FoodHow to save bitter cucumbers: Tips for the perfect summer salad

How to save bitter cucumbers: Tips for the perfect summer salad

Cucumber salad with sour cream
Cucumber salad with sour cream
Images source: © Adobe Stock

25 June 2024 15:48

What salad to make for lunch on a hot day? We most often choose cucumber salad. Cucumbers are mainly composed of water, which is why they quench thirst and cool marvellously. Making it takes just a moment. Everything is splendid as long as we don't get bitter cucumbers. Here are tips on how to save them.

Cucumbers taste good on sandwiches, in cold soups, in addition to cottage cheese, and in salads. Regarding the latter, cucumber salad is the most popular. It works wonderfully as long as the cucumbers are not bitter.

Where does the bitterness in cucumbers come from?

The problem of distinctly bitter cucumbers most commonly concerns field cucumbers. These vegetables frequently contain cucurbitacin, a compound meant to deter pests. It is a natural substance always present in cucumbers but only affects their taste when there is too much. What causes this? Poor cultivation practices may be to blame. Typically found in the leaves, stems, and roots, this substance can move into the flesh of the cucumbers, especially from the stem end. Therefore, the most bitterness is often found in the greener parts of the cucumber, particularly at the base. Dry conditions can also accelerate bitterness.

How to peel cucumbers for salad?

At first glance, it is impossible to tell if cucumbers are bitter. If you have purchased such cucumbers, you can give them a long bath by soaking them in cold water, which sometimes helps. If you realise the cucumbers are bitter, you can salvage them by peeling them correctly. Peel the cucumber from the lighter end towards the darker end. Never do it the other way around, as this is a common mistake. Peeling in this manner prevents the bitter substances from spreading. After each stroke of the peeler or knife on the cucumber, rinse it under running water. If you have more bitter cucumbers, you can ferment them or turn them into lightly salted pickles - they will be delicious, and the undesirable taste will disappear.

Related content