It’s that time again: cucumber season! Usually, one cucumber plant produces a plethora of cucumbers. What to do with them all? First, I’ll show you how to prep them, and soon I’ll follow up with my favorite recipe for quick cucumber pickles.
Cutting and peeling cucumbers is easy. Peeling removes any bitterness in the peel, while seeding removes the unpleasant seeds and excess water. However, certain varieties of cucumber (and most varieties when they are young and small) do not need to be peeled and seeded.
In the photo above, the long green ones on the far left are Persian cucumbers and don’t need to be peeled. The round yellow cucumber is a lemon cucumber from my neighbor’s garden. The small round green one in front was given to me by a friend.
The three cucumbers on the right are an assortment of cucumbers from my garden and my friends. They are examples of the standard garden cucumbers I knew growing up. Larger cucumbers such as these may need to be peeled to remove their bitterness, which is strongest towards the stem. You can check the level of bitterness by cutting off the stem end and tasting it.
I usually find peeling and then trimming off the ends of larger cucumbers is enough to remove the bitterness. Other methods include rubbing salt onto the ends or trimming off the end and rubbing the cucumber with the trimmed piece until a white foam develops. After the foam stops forming, rinse the cucumber and cut it how you like for your recipe.