After an entire summer of growing cucumbers, your heart may break when you pick your cucumbers, and they feel slimy. Ick! And you thought you did everything right. As you feel your cucumbers, you’re bound to ask yourself: why do my cucumbers feel slimy?
Cucumbers can feel slimy for a variety of reasons, including getting old and spoiled or being infested with pests.
Slimy cucumbers don’t happen without reason, so thankfully, you can prepare and prevent more of the reasons why your cucumbers feel slimy. Read through this article to know exactly what to do and what to avoid.
10 Reasons Why Your Cucumbers Feel Slimy
We’re going to go through some of the reasons why your cucumbers feel slimy. While this list is in no way exhaustive, it includes some of the most common reasons why your cucumbers have become slimy.
Your Cucumbers Are About To Spoil
Slime is a sign that your cucumbers have begun to spoil.
When you pick cucumbers from your garden, it usually means that you have a massive harvest to deal with quickly.
After making every kind of cucumber dish under the sun – roasted cucumbers, pickled cucumbers, cucumber bread – you’re bound to have some leftovers.
Cucumbers will last a while if they are untouched, but if you pick one up and feel it getting slimy, you either need to get rid of it or use it immediately.
Slime is the first sign that your cucumbers are going bad. I’d say it’s a better indication than an awful smell!
Your Cucumber Has Or Had A Worm In It
Something as innocent as a single worm is enough to ruin a perfectly good cucumber!
If you have a small garden of your own, you aren’t using strong, commercial pesticides to keep worms away, so they may find their way into your cucumber.
The worm itself is harmless to your cucumber, but it may break through the skin, causing your cucumber to rot prematurely.
Your Cucumbers Weren’t Stored Properly
Cucumbers need to be stored properly to keep for a long time.
You may feel slime coat your cucumbers if you do not store them properly.
The biggest culprit here is when you throw your cucumbers into your fridge, thinking that keeping them cold is the best option.
The fridge is a great place to store your cucumbers, as long as it is done right.
Tossing your cucumbers into the fridge without a care may cause them to absorb excess moisture, which will speed up the rotting process.
Your Cucumbers Are Old
Even if your cucumbers haven’t spoiled yet, old cucumbers can start to get slimy.
Old cucumbers may feel slimy on the outside, but they may be old rather than rotting.
While slime is a sign of rot, sometimes an old cucumber becomes slimy because it’s been hanging around for too long.
Usually, this slime comes because they are not as firm as they once were.
Your Cucumbers Have Too Much Moisture
Let’s revisit storage and talk about how putting your cucumbers in the fridge can cause slime.
Cucumbers already have high water content, and putting them in the fridge will make them retain even more moisture without proper storage.
No matter what you do to your fridge, it will always have moisture.
Your cucumbers will absorb it, which causes their firm skin to get soft and the outside to get slimy. As a result, you’re also speeding up the rotting process.
It Was Too Cold For Your Cucumbers
The fridge is also cold, which can shock your cucumbers and cause slime.
If water wasn’t bad enough, the fridge could also be too cold for your cucumbers.
The fridge can be shocking for cucumbers that prefer temperatures between 75 and 85 degrees.
Cucumbers can safely be put in the fridge, though. Just put them in the crisper or on the top shelf near the light. Do not push them too far back because the back of the fridge tends to be colder than the front.
The door is also a good option for your cucumbers because it tends to be slightly warmer than the rest of your fridge.
You Put Your Cucumbers In A Plastic Bag
Plastic bags are not suitable for your cucumbers, especially when putting them in the fridge.
You might think that putting your cucumbers into a plastic bag is a great storage method, but you’re choking off any airflow that they might have.
The cucumbers will then sit in their own moisture, thus ruining their firm skin and causing them to become slimy.
Do not store your cucumbers in plastic bags; instead, do not cut your cucumbers and store them whole; no added packaging is necessary.
Your Cucumber Has A Disease
If your cucumber has a disease while still on the vine, your cucumbers might be suffering from a disease that is destroying them before you harvest them.
One of the most common diseases that causes cucumbers to ooze slime is bacterial wilt.
For all the nonprofessional gardeners out there, it basically means that your cucumbers’ vines and stems are getting clogged up. These clogs prevent your cucumbers from getting the water they need, thus causing them to wilt.
Some cucumbers can be saved after a disease like bacterial wilt, but do not eat any that look like they have already rotten on the vine.
It is hard to leave behind an okay-looking cucumber, but it is for the best.
Your Cucumbers Have An Infestation
We talked about a worm in your cucumber, but an infestation can also affect your cucumber plants while still on the vine.
A pest infestation can ravage even the most beautiful cucumber plants, putting your hard work to waste.
Here are some of the most common pests to keep an eye out for while you’re tending to your garden:
- Slugs or snails
- Flea beetles
You Cut Your Cucumbers Before You Used Them
Some people like to cut up their cucumbers before using them, which can lead to a slimy film.
Chopping up your cucumbers exposes the inside flesh to air, turning your cucumbers slimy at record speeds.
The easiest way to prevent this is not to chop your cucumbers up until you are ready to use them.
Some people like to put plastic on the end of the cucumber that they have cut if they do not use the whole thing, but I don’t suggest this. I’ve had better luck leaving it exposed to room temperature air – within a reasonable time – and cutting off any part that has dried out.
Can You Still Eat Cucumbers If They Are Slimy
It can be hard to let a cucumber go to waste, so the choice is up to you to eat a cucumber if it is slimy.
You need to use your judgment when eating a cucumber if they are slimy.
You can save some slimy cucumbers by cutting way any part that looks like it is rotting. Sometimes that happens on the ends of the cucumbers where it was dropped or nicked.
Other times, you should not eat the cucumber because it is rotting.
Even though cucumbers are mostly water, you can still get sick from eating rotten cucumbers. One of the biggest concerns with rotten cucumbers is salmonella.
Just remember: even if you lost your crop this year, you’re lucky enough to be able to find cucumbers at the grocery store!
Hi there, my name is Allie and welcome to my blog; GareningWithAllie!
Much of what you see written here is just our personal experiences with gardening. Along with the content I write here, there is also a unique collection of gardening topics covered by some of our close friends. I hope you find everything you read here to be helpful, informative, and something that can make your gardening journey the most lovely experience ever! With that said, Happy Gardening!