freeze cucumbers

Can You Freeze Cucumbers?

Cucumber brings a deliciously crunchy and juicy texture to salads, sandwiches, and snack platters. Although it has a neutral taste, it is often incorporated into savory dishes, juiced, or used in cold soups.

With a water content of almost 90 percent, it is no surprise that the notion of freezing cucumber is generally frowned upon. Cucumber can, however, be successfully frozen for use in many ways. So, don’t throw away any extras that you don’t think you’ll be able to use before it turns bad. 

Here is a full guide to successfully freezing cucumber.

Types of Cucumber

Generally found in stores year-round, cucumbers are actually warm-weather plants harvested in the summertime.

There are many types of cucumber grown world-wide, however, the fruit can be categorized into three main groups namely slicing cucumbers, pickling cucumbers, and specialty cucumbers.

English cucumbers are the most common among the slicing category with their long and slender shape. The thin dark green skin surrounds a pale green juicy and crisp interior. Both the skin and flesh are eaten. This type of cucumber is mostly used in salads, on sandwiches, or in drinks.

Pickling cucumbers are smaller than slicing cucumbers, reaching a length of 4 inches when fully mature. They make great snacks and can be enjoyed raw or pickled. Alibi cucumbers are a typical and popular type of pickling cucumber.

Specialty cucumbers don’t have the same appearance as their slender green counterparts and are rarely found in general supermarkets. They are grown as a novelty and can be round or long in shape. 

Lemon cucumbers are a prime example of the novelty type with a round shape, citrus flavor, and yellow color, but similar texture to regular cucumbers.

Can Cucumbers Be Frozen?

Yes, there are several different ways to freeze whole cucumber depending on what you wish to use it for. Due to its high water content, cucumber won’t be the same after freezing as before, however, there are ways to preserve the crunch and even intensify the flavor on freezing.

Simply chucking a cucumber into the freezer will result in a pile of mush, so be sure to follow the below steps to ensure you get the best out of your frozen produce.

Frozen cucumber can be used in smoothies, soups, juices, dips, and freezing it in a brine solution yields a fantastic cucumber pickle that can be added to salads, sandwiches, and as a relish with any meal.


How To Freeze Cucumbers

Step 1: Clean

Regardless of the freezing method you choose below, it is important to wash the cucumber, cut off, and discard any damaged or bad parts first. Store-bought cucumbers have a wax coating. Lightly scrub the cucumber to remove this layer. 

Peeling is optional and a good choice if you are planning to use the cucumber in a soup or juice for a smoother end result. Once you have washed, scrubbed, and peeled the cucumber,  choose the most appropriate method for freezing below.


Method 1: Freezer Pickles in Brine

Step 2: Slice

Slice the cucumber thinly using a sharp knife or mandolin.

Step 3: Season

Add sliced onion to the cucumber. One onion per 2 quarts of cucumber is ideal. In a large bowl, layer the onion and cucumber and sprinkle salt over each layer. Cover the mixture with cling film and let it sit for 2 hours.

Step 4: Rinse

Rinse the salt-soaked cucumber and onion mixture well in water.

Step 5: Brine

Prepare the brine mixture by mixing a half-cup white vinegar with 1.5 cups of sugar in a bowl. Stir the mixture to dissolve the sugar. Add the cucumber-onion mixture to the brine and optionally add celery seed for additional flavor.

Step 6: Pack

The cucumber-brine mixture can be frozen in resealable freezer bags or freezer-friendly containers. Ladle the cucumber and brine mixture into the chosen containers and leave a half-inch of headspace as the liquid will expand on freezing.

If using resealable freezer bags, press out any remaining air before sealing the packet.

Step 7: Label and Freeze

Label the container with the contents and date and place it upright in the freezer.  Wait at least a week before eating to allow the pickling flavor time to infuse.


Method 2: Cubed or Sliced

Step 2: Cut

Cut the cleaned cucumber into slices, cubes, or spears.

Step 3: Flash Freeze

Spread the cucumber pieces in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Place it in the freezer until fully frozen. This quick-freeze process prevents the cucumber pieces from sticking together in a big clump, allowing you to remove just as much as you need from the freezer at a time.

Step 4: Pack

Remove the baking sheet from the freezer and pack the cucumber into resealable freezer bags. Press out any remaining air before closing the bag.

Step 5: Label and Freeze

Label the bag with the date and place it in the freezer.


Method 3: Cucumber Ice Cubes

Step 2: Juice or Blend

Juice or puree the cucumber in a blender.

Step 3: Freeze

Pour the cucumber liquid into ice-cube trays and place it in the freezer until completely frozen.

Step 4: Bag It

Remove the frozen ice-cubes from the tray and pack them into a resealable freezer bag. This protects them from contact with air which will reduce the quality quickly. Press all the air out of the bag and seal.

Step 5: Label and Freeze

Label the bag with the date and place it in the freezer.

How To Thaw Frozen Cucumber

Cucumber pieces or ice cubes can be added frozen to smoothie blends and juices for the best results. This means you can remove them straight from the freezer into the blender.

To defrost cucumber pickles, remove the bag or jar from the freezer and place it in the refrigerator to thaw overnight.


FAQs

Conclusion

Cucumber may seem like a boring salad ingredient at first, but it really is an incredibly versatile fruit that can be used in many ways after freezing. Take care to clean them properly and protect the cucumbers from contact with air on freezing for the best results.

Whether used as a savory relish, spicy pickle, sweet smoothie, or incorporated into a creamy dip, there are loads of reasons to preserve cucumbers in the freezer instead of letting them go to waste.

Up next: Can You Freeze Celery?

*Image by depositphotos.com/indrepau

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