Cucumbers are great veggies that add a refreshing crunch to salads, sandwiches, and noodles. Imagine your horror when you open your fridge to find the one you wish to use covered in slime. It sucks, but here is how to prevent it.
Cucumbers get slimy or mushy when they have gone bad. If it ever happens to you, those cucumbers should be composted, not eaten or used.
Unfortunately, cucumbers contain high moisture content which means that they are a great hydrating food and are therefore susceptible to spoilage faster.
“That high moisture content also predisposes them to a shorter shelf life,” says Amy Reed, a registered dietitian nutritionist based in Cincinnati, and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
You may be tempted to wash the slime off or cut off the mushy parts of a cucumber but that is not encouraged. The slime indicates that the cucumber is starting to rot, and there are health risks linked to eating spoiled produce.
To avoid health risks, it is best to get rid of cucumbers that are slimy or mushy.
One of the best ways to prevent slime and mushiness is with proper storage. You are advised to store cucumbers in the crisper drawer in the fridge. And they should be kept between 50°F to 54°F and about 90% to 95% humidity.
If the temperature is too cold for more than a couple of days, cucumbers develop what is known as a chilling injury —water-soaked areas, pits in the skin, discoloration, and decay.
Shrink wrap them in plastic or store them in a sealed plastic bag to prevent this. It can also help to wrap them in paper towels before putting them in a plastic bag. Paper towels are known to absorb moisture, keeping produce fresher for longer.
Also remember not to store cucumbers near tomatoes, apples, avocados, or other types of produce that emit ethylene. This gas can cause cucumbers to rot faster.