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How To Tell If A Cucumber Is Bad Plus Storage And Buying Tips

Do you have cucumbers stored in the fridge but are unsure whether they’re safe to consume? Learn how to tell whether your favorite produce has gone bad here.

Cucumbers are a great produce item that’s enjoyable whether eaten raw, in smoothies, in soups or when tossed to your light and fresh cucumber salad!

They’re known for their crisp texture, mild flavor, and green, thin skin.

People often think of cucumbers as vegetables, but they’re botanically considered fruits (melons, believe it or not!). 

Cucumbers have a short storage life and high water content, so they can go bad quickly when not stored correctly.

In case you’ve never eaten a cucumber before, chances are it might be difficult for you to tell if the produce is fresh or has gone bad. 

Luckily, there are different ways to tell if a cucumber is bad and to save the fresh crop from the trash bin. 

Today, I’m going to share them all!

This article also helps you unlock some nifty tips and tricks on ideally storing and buying your fresh cucumbers at farmer’s markets.

Here are some fresh cucumber recipes: Cucumber Water, Super Simple Cucumber & Tomato Salad, Cucumber & Avocado Soup, a nostalgic and delectable Cucumber Sandwich recipe, and German Cucumber Salad!

Table Of Contents

How to tell if a cucumber is bad

As mentioned, cucumber can spoil. 

This scenario can affect its taste, texture, and in some cases—can make you ill—we don’t want that!

That’s why it’s vital to know how to tell whether the whole cucumber has gone bad. 

Some of the noticeable signs that you have bad cucumbers include changes in their texture, appearance, smell, and color.

Texture

A telltale sign of bad cucumber is having soft spots on its surface. 

When you cut it into pieces, you’ll notice a mushy and soft texture on its flesh. 

Remember that the cucumber texture should be incredibly crisp and crunchy, not the other way around. 

If you need a little help peeling a cucumber, we have some tips for you here.

Appearance

Another way to tell whether your cucumber has gone bad is by looking at its appearance. 

Generally, good cucumber should have a bright green color. 

Discard cucumber with dark spots, molds, blemishes on the skin, and translucent color because these are clear signs of spoilage.

Smell

Fresh, raw cucumber smells refreshing and lightly scented. 

It shouldn’t be foul and sour. 

If your cucumber has one of these red flags, throw it out as this is a sign of spoilage and unsafe to consume. 

How long can cucumbers last in the fridge?

Cucumbers are high in water content. 

They’re made up of about 96 percent water, making them go bad quickly if not stored properly. 

When stored correctly in the refrigerator, whole cucumbers should stay good for about a week.

Meanwhile, cut cucumbers can last for up to two days, so it’s best to avoid slicing the cucumbers until you’re ready to cook or serve them. 

Pro tip: We recommend storing your cucumbers inside the crisper drawer to keep them crispy. 

The best way to store them is to wrap them in an airtight plastic wrap or plastic bag before sliding them into the fridge. 

Here’s a quick and easy pickled cucumbers recipe!

How long does a cucumber last?

Cucumbers don’t have a use-by date, sell-by date, or best-before date, so figuring out when they last might be tricky. 

Fortunately, you can rely on the purchase date. 

Expect that a whole and fresh cucumber you brought home from the grocery store could last for about one or two weeks at room temperature, while those kept in the fridge would likely stay fresh for about a week. 

Sliced cucumbers should be stored in the refrigerator and can last for about one or two days.

Moreover, other cucumber varieties have slightly longer shelf lives than your regular cucumbers.

For instance, English cucumbers and Japanese cucumbers last anywhere from seven to ten days in the crisper drawer. 

But similar to regular slicing cucumbers, Persian cucumbers have a one-week shelf life even stored properly in the fridge. 

Turns out you CAN freeze cucumber but it changes the texture. Check this out.

Type of cucumberAt room temperatureIn the refrigerator
Whole cucumberAbout 1 to 2 weeks1 week
Sliced cucumber2 hours1 to 2 days
Persian cucumber2 weeks1 week
Japanese cucumber2 to 3 weeks7 to 10 days
English cucumberN/A7 to 10 days

Tips on storing a cucumber

Since you already know the shelf life of cucumbers, let’s learn some tips and tricks on how to store one at home properly. 

Check these out!

  • If you plan to keep a cucumber, pick firm ones with no soft spots on the skin. 
  • Before putting whole cucumbers in the fridge, make sure to wrap them in a tight plastic bag or container. 
  • Keep your cut or sliced cucumbers in the refrigerator, not at room temperature.
  • Ensure to place your cucumbers in the crisper drawer of your fridge. 
  • Make sure your cucumbers are dry before storing them, as excess water encourages spoilage.
  • Cut cucumbers can last for up to two days in the refrigerator, so it’s best to avoid slicing them until they’re ready to be cooked or served. 
  • Avoid storing squishy cucumber featuring dark spots as this indicates that they have started to rot. 
  • Cucumbers are prone to chilling injury, so ensure not to store them in your freezer. 
  • Many recommend keeping the cucumbers out of direct sunlight when stored at room temperature. 
  • To preserve the freshness and extend the lifespan of your cucumbers, wait to wash them until right before you’re planning to use them.

Looking for some fun cucumber appetizer recipes?

Tips on buying a cucumber

Cucumbers are versatile, and you can use them in different cooking applications; they can also be eaten raw or cooked. 

Use these buying tips and tricks at the grocery store, produce stand, or farmers’ market to ensure you pick the freshest cucumbers.

  • Avoid cucumber with cuts, bruises, molds, and a slimy white surface. 
  • Select cucumbers that are crisp, firm, and don’t have a mushy appearance.
  • Don’t buy cucumbers in bulk since they have a short life.
  • Look for cucumbers that are shiny with dark green to light green hues. 
  • Avoid those pre-cut cucumbers as they cost more than buying the whole one.

The bottom line

Cucumber is a great produce but highly perishable.   

A few simple tricks, including looking for changes in smell, appearance, and texture changes, could determine whether it has gone bad. 

Learn the following techniques as they can help you and your family keep safe from illness. 

Toss any cucumber with a mushy texture, foul smell, and molds.  

Don’t forget to store those fresh ones correctly for longer use!  

Here are a few recipes that use cucumber to try!