I am dreadful at updating from previous posts and for this I apologise.
Do you remember my post relating my attempt at freezing cucumbers?
Today I received a comment from Carrie asking me how that frozen cucumber experiment went.
I’m sorry to say that it wasn’t the greatest of successes!
We did, eventually, defrost the cucumbers, and I think we could have used them for soup.
However, I’m not mad on cucumber soup (tasteless) and I didn’t have the necessary ingredients for gazpacho so we gave them to the pigs. The pigs were very happy.
I’m sorry not to be more positive. I’ve noticed that a lot of people have come to my blog via a search of “how to freeze cucumbers”. In future I will make even more gazpacho soup – which freezes/defreezes beautifully – and leave it at that.
This year we have once again had a good crop of cucumbers but with a mixed quality of fruit.
I imagine that this is something to do with the drought during the spring – although we did water the veggie patch and the cucumbers are under plastic. We’ve got plenty for the time being but some have not developed in the centre at all. Happy pigs again.
If anyone has a good freezing cucumber recipe please let me know!
It is a fact freezing cucumbers can be done, but there are certain rules to follow in order to succeed. There is also a way to defrost them properly so they don’t lose their flavour.
So, as Jean has experienced, it is possible to freeze cucumbers and keep them in good condition for some time. However, it’s just impossible for the cucumber to avoid losing some of its original flavour and texture when you defrost it and eat it in salads or other dishes. We would like to point out that despite this fact, it will keep most of its properties and the goodness it contains once defrosted.
To begin with, and before moving on to freezing them, cucumbers can be stored in the fridge, but this will reduce their shelf life. If placed on the top shelf (the “warmest”, with a temperature of 4-6°C), fresh cucumbers can last a good 3 weeks. Therefore, if you are in doubt about how long to keep cucumbers in the refrigerator, use these three weeks as a reference.
If, however, you are wondering how long to store cucumbers in the freezer at a temperature of -18°C, sliced cucumbers can be kept between 5 and 8 months. The lower the temperature, the better the cucumber will keep in the freezer.
How to freeze cucumbers
So, now you know that it can be done, you are probably wondering how you can store cucumbers in the freezer. Well, it all depends on the way you want to use them once defrosted. There are four different methods you can choose from:
To freeze raw cucumber slices, which is one the most popular ways to eat this vegetable, for example in salads, observe the following steps:
- Wash and dry the cucumbers.
- Remove the ends of each cucumber and cut them in thin slices.
- Place the slices in a single layer on a plate, cover with cling film, and leave them in the freezer for 10 to 12 hours to make sure they are properly frozen.
- If you don’t plan to eat them soon, now they are firmer in texture, place them in a hermetically sealed freezer bag. You will save space in your freezer and the cucumber will keep better.
As it isn’t practical to freeze whole cucumbers, as this takes up a lot of freezer space, it is advisable to do it using various shapes. The next method is to dice the cucumber, as follows:
- Wash and dry the excess water from the cucumber skin.
- Place the dice on a baking tray or some plates, cover with cling film and put in the freezer for around 12 hours.
- Once frozen, place in hermetically sealed freezer bags.
You can grate and freeze cucumber if you take the following steps:
- Wash and dry the cucumber.
- Use a grater to grate the cucumber (thin or thick, it’s up to you and the use you want to make of it).
- Place several layers of grated cucumber on a chopping board or plate, then remove the excess moisture using either kitchen roll or a clean cloth (such as a tea towel).
- After removing the moisture, place the grated cucumbers in freezer containers or hermetically sealed freezer bags and put them in the freezer.
Freezing cucumber juice is also an option, for when you have some left over.
- Pour the cucumber juice in ice cube trays.
- Place the trays in the ice cube compartment of the freezer and leave them to take shape.
- If your freezer doesn’t have an ice cube compartment, wrap the trays carefully in freezer bags so the cucumber juice doesn’t absorb other smells and place them on a flat surface, such as a shelf or on top of other frozen products (flat, obviously).
How to defrost cucumber
Now we’ve established that cucumbers can easily be frozen and how to do it depending on our needs, it’s useful to learn how to defrost them, bearing in mind that cucumbers can lose their shape during the thawing process and that the slices and dice can also become very soft.
In order to prevent this from happening, for instance if you want to use it in a salad and want it to keep its shape, try not to defrost it completely and to use it still slightly frozen. In order to do this, keep the freezer bag containing your cucumber pieces in the vegetable drawer at the bottom of the fridge and leave it there for at least one hour so it can thaw partly.
This way, not only the cucumber will not be completely deteriorated, but it will also keep all its goodness. Do make sure that after an hour spent in the fridge, you check it out before serving it!