them to be chilled.
Next, if you are working with sliced cucumbers, you will find tips for keeping them fresh in the following section.
How to Store Cut Cucumbers
You basically have two different methods to work with for cut cucumbers in order to keep them fresh and crisp.
You can store them in the fridge in an airtight container. Just be aware of how short your eating window is now. This is a great method but the cool temperature of the fridge is hard on those sliced cucumbers so you may as few as 3 days of use out of them.
Additionally, if you store your sliced cucumbers in a freezer bag or freezer-safe container, while still keeping them in the fridge, you might actually get a few more days out of them. However, the longer they are left in the fridge, the more the quality will diminish.
Here is our recommendation for storing cut cucumbers:
- Slice cucumbers to desired thickness. We recommend somewhere around 1/4 of an inch.
- Place the sliced cucumbers into a container or a jar of some sort. We recommend stacking them in layers.
- Place a folded paper towel (fold into a square with multiple layers) over the opening of the container. You do not need to place a lid on the container.
- Turn the container upside down resting on the paper towel. The paper towel soaks up excess moisture and keeps the cucumbers crisp.
- Store in this manner for up to 5 days for fresh cucumbers every single time!
As you can see, this recommendation adds at least a couple of days to the crisp and fresh nature of the cucumbers. It’s a great way to keep them fresh for longer!
We hope that you have found this guide to properly storing cucumbers to be helpful. There are many different options but room temperature is always the better choice for getting the most out of the lifespan of your cucumbers.
We invite you to review the following question and answer section for some additional information that may be helpful to you.
How Can You Tell if a Cucumber is Bad?
Most of the time, you can tell if a cucumber is bad or is going bad by looking at them or feeling them.
If they appear or feel soft or even wrinkled, that is a sign that your cucumber is on its way to spoiled, if not already there. You can also look for slime or excess moisture as signs that it is time to toss out the cucumbers.
Should You Wash Cucumbers for Storing?
We recommend waiting to wash your cucumbers until you are ready to use them. Washing them will introduce excess moisture into them and could negatively affect storage times. Any time you store something in the fridge, excess moisture can also ruin the vegetable.