Cucumbers are very high in nutrients and low in calories. They are vine plants from the Cucurbitaceae family, cucumbers are rich in antioxidants and micronutrients, they help improve digestion and keep your blood pressure level. One last thing, cucumbers can help keep you hydrated because they have high water content.
If you have homegrown cucumbers, these plants might bloom so much that you would be overwhelmed by them. Unfortunately, cucumbers don’t grow all year round and will dry out if you leave them out for too long. But, did you know that cucumbers can be preserved to give you a taste of summer even in the winter?
Can you freeze cucumbers? Yes, you can. Cucumbers can be frozen for 12 months. This means that you can have your cucumber in stock for the whole year.
Most people cannot believe that you can freeze cucumbers because of their high water content. They ask how it doesn’t turn into mush. Well, it is all in preparation, and we will mention those steps below.
Cucumbers might be regarded as a vegetable but regular blanching with a hot and cold bath would not cut it here. Blanching would not be enough to stop them from turning into mush.
How to Freeze Cucumbers
There are different ways you can freeze cucumbers depending on how you like them after freezing, or how you want to use them after you freeze them. Cucumbers are a great addition to your daily diet and they can help you keep a healthy weight.
Freezing Cucumbers into Freezer Pickles
This is the most common way cucumbers are preserved to keep them from turning into mush. This way, you can eat the cucumbers just like you eat pickles.
Step 1: Prepare the Cucumbers
To get the best results, use homegrown cucumbers or go to the farmer’s market and ask to buy in bulk. You should choose small-sized cucumbers that freeze better.
If you would be using store-bought cucumbers, they might be coated in wax, you can remove this with a light brush and detergent. Wash homegrown cucumbers in running tap water to care for dirt and debris.
After washing your cucumbers, you can decide to peel them or leave them as they are. Then, chop the cucumbers into even slices with a sharp knife. Keep a steady hand and sharp eye so you do not cut the cucumbers into uneven sizes.
Slice onions to accompany your frozen cucumbers. Use one medium-sized onion to 2 quarts of sliced cucumber. Then, transfer the sliced cucumbers and onions into a large plastic bowl.
Don’t just dump the mix into the container, create layers and sprinkle salt onto the layers as you create them. Use enough salt to cover all the layers that your plastic container can hold. Cover this mix with plastic wrap and leave it for at least two hours.
Take the plastic container, and dump the whole mix into a colander, rinse the mix of sliced cucumber and onions under water to remove all traces of salt. After you are satisfied that you have removed all the traces of salt, rinse the container and transfer the mixture back into the container.
For the next leg of preparation, get one and a half cups of sugar and one and a half cups of white vinegar in a bowl then pour the mixture into the container with your sliced cucumber. Stir this solution into the mixture so that the sugar would spread evenly around the cucumber.
Step 2: Storage and Freezing
You can store your sliced cucumbers in freezer-friendly containers, Ziploc Freezer bags, or Mason glass jars. However, you have to take note that the liquid would expand so you should fill your containers to the brim.
As you ladle the mixture into your preferred choice of container, make sure to leave about an inch or two for expansion of the liquid. Before you seal the containers, make sure you expel as much air as possible.
Label the containers with the contents and date of the freeze to help you keep track of how long you have stored them. Cucumber frozen as freezer pickles will last for about 12 months and still keep their crunch.
When you freeze cucumbers into freezer pickles, wait for at least a week before you eat them.
Freezing Cucumbers into Cubes
If you are a great fan of having cucumber in your morning smoothie or you just like the flavor in your drink. This method would work best for you.
Wash your cucumbers and peel them. Then, puree your cucumbers with water in a food processor or high-speed blender. Take these pureed cucumbers and freeze them into an ice cube tray in the freezer to make ice cube cucumbers.
When the pureed mixture has frozen into cubes, transfer the cubes into a Ziploc Freezer bag and freeze for the long term.
How to Defrost Frozen Cucumbers
If you have had your cucumbers frozen into freezer pickles, leave them overnight in the refrigerator to thaw. When they defrost, you can eat them like traditional pickles or slice them into salads. You can also blend them with mayonnaise, to make your Tartar sauce.
If you have chosen the ice cube method, you don’t need to defrost them. Just add the cubes into the mix of greens you want to blend as your smoothie. You can also use them to flavor and cool down drinks.
How to Recognize Spoiled Cucumbers
If you notice that your cucumber has wrinkled skin or soft spots, this could be the first sign that they are going bad. Spoiled cucumber would have moisture and slime on its surface, or you would notice that it has an overly soft texture accompanied with slime or mold. Such cucumber should be thrown out and not eaten.