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Author Topic: Cucumbers are bitter - what to do?  (Read 11742 times)
redflare
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San Mateo, CA Zone 8


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« on: June 11, 2009, 01:43:38 AM »

I just harvested 2 cucumbers from my plants and they are horribly bitter. Sad
Anything I can do to salvage the situation?
Why are they so bitter?

Thanks!
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seadog
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Southern California, Gardena, Zone 10


« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2009, 01:48:09 AM »

What type of cukes did you plant?
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LavendulaFleur
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So Cal (The Valley) Zone 10


« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2009, 01:51:06 AM »

Also, what are the length and diameters?
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mjb8743
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Zone 7, South NJ, Garden State


« Reply #3 on: June 11, 2009, 01:52:42 AM »

The 3 conditions I can think of right now are:

1- extreme heat... they can get bitter if the temps are high for an extended time

2- you wait too long to pick them. If they've filled out and started to turn lighter green, almost yellow, they're too old and will be bitter.

3- some varieties are prone to bitterness, especially the seeded varieties.

Mickie
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111 EBs and growing... so how come there are never enough boxes??
redflare
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San Mateo, CA Zone 8


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« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2009, 01:55:16 AM »

What type of cukes did you plant?

Pickling cucumbers
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redflare
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« Reply #5 on: June 11, 2009, 01:58:23 AM »

Also, what are the length and diameters?

They are about 5-6 inches long, and about 1.5-2 inches diameter.
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redflare
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San Mateo, CA Zone 8


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« Reply #6 on: June 11, 2009, 02:00:58 AM »

The 3 conditions I can think of right now are:

1- extreme heat... they can get bitter if the temps are high for an extended time

Not the case. It was rather chilly here in Bay area
2- you wait too long to pick them. If they've filled out and started to turn lighter green, almost yellow, they're too old and will be bitter.
I'll try to pick them earlier, but the once I picked were still vibrant green.
3- some varieties are prone to bitterness, especially the seeded varieties.

So, if I was to pickle the bitter cucumbers, would they be OK to eat once they are pickled?

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LavendulaFleur
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So Cal (The Valley) Zone 10


« Reply #7 on: June 11, 2009, 02:10:46 AM »

I got this from the Augusta Chronicle:

http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/071108/gar_465197.shtml

Some of the cucumbers from my garden are so bitter tasting that I have to throw them away. What causes this, and can I do anything about it?

A: The compounds that cause bitterness in cucumbers are cucurbitacin B and cucurbitacin C. Wild cucumbers, most of which are extremely bitter, may also contain a number of related compounds.

The curcurbitacins occur in all parts of a plant. The leaves, stems and roots of most cultivated varieties contain varying amounts.

Only occasionally do the bitter compounds spread into the cucumber. And when they does, the bitterness isn't uniform. It will vary from fruit to fruit.

Two important points: One, the compounds are likely to be more concentrated at the stem end than the blossom end of the fruit. Two, the bitterness, if it's there, is always in and just under the skin. It's not deep into the fleshy portion or in the seed cavity.

When using cucumbers for salad, always taste a small portion from the stem end of each cucumber before slicing the rest. If it is bitter, you can usually eliminate the bitterness by peeling. Peel even more deeply at the stem end, since this is where bitter compounds penetrate most deeply.

I generally hear more complaints of bitter cucumbers early in the growing season and during a cooler summer. Research has shown that fertilization practices, plant spacing and irrigation frequency have little effect on the number of bitter cucumbers produced.

Different cucumber cultivars vary widely in their tendency to be bitter. In tests in several Western states, Improved Long Green, Eversweet, Ashley, Lemon and Saticoy Hybrid had the least bitterness. Even though irrigation practices haven't proved to greatly affect the bitterness of cucumbers, the misshapen fruit associated with poor irrigation is more likely to be bitter than well-shaped fruit. So provide the plants with ample and uniform moisture and adequate nutrients. These practices result in rapid, uniform growth of the fruit.

