picture of a cucumber

How To Store Cucumbers To Keep Them Fresh Longer

picture of a cucumber

Cucumber is a popular vegetable that is widely available in the supermarkets.  Cucumbers are great in salads and sandwiches.  Most adults either like cucumbers or are simply indifferent to them.  Very few people dislike cucumbers – unlike, let’s say, broccoli 🙂 Cucumbers are crispy, mild-tasting, nutritious and don’t need to be cooked – what a great vegetable!

One problem with cucumbers, however, that they don’t usually last long once you bring them home.  Have you ever had cucumbers spoil after just a few days?  It will not happen to you ever again if you follow my strategy for properly storing cucumbers to keep them fresh longer.  So, how should you store cucumbers?

First of all, never store cucumbers on the counter.  It’s the tomatoes that are stored on the counter, NOT the cucumbers.  If you store the cucumbers on the counter, they will get soft and yucky in 2 days!  Cucumbers must be stored in the refrigerator.

If you put the cucumbers in the refrigerator, that will extend their life by a few days as opposed to storing them on the counter.  However, they still won’t stay fresh for more than 5 days unless you use the secret I’ll describe below.

What are the common ways people store cucumbers in the refrigerator? One way is in the plastic bag.  Unfortunately, in about 3 days the cucumbers will start getting slimy in that bag – yuck!  Another way is without a bag.  Well, the cucumbers in the refrigerator without a bag will start getting wrinkly and soft, and their taste and texture deteriorates.

So finally, what is my secret for keeping cucumbers fresh longer?  Here it is: wrap each cucumber individually in a paper towel, then put all cucumbers wrapped in paper towels inside the plastic bag.  Put the plastic bag with the cucumbers in a refrigerator.  That’s it!  It works like magic – the cucumbers will stay perfectly fresh for the whole week!

Here are the pictures how to prepare cucumbers for storage so they stay fresh:

Put cucumber in the center of a paper towel:
cucumber on a paper towel

Wrap cucumber in a paper towel:
cucumber inside a paper towel

Put wrapped cucumbers inside a vegetable plastic bag:
cucumbers prepared for storage

Now don’t forget to put the bag with wrapped cucumbers in the refrigerator.  You are set!  Enjoy your fresh cucumbers!

For a delicious way to eat cucumbers, check out my easy recipe how to make cucumber lemon salad – it’s so yummy and refreshing, you will love it!

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33 replies
  1. Deborah Schoen
    Deborah Schoen says:

    I’ve tried peeling them, cutting them & (1)putting in sealed water tub in refrig; (2)putting them in plastic bag (already cut) in refrig; (3)putting them in plastic bag in freezer (already cut) and I was at my wits’ end until now. I now have hope & will immediately try this to see if it works! Thanks for sharing!!!

    Reply
  2. Mary
    Mary says:

    thank you so much. I am going to try this… Hope it works. I have so many from my garden and I cant eat them or give them away fast enough! Thank you for the tip.

    Reply
  3. Lisa Wilcox
    Lisa Wilcox says:

    I haven’t tried this. Thank you. I do this similar method with lettuces. After I clean lettuce leaves and soak them for a bit in the sink with cold water, I drain and/or use salad spinner. I store in the refer wrapped in paper towel and then plastic bag, same as you stated for cucumbers, and back in the refer. I have nice crisp lettuce ready to go.

    Reply
  4. Kathy
    Kathy says:

    I want to make pickles and need to keep what I picked today fresh untilnI get more. I hope this works. Thanks for the idea!

    Reply
  5. Gloria Lowery
    Gloria Lowery says:

    In all the years I have purchased cucumbers and thrown them away because… kept them in a platic bag,,that’s right…they went slimy…. can’t wait to try this….,and thanks Gloria

    Reply
  6. Robert Hecht
    Robert Hecht says:

    Dear Melanie,
    Everything that you did I did and the cucumbers still did not last. We were trying to keep the humidly away from the cucumber by wrapping them in paper towels, however the paper towel got wet and the cucumbers started to go bad. So I tried a twist, everyday I would take the cucumbers out of the refrigerator (same time I would make our evening salad) unwrap them and place them on the counter. After dinner maybe 1 hour – 1 1/2 hours later the moisture from the cucumbers dried up (I would give them one turn in between so it dries all around) as well as the paper towels. I now repacked the cucumbers with the same paper towel and put them in the plastic bag (I make a few holes in the plastic bag from the beginning). Last week (November 6) I bought by mistake more cucumbers than we needed, yesterday we still had 7 cucumbers left in good condition. I do my vegetable shopping usually Wednesdays, so yesterday I did not buy any cucumbers, I am confident that they (what’s left from not being used) will still be good until next Tuesday (November 19).
    Sincerely,
    Robert Hecht

    Reply
    • Michele
      Michele says:

      Will this work on sliced cucumbers? I work in a convienienc store and I am trying to find ways to save sliced cucumbers when cut to soon

      Reply
      • Melanie Mendelson
        Melanie Mendelson says:

        Unfortunately sliced cucumbers don’t last long. Using the paper towel will probably extend their shelf life by 1 day, but I wouldn’t count on more than that. If you try it with sliced cucumbers, please let me know how it turned out!

        Reply
  7. Michael
    Michael says:

    I read about old Russian trick to keep the cucumbers fresh ALL winter, but I did not have the opportunity to check it. You need your own garden, and this is why. You plant cucumbers and also white cabbage. Apparently, when cucumbers are ready to be picked up, the cabbage just starts developing the first layer of leaves. So, you pick up the cucumber and put it the center of leaves formation, so they envelope it. Cabbage continues to grow, and it tightly encloses the cucumber inside. Eventually, you pick up the grown cabbage and store is in the regular way. As I understand, in the peasants homes they kept the cabbage all winter in the basement, together with potatoes and products. When you want the fresh cucumber, you just slice the cabbage open, and here it is – fresh cucumber!

