Can I use 'old' cucumbers?

gardener1908August 7, 2009

I have a basket of cucumbers that I picked and then had company and forgot about them. Maybe a week old. They are not soft or showing any signs of spoiling. Can these be used for anything or should they go into the compost pile? I know the recipes always say to use fresh.

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I would not waste sugar, spices or my time on pickles that are more than 2 days old, whether refrigerated or not. They will be great for the compost. Sorry.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2009 at 10:41AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Agree with Shirly - it is a waste of time and ingredients. You could use them for relish I suppose but even that will be mush. I'd compost them.


    Bookmark   August 7, 2009 at 11:04AM
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rdback(Z6 VA)

I agree and disagree. I agree they're not candidates for preserving. I disagree with they're only fit for the compost pile.

If they're in the condition you say, use them on sandwiches, in salads, sliced with onions in vinegar, etc. Use them like you would any store bought cucumber. The advantage is yours will taste WAY better.



    Bookmark   August 7, 2009 at 11:23AM
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I also agree that I wouldn't make pickles, but I wouldn't throw them away. I'd grind them up and make sweet relish out of them, or dill relish if you prefer.

Any that didn't get used that way I'd slice and eat, or make that cucumber salad with the sour cream and vinegar or use for refrigerator pickles that are going to get eaten pretty quickly anyway.

Cucumber sandwiches sound pretty good, too.


    Bookmark   August 7, 2009 at 2:02PM
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How do you prepare your refrigerator pickles? I've been searching on the forum and finding a lot of info on claussens and half-sours, but do you have a recommendation for a pickle that gets put in the fridge right away? The search on here is driving me a bit crazy! Everything I type in seems to point me at pickled eggs...


    Bookmark   August 8, 2009 at 7:48PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

You can make the half sours and place them in the fridge right away, but the fermentation will take many weeks to get them to a tastly level. Its better to make the salt brine and let the cukes sit in the room temp salt and water brine at room temp for about 3 days, then add a couple of tablespoons of white vinegar and place in the fridge. After that, you should still wait a couple of days for them to get a bit more mello. There is no such thing as an 'instant pickle', unless you run cukes through a food processor and chop them fine, add salt and boiling vinegar and your herb and spice preferences, then place in fridge overnight. The recipe(s) for the half sours is found here in any search for the words 'half sour'.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2009 at 12:40AM
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Andymath, I like the following refrigerator pickles. I don't care for very sour pickles, and am not very fond of dill pickles either, but I like these:

Refrigerator pickles


In a saucepan, heat on low until thoroughly dissolved:
1 C water
1 tsp salt
1/2 C white vinegar
1/2 C sugar
then stir in:
1/2 tsp celery seed
1/2 tsp mustard seed
pour the above mix over:
2 cukes, thinly sliced (we use english cukes which are very thin-skinned and don't bother to peel them)
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
cover and refrigerate several hoursÂthese will keep a couple of weeks with no loss of crispness

These are pretty good for dill pickles, they're a sweet dill, kind of different:

Sweet Dill Refrigerator Pickles

2 cups sugar
2 cups vinegar
2 cups water
1/4 cup salt
3 quarts sliced unpeeled cucumbers
1 large onion, sliced
3/4 to 1 cup minced fresh dill

In a saucepan, combine sugar, vinegar, water and salt. Bring to a boil and boil 1 minute. In a large nonmetallic container, combine cucumbers, onion and dill. Pour dressing over; cool. Cover and refrigerate at least 3 days before serving. Stir occasionally. Yield: 3-1/2 quarts.

Finally, here's a spicy one that Elery wants me to try, I haven't made it yet but I'm going to. It's from AllRecipes.

Spicy Refrigerator Dill Pickles

12 3 to 4 inch long pickling cucumbers
2 cups water
1 3/4 cups white vinegar
1 1/2 cups chopped fresh dill weed
1/2 cup white sugar
8 cloves garlic, chopped 1 1/2 tablespoons coarse salt
1 tablespoon pickling spice
1 1/2 teaspoons dill seed
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
4 sprigs fresh dill weed

1. In a large bowl, combine the cucumbers, water, vinegar, chopped dill, sugar, garlic, salt, pickling spice, dill seed, and red pepper flakes. Stir, and let stand at room temperature for 2 hours, until the sugar and salt dissolve.
2. Remove the cucumbers to three wide mouth jars, placing 4 cucumbers into each jar. Ladle in the liquid from the bowl to cover. Place a sprig of fresh dill into each jar, and seal with lids. Refrigerate for 10 days before eating. Use within 1 month.

Happy Canning. And Pickling!!


    Bookmark   August 9, 2009 at 11:34PM
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Just wanting to clarify a bit here. Why is it okay to use older cucumbers for fridge pickles and relish and not other types of pickles? Not disagreeing, just want to know why? Is it because any bactria would have more time to develope in a canned product vs. one in the fridge?

    Bookmark   August 10, 2009 at 9:59AM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

Regular canned pickles get a HEAT PROCESS. This BWB is what will soften any cuke once they are exposed to heat. To reduce softness in home canning, its best to use very fresh pickling cukes so they are not notably as soft once they see t he heat processing step. Refrigerator type pickles see no heat of any kind. Thats the main reason Claussen has a popular refrigerator type pickle, and also offer pickled green tomatoes. Trying to can these will end up with a mushy product.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2009 at 2:15PM
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I agree, fresh pickles are crisper. If you use old pickles for traditional waterbath canning, they are going to be softer.

Mine always turn out mushy anyway, my pickles are not very good.


    Bookmark   August 10, 2009 at 3:07PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

If you increase the vinegar to water, or even leave out the water, and use straight vinegar, and some Calcium Chloride (Ball Pickle Crisp), you should get a decent crisp pickle. I don't process the whole length of time indicated for BWB high vinegar pickles. I only do about 10 minutes per quart tops. The vinegar brine is boiling when put into the jars with room temp cukes. The acidic vinegar will still make them safe to eat.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2009 at 8:58PM
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