Cucumber bitterness: Do you know why cucumbers are bitter?
Are you already harvesting your cucumbers? If you do, you will certainly notice that many cucumber ends are bitter. Unfortunately, this is normal. Many people throw bitter cucumbers away but that is a pity, because there are many uses for bitter cucumbers as well. And where did the bitterness come from? Is it natural and can we get rid of the bitterness? If you want to know continue reading, because there are answers to all your questions!
Originally, almost all cucumber cultivars were bitter
Yes that is true but over the time, gardeners have been able to create the varieties we have today – that is cucumbers with small amount of bitterness, but even today you may find many older varieties which are still bitter. This was normal in the past, because varieties of virtually everything have been grown for a very specific purpose. A typical example are plum trees grown especially for the production of plum brandy only.
Where did the bitterness come from?
There are several reasons. The main reason is the fact that cucumbers do not grow in perfect conditions and the biggest culprit is a fluctuating temperature. This phenomenon widely occurs in greenhouses because temperature can rise very quickly. That is why greenhouses must be ventilated as often as possible. The chemical substance responsible for the bitterness is called cucurbitacein. Keep in mind that cucumbers must be watered properly. They love water and moisture. Use nitrogen-based fertilizers at the beginning. The unpleasant bitterness is also produced during the final stages of cucumber growth. If your cucumbers overgrow too much, there is a great chance that they will also be bitter. So make sure to pick smaller cucumbers that are not overripe. Smaller cucumbers should not be bitter.
Do not throw away bitter cucumbers!
You are harvesting your pickling cucumbers, you taste one and realize that it is bitter and you not happy right? Do not despair. Just put your pickling cucumbers in vinegar and leave them there! After while you may used them for canning with no problem. The bitterness will gradually disappear, usually within a month also. In the old days, this trick was used every time because almost all kinds of cucumbers were quite bitter at that time.
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