Cucumbers are available in stores year-round. In the home garden, they generally are harvested in late spring and the summer months. Cucumbers most available are the slicing variety and are eaten alone or added to salads. Cucumbers do not freeze well but can be kept in the refrigerator for short periods.
Brush off any dirt if harvesting cucumbers from your garden. If you are purchasing from the store, select cucumbers that are firm, deep green and not wrinkled on the ends. Do not wash. If left alone on a shelf at room temperature, cucumbers will start turning soft in one to two days.
Place the cucumbers in the refrigerator, in a low humidity drawer if possible. They will remain fresh and crisp for up to 10 days. They are still edible after this, but they will be soft.
Wrap a partially used cucumber tightly in plastic wrap or place in a sealed bag or container. Cucumbers will keep this way for up to 10 days. You may have to cut off the end on the side that was previously cut since it may be soft.
Pickle cucumbers. Certain varieties work best for pickling (e.g. gherkin), however, any kind can be pickled. There are many different recipes and methods to pickle cucumbers, but according to the University of Illinois Extension, an easy way to pickle cucumbers without special equipment is to first peel and thinly slice two quarts of cucumbers and one medium onion.
Add the sliced cucumbers and onions with one tablespoon of salt (table, kosher or canning) in a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and wait two hours.Then, drain the excreted water from the cucumbers and onions in a colander and put them back in the bowl.
Mix, in a separate bowl, exactly 1½ cups of sugar and ½ cup of white distilled vinegar. Pour over the cucumbers and stir together.
Place the mixture in a freezer-safe bag (remove excess air) or in a freezer-safe container. Freeze immediately. You can eat your pickles in just three to four days. Use within a year.
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