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Bitter cucumbers

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Bitter cucumbers

Post  Lindacol on 7/24/2011, 1:00 am

My cucumbers have turned very bitter. The last 2 I picked small, probably about 4 inches and as I sliced them I taste tested them and even the inards are bitter.

The first few were good, then one had the skin taste off but inside was good, then these last 2 were bad.

Can I expect the rest to be bad or might they be ok? Can the bitter ones be used for refrigerator pickles (would the brine take the bitterness away)? Or should I just pull the plants?

The goats didn't mind the bitterness, they seemed to love them.

I'm not sure the variety - they were from HD a burpless type as the seedlings I started did not survive. The plant is large & healthy looking. It has been hot & dry but they are drip watered daily and msot all the palnts look good.
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Re: Bitter cucumbers

Post  shannon1 on 7/24/2011, 2:02 am

Could be the heat or not enough water, cucs are real water hogs.
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Re: Bitter cucumbers

Post  happycamper on 7/24/2011, 4:03 am

Bitter cucumbers are usually caused by a lack of water. I have had this happen from planting too early (cool weather) and not watering enough. I would not pull the plants. You may get a few more bitter ones, but the rest of them should be fine.

Good question about the pickles, I don't know what would happen. I don't taste all the cucumbers when I pickle them so it does make me wonder what would happen. I thought pickling cucumbers were bitter compared to other types (just an opinion).

Maybe someone else on the forum would have some first hand experience with making pickles with bitter cucumbers. Good luck!
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Re: Bitter cucumbers

Post  squaredeal on 7/27/2012, 6:32 pm

I'm having this situation, too, sometimes within the same cucumber (parts are bitter, parts are ok). A friend of mine suggested doing with cukes what you do with eggplant - layering with salt to draw out the bitterness. Then you can process them.

I thought I would try it if I get enough cukes.

I'm REALLY tired of this heat and drought, although we did get a rain shower today, so I won't have to water tonight.
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Re: Bitter cucumbers

Post  elliephant on 7/28/2012, 2:51 pm

I had the same problem with my cucumbers.

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I'm not expert, but from what I've learned...

Post  BackRiver_SFG on 7/29/2012, 7:18 am

If your cucumbers have a pointed appearance, that can be caused by lack of water when the fruits first begin to form. This will also cause a bitter taste. I have experienced this earlier in the season when we were really dry here in coastal Mass.

Another piece of information I picked up when making pickles from your cukes is to cut off the ends of the picklers. There are enzymes in the ends that will cause your pickels to get squishy. Removing the ends prevents this and will help achieve a tasty and crisp pickle.

Hope this helps.

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Re: Bitter cucumbers

Post  rozidays on 7/30/2012, 12:50 pm

Lindacol wrote:My cucumbers have turned very bitter. The last 2 I picked small, probably about 4 inches and as I sliced them I taste tested them and even the inards are bitter.

The first few were good, then one had the skin taste off but inside was good, then these last 2 were bad.

Can I expect the rest to be bad or might they be ok? Can the bitter ones be used for refrigerator pickles (would the brine take the bitterness away)? Or should I just pull the plants?

The goats didn't mind the bitterness, they seemed to love them.

I'm not sure the variety - they were from HD a burpless type as the seedlings I started did not survive. The plant is large & healthy looking. It has been hot & dry but they are drip watered daily and msot all the palnts look good.

Keep cucumbers in an even temperature, which means that you should be planting the cucumber so that it gets the right kind of sun for your climate (sunnier areas in cool climates, morning and afternoon sun only in hotter climates). Water evenly and regularly, especially in times of drought.

Unfortunately, once a cucumber plant starts to produce bitter fruit, it will most likely continue to produce bitter cucumbers. You should remove the plant and start over.
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