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Say Goodbye to Bitter Cucumbers with These Simple Growing Tips!

Cucumber is a widely cultivated creeping vine plant that belongs to the Cucurbitaceae family and is used as a culinary vegetable. It is an annual plant that is consumed worldwide for its nutritional and health benefits along with its refreshing taste.

Aarushi Chadha
Bitter Cucumber
If you have brought cucumbers that are bitter, then you can reduce bitterness by rubbing the ends of the cucumber until a white foam-like substance emerges from the inside of the cucumber

There aren’t many cucumber growers who haven’t experienced growing a bitter cucumber. Bitterness in cucumbers is caused by the compound cucurbitacin, a compound that is always present in cucumbers. The higher the level of cucurbitacin, the more bitter the cucumber will be. The levels of cucurbitacin change based on the vegetable’s growing process.

Growing mistakes that make cucumbers bitter:

Cucurbitacin is normally found in the leaves, stems, and roots of cucumber plants. When the cucumber plant is under stress, cucurbitacin spreads from the vegetative parts of the plant into the cucumber fruit part. A number of factors can put the cucumber plant under stress. Some of these are- physical damage to the plant, lack of nitrogen, underwatering, overwatering, very cold or hot conditions, and pest infestations.  

Preventing Bitter Cucumbers:

Prevent growing bitter cucumbers by following these growing tips-

Water your cucumber plants properly- Long periods of hot and dry weather can contribute to bitter-tasting cucumbers. Therefore, it is important to water your cucumber plants regularly to offset the bitterness. In normal weather, deeply soak your cucumber plants at least once a week. In extremely hot weather, you should consider adding a drip irrigation system to ensure that the plant receives adequate and consistent moisture. To avoid overwatering, stick a finger half an inch deep in the soil. If the soil is moist, then you can avoid watering the plant.

Protect the plant during hot weather- As the temperatures start to rise, you can add mulch to the soil to help conserve soil moisture and prevent weeds. You should also move the plant to a shaded area or add a shade cloth to provide filtered light.

Feed the soil- A lack of nutrients, such as nitrogen, can increase the risk of growing bitter cucumbers. Cucumber plants are generally heavy feeders and thrive in soils that are rich in organic matter. Therefore, you should add compost or balanced fertilizers to the soil every 4 to 6 weeks.

Remove weeds- As discussed above, cucumbers are heavy feeders and competition for water and nutrients can make the cucumber fruit bitter. Therefore, frequently check the soil for weeds and remove them, especially before sowing cucumber seeds in the spring.

Proper sunlight- Lack of sun can lead to bitterness in cucumbers. Therefore, while growing cucumbers in cold temperatures, consider growing your cucumbers undercover as it will amplify the available heat and light.

How to remove bitterness from cucumber fruit?

If you have brought cucumbers that are bitter, then you can reduce bitterness by rubbing the ends of the cucumber until a white foam-like substance emerges from the inside of the cucumber. You can also cut the cucumber lengthwise and sprinkle salt on both halves and rub them against each other to remove the bitterness. Repeat the procedure before washing it off.

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