Cucumber is a dark green vegetable that is usually eaten fresh. It may also be pickled or used in salads. The cucumber plant requires warm weather and needs to be grown on the ground with the soil kept moist until it starts to bear fruit, which can take about fifty days. The following are some tips on how to know if a cucumber is bad:
1. Look for discoloration or wrinkling
Wrinkles are the result of drying. If a cucumber is removed from its original packaging, it can become dry which will cause wrinkles to appear on its green skin. This is not considered bad unless the cucumber has also molded or developed spots that are yellow or brownish-green. Mold indicates that the cucumber is bad and should not be eaten.
2. Check for damage or bruises on the skin
If a bruise has formed, it may indicate either that an insect has made a meal of it or that the cucumber was bumped during transport. Cucumbers with bruised areas should not be eaten because they release ethylene gas which can cause damage to other vegetables in the refrigerator.
3. Check the stem end of the vegetable for decay or soft spots
Soft or decayed spots on either end indicate that the cucumber is bad and should not be consumed unless it has been cut away from the spot. If only part of the spot is soft, the rest of the cucumber will be okay to eat.
4. Smell it!
Cucumbers should not have a moldy, pungent, or foul odor. They should smell fresh and mild to slightly bitter. If the cucumber has any of these odors, it should be discarded. The smell is brought about by bacterial growth and may also be a sign that the cucumber is past its prime.
5. Feel it
Cucumbers that are limp or flaccid indicate that they have been stored at incorrect temperatures. If a cucumber is stored at too low of a temperature, the starch within the vegetable congeals which results in limpness. If this is not corrected, it can affect other vegetables in the refrigerator.
6. Check for swelling, which is an indication of decay
This can be detected on either end of the cucumber. If it is small, cut off the affected area and use it within a few days. However, if there are any signs of mold or softness, discard them. This is an indication of decay and bacteria growth. So if a cucumber is swelling or has gone bad, use a fork to poke it.
7. Sour Taste
Cucumbers should not taste sour. If they do, it is an indication that they have been stored at too high of a temperature or that the seeds have germinated inside the vegetable. The cucumbers taste will also change if they are stored in the refrigerator instead of the kitchen counter.
8. How do you know if a cucumber is bad: Mold
Mould is a sign that the vegetable has been stored at an incorrect temperature. It will form on either end of the cucumber and may indicate that it has begun to germinate. If any signs of mold appear, discard it immediately as this can spread and affect other vegetables in the refrigerator.
If a cucumber has become slimy, it is usually an indication that it has been stored at the incorrect temperature. This can lead to rot and may cause other vegetables in the refrigerator to spoil.
If a cucumber becomes pitted, it usually means that an insect has nibbled away at it while it was growing on the vine. It may also indicate that the cucumber is old. If there are only a few pits, you can cut out the affected area and eat the rest of it. However, if there are a lot of them or if they show any signs of decay, discard them as this might have affected other vegetables in your refrigerator.
How do you know if a cucumber is bad: Conclusion
If a cucumber is showing signs of deterioration or has gone bad, discard it. No matter the cause of deterioration, it is unhealthy to eat. To prevent vegetables from going bad, store cucumbers in a cool dry place and away from other vegetables. It’s best to place them in a paper bag or wrap them gently in a cloth and store them in the refrigerator.
Related article: Cucumber plant growth stages