Solving the Bitter Cucumber Problem

By on July 18, 2013

That blossom end of the cucumber? Not a bitterness problem.

Cut that bitterness right out of the cucumber

*  Blossom ends are the least  bitter part of the cucumber. Oregon State University Extension says cucurbitacin is the source of the bitter taste, and is concentrated in the stem end. OSU suggests peeling from blossom to stem end. Others recommend cutting 2” off the stem end. Bitterness should be gone.

Tip: It’s the opposite when preparing pickles. Click here to find out why pickles should have the blossom end cut off.

*  A French cook swears by her salting technique to remove any bitterness. She cuts the cucumber in half lengthwise, salts the center section, and turns the halves upside down to drain. After an hour she takes the tip of a spoon and runs it the length of each half, removing both the seeds and the bitterness. How do we know this cook? She’s the mother of our company president!

Cucumbers without the bitterness gene

Our cucumber Marketmore 76, developed at Cornell University, does not have the gene that creates bitterness.

For more information on all things cucumbery—watch our videos on Growing Cucumbers and How to Make Dill Pickles—and read the many cucumber articles that are linked at those spots.

  Comments (2)


tried growing eggplant a couple of years, however can’t seem to find the right picking time(s). any help would be appreciated. I certainly enjoy your site as well as your catalog(s). Thx,  JH

Posted by Jackie on Sep. 14, 2013 at 9:25:14 AM

Jackie, The Univ. of Illinois Extension says, “Harvest the fruits when they are 6 to 8 inches long and still glossy. Use a knife or pruning shears rather than breaking or twisting the stems. Many eggplant varieties have small prickly thorns on the stem and calyx, so exercise caution or wear gloves when harvesting. Leave the large (usually green) calyx attached to the fruit.

When the fruits become dull or brown, they are too mature for culinary use and should be cut off and discarded. Overmature fruits are spongy and seedy and may be bitter. Even properly harvested fruits do not store well and should be eaten soon after they are harvested. Large, vigorous plants can yield as many as four to six fruits at the peak of the season.”

The Virginia Cooperative Extension adds, “DAYS TO MATURITY: 100 to 150 days from seed; 70 to 85 days from transplants.

HARVEST: Fruit should be large, shiny, and uniformly deep purple in color. When the side of the fruit is pressed slightly with the thumbnail and an indentation remains, the fruit is ripe. Long, slender, Japanese eggplant may be ready to harvest from finger or hotdog size. When fruit is dull in color and has brown seeds, it is too ripe and should be discarded. Cut fruit from plant to avoid damage.”

Posted by on Sep. 18, 2013 at 3:00:44 PM

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