Why my cucumbers bitter? Cucumbers are the most popular vegetable in the garden, often upsetting their owners because of the bitter taste of the green fruit. The cucumber is a peculiar crop. This vegetable is native to the tropical forests of India, where the climate is humid and not very variable. Growing cucumbers in other climates require similar conditions.
As climatic conditions change, the fruit begins to accumulate a specific substance called cucurbitacin, which affects the flavor of the cucumber. We offer some tips to help avoid disappointment in harvesting everyone’s favorite and ideal vegetable crop.
The reason for the bitter taste of cucumber is:
The best way to grow sweet cucumbers is to buy good-quality seeds.
The bitterness of cucumbers is caused by a specific gene, which means that it is a genetic trait. The bitterness accumulated through the seeds is passed on to the next generation. Therefore, collecting the “wrong” cucumber seeds will result in bitter cucumbers the following year.
Currently, breeders have developed hybrids that do not contain the bitterness gene:
Keep in mind that the above-mentioned salad types and varieties used for canning are not suitable.
When preparing your own seed material, leave the cucumber “for the yolk” and be sure to taste the leaves in the bush. If it is bitter, the cucumber will be bitter too.
Cucumber seeds should be sown at the recommended time so that the plant is not exposed to the hot sun, but gradually adapts to the elevated temperatures and bright, burning sunlight.
Hot, dry, hot air is stressful for cucumbers. If the usual conditions are not provided for sprouts and seedlings, the culture turns on the stress-resistant mechanism – and starts producing cucurbitacin.
When using a warm seedbed, it is necessary to create the required conditions, because cucumbers will react in the same way to significant differences in day and night temperatures, soil, and air temperatures – they will begin to accumulate bitterness in the skin and stems. Harvesting will be painful.
Cucumbers on heavy clay or low fertility sandy soils will be much more bitter than those on light neutral soils (humus, but not manure) with high organic matter content.
HOW TO PREVENT BITTERNESS IN CUCUMBERS?
To prevent the accumulation of bitterness in cucumbers, it is necessary to.
- Strictly follow the temperature regime to ensure the optimum temperature.
- Maintain a light regime and avoid exposing the plant to direct sunlight.
- Water cucumbers only with warm water in warm weather to avoid sudden temperature changes brought about by cold watering
- Do not allow the soil to dry out: insufficient watering will increase the bitter taste and the number of bitter fruits to increase sharply.
- In hot, dry weather, maintain a moist microclimate by sprinkling water through a small nozzle.
- In sudden cold weather, cover cucumbers with temporary shade: crops are covered with non-woven fabrics, films, and other materials.
- Feed plants with mineral fertilizers (do not use manure) containing trace elements or ash in cold weather.
Under these conditions, the production of cucurbitacin in the fruit will be minimized, and the fast-growing quality of the cucumber will be sweet.
HOW TO DEAL WITH A BITTER CUCUMBER CROP?
- Cucurbitacin accumulates mainly in the rind. To reduce the bitterness, you can peel the two halves with salt, then rub them slightly and eat them fresh or put them in salads. By the way, cucurbitacin is very useful.
- Cucurbitacin breaks down when cooked. You can soak the bitter fruit in warm water before eating. The flavor of cucumber will be reduced, but so will the bitterness.
- Use the bitter fruits of pickled varieties of cucumbers for hot canning and pickling.
BITTER BUT HEALTHY!
- Cucurbitacin improves the function of the liver and pancreas (medicinal bitterness).
- Has the property of destroying malignant tumors.
- Improves the function of the intestinal tract.
- Brings a flavorful spice to dishes in fresh salads and canned cucumbers.
Some gardeners, following the example of the Chinese, have grown separate beds of bitter cucumbers specifically for medicinal use.
More related information about growing cucumbers plants