Leaving cucumbers on the vine too long can also lead to a bitter taste. Cucumbers grow fast once they start producing, so be sure to plant only as much as you can keep up with, keeping the harvest young.

Sid Mullis, the director of the University of Georgia Extension Service Office in Richmond County
« Last Edit: June 11, 2009, 02:14:35 AM by LavendulaFleur » Logged
LavendulaFleur
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So Cal (The Valley) Zone 10


« Reply #8 on: June 11, 2009, 02:18:42 AM »

Quote
So, if I was to pickle the bitter cucumbers, would they be OK to eat once they are pickled?

I would imagine that you can eat them but they would probably still be bitter even after pickling.
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CeaseFire
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North Central Mississippi - Zone 7b


« Reply #9 on: June 11, 2009, 08:43:11 AM »

I know we can't believe everything we read on the net but....
I read that yes, pickles will be bitter if you pickle them but...
pickles lose the bitter taste if you cook them. They
recommended battering and frying them like zucchini.
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kittyhawk63
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« Reply #10 on: June 11, 2009, 09:56:47 AM »

My sister-in-law in Tennessee has a technique she says lessens the bitterness in cukes. I am sure it is an old practice coming out of backwood's kitchens. Whether it works or not, I am not sure. We still do it in our home. My mother and her mother (Texas gals) also did this with their cukes.

Cut off the ends of a cuke and rub each of these ends in a circular motion against the "opposite end" of the cuke. I.E., take the north end of the cuke and rub it against the south end of the cuke. Now, take the south end of the cuke and rub it against the north end of the cuke. It is supposed to "draw" out the bitter juices. Does it work? You be the judge. I have seen the cukes foam up quite a bit doing this.

How do you know the difference between the south end and the north end. The south end is wearing grays, the north end, blues.
kh63
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cushman350
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Posts: 5650


Tomato Hell, Wichita Falls, TX Zone 7b Yeah right


« Reply #11 on: June 11, 2009, 10:32:58 AM »

My sister-in-law in Tennessee has a technique she says lessens the bitterness in cukes. I am sure it is an old practice coming out of backwood's kitchens. Whether it works or not, I am not sure. We still do it in our home. My mother and her mother (Texas gals) also did this with their cukes.

Cut off the ends of a cuke and rub each of these ends in a circular motion against the "opposite end" of the cuke. I.E., take the north end of the cuke and rub it against the south end of the cuke. Now, take the south end of the cuke and rub it against the north end of the cuke. It is supposed to "draw" out the bitter juices. Does it work? You be the judge. I have seen the cukes foam up quite a bit doing this.

How do you know the difference between the south end and the north end. The south end is wearing grays, the north end, blues.
kh63

I kept waiting for the punch line.  Grin
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INFESTED DIGESTED COMPOSTED
kittyhawk63
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« Reply #12 on: June 11, 2009, 10:38:46 AM »

I kept waiting for the punch line.   Grin

"All things come to him who waits."  Wink
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Flapam
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Zone 10, East Coast Central Florida


« Reply #13 on: June 11, 2009, 01:08:44 PM »

My grandmother always cut off a bit of the stem end of the cuke and rubbed it.  She said it kept it from being bitter.  I thought it was just an Italian grandmother thing, but looks like there is science to back it up.  Grandma really did know best. 
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Pam:)
kittyhawk63
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« Reply #14 on: June 11, 2009, 02:38:58 PM »

My grandmother always cut off a bit of the stem end of the cuke and rubbed it.  She said it kept it from being bitter.  I thought it was just an Italian grandmother thing, but looks like there is science to back it up.  Grandma really did know best. 

 Cheesy I never thought of my mom, grandmother, and sister-in-law as scientists. But, in a real sense, I guess they were. They were always experimenting on how to improve their gardens. That pretty much makes us all scientists.
kh63
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