    Reply
  8. jenna
    jenna says:

    What if the cucumbers are cut? Would it be like lettuce stored in a paper towel then in a plastic bag/container. Will it prevent them from going mushy? Trying to prep lunches a few days in advance for work!

    Reply
  9. Kal
    Kal says:

    You are wrong. Cucumners should be stored at room temperature. I can’t believe this post with all the different replys and I was the first one to note this. Amazing….

    Reply
  10. Melanie Mendelson
    Melanie Mendelson says:

    Hi Kim,

    I’ve tried it both ways, the refrigerated ones stayed fresh longer. Try an experiment – leave one cucumber out on the counter, and the other one in a refrigerator wrapped in paper towel in a plastic bag. The one in the refrigerator will last longer.

    Best regards,
    Melanie

    Reply
    • Sandy
      Sandy says:

      You are correct. I grow cucumbers and zucchini every year and always have a bunper crop. I handle both the same way: Wrapped in dry paper towels and put in zip lock bags. They last a lot longer. For my herbs, I moisten the paper towel first and check every few days.

      Reply
  11. Monica Rodriguez
    Monica Rodriguez says:

    Hi Melanie
    I have a garden of my own. I grow cucumbers watermelon, tomatoes, onions and jalapeños. Keeping these cucumbers fresh are hard and they take up all the room in the garden. I will try out this secret and hopefully it works. Cucumbers and watermelon are my all time favorite! ! Thank you for the secret!!!!

    Reply
  12. John sankus
    John sankus says:

    My cucumbers from the garden last a full 7 days on the counter. I put them in the refrig. For another few days. Maybe mine are special, who knows.

    Reply
  13. Sheila W.
    Sheila W. says:

    Some people fail to realize that there are conditions that are different in every household. Some people like a warmer house, some heating systems produce dry heat, etc. Garden cucumbers will always last longer because there is not the picking, hauling, and transportation involved with grocery cucumbers. I think this is a wonderful tip and thank you for going through the trouble to share what you have found.

    Reply
  14. Clare W
    Clare W says:

    The humidity control compartments in my fridge keeps cucumbers fresh for over a month. It really is amazing.
    Bully for me, eh?

    Reply
    • Laura
      Laura says:

      Clare.

      Do you just lay the cucumbers, unwrapped, in the humidity control drawer, or are they in a bag?

      What is the humidity control set at?

      Laure

      Reply
  15. Marcy B
    Marcy B says:

    Here’s an idea to use when your cucumbers are in danger of getting soft or spoiling. Make a cucumber salad with Italian dressing. Peel the cucumbers, then slice as thin as possible. Cover with the Italian salad dressing and refrigerate. The vinegar in the dressing preserves the cucumbers and keeps them from spoiling.

    Reply
  16. Kalu Samuel
    Kalu Samuel says:

    I understand organically grown cucumbers store longer and stay fresher than others. Also heat is a major post harvest issue for fresh fruits and vegetables. Heat and moisture increases the rate of deterioration.

    Reply
  17. Bill P
    Bill P says:

    So then, how to explain this: I have two cucumbers that have sat on my kitchen counter since I picked them three weeks ago and are still in perfect condition as far as I can see. They are entirely organic, unwaxed, and are an old standby variety called Straight 8 picked at a fairly mature stage.

    It is also a simple matter to find the exact opposite advice – to never put them in the fridge – including findings on the subject from university studies that so advise.

    Which is not to say you did not observe what you observed in your experiments, but I do think Sheila is right to remind us that conditions may vary. In fact I think there is a long list of additional variables she did not cite that could possibly result in cucumbers lasting longer on a counter than they do in a fridge, or last longer in a fridge than on a counter, depending on the variables….some that MIGHT impact the outcome include varying room temperatures and humidity, how cold the fridge is, how cold the fridge is in different parts of the fridge, the type of cuke, the varietal of the cuke, possible sunlight exposure on the counter, imperceptible pre-existing breaks in the skin, just how old was that cuke when you got it (meaning how long ago picked), what stage of maturity was it when picked, did it receive ample water while growing, etc.

    My point is not to say your advice is wrong but to say it is probably not always correct – your cukes on your counter may have gone bad in two days but my cukes on my counter have lasted ten times that long and are still going. This can only be because something is critically different between your cukes and mine, and/or your counter and mine. And if that is the case then the best storage is a conditional question, not an absolute matter of “never” or “always”.

    Reply
  18. Brian
    Brian says:

    Thanks, this is very helpful, I will have to browse the rest of this site. 🙂 Thanks for sharing your knowledge. It is a beautiful thing to do. 🙂

    Reply
  19. Sopro Found
    Sopro Found says:

    Literally right before I read this, I read another article saying specifically to store them at room temperature..on the counter! LOL gotta love the internet…

    Reply
    • Melanie Mendelson
      Melanie Mendelson says:

      Yes, I’m aware that many people advise storing cucumbers on the counter, but in my own experimentation the ones in a refrigerator wrapped in paper towels outlast the counter-stored ones dramatically!

      Reply
  20. Daijoubu
    Daijoubu says:

    I think it depends whether or not the cucumbers are waxed or not and if we are dealing with plastic wrapper english cucumbers.

    If they are plastic wrapped, I think it’s best to unwrap them and use a paper towel and most importantly, use a vegetable specific plastic bag, a fully sealed or regular plastic bag won’t let it breath.

    It is also important to remember that a cucumber is a fruit and will ripen faster if placed with other ethylene producing fruits.

    So we may also be tempted to set the cripser to lower humidity/promote air circulation to prevent the buildup of ethylene.

    Reply

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