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How to make cucumbers taste a bit less bitter?

 
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Second time in my life I'm having a bumper crop of cucumbers.  I love cucumbers.  

Except... these are so bitter!  The bitterness remains for half an hour or more.  I don't mind some bitter - actually I kind of like it because that's what makes it taste like cucumber instead of water.  But this is too much even for me.

What can I do to make these less bitter?

I know, I could grow the less bitter type.  Maybe next year - or maybe that's why I usually have such dismal crop failure.

Pick them early - I'm doing that.

What else can I do?  
 
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About what size are these cucumbers when you pick them?
 
r ranson
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James Freyr wrote:About what size are these cucumbers when you pick them?



about the length of my hand and about the same thickness as the English Cucumbers in the store.

Maybe they are too young?  But much bigger than that they start going yellow.
 
James Freyr
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r ranson wrote:
Maybe they are too young?  But much bigger than that they start going yellow.



Maybe they are getting too old. We like to pick cucumbers about 4 inches long, not quite totally round yet having a few ridges in them and also often are nubby with bumps.
 
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Are they evenly bitter through and through?  Or is it concentrated in the ends and the skin?  I know that with some kinds of cukes I've grown, if they are too bitter I can sometimes cut an inch off each end and peel them, and have them be OK.  Other times there's still too much bitterness even in the white flesh, but this hasn't happened often to me.

I also thought I remembered reading about some procedure with salt.  When I Googled, this article popped up offering a few suggestions that strike me as somewhat implausible.  (One of them does involve salt, but...)  Anyway, perhaps my skepticism is no substitute for actual experimentation.
 
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My mom always peels them, because she says the bitterness is all in the peels. I don't mind it, so I leave them on ('bitter' is good for the digestion, and I have been working toward acquiring the taste). But, I've noticed that they do seem substantially sweeter, sans peels.
 
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This is a really weird trick that someone showed me years ago when we had a variety of cuke that was bitter. Cut an end off the cuke and take the cut off part and rub its cut surface in a circular motion a couple of dozen times against the cut you just made on the end of the cuke. "Sap" will start to work it's way to the cut surface. Cut this end off again by about 1/4". Repeat with the other end of the cuke. Harder to explain than do. I wouldn't have believed that this trick would work if I hadn't seen and tasted the results for myself.
 
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I use cucumber in my guacamole. I always peel and core (seed removal) to get rid of bitterness.

 
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Larisa Walk wrote:This is a really weird trick that someone showed me years ago when we had a variety of cuke that was bitter. Cut an end off the cuke and take the cut off part and rub its cut surface in a circular motion a couple of dozen times against the cut you just made on the end of the cuke. "Sap" will start to work it's way to the cut surface. Cut this end off again by about 1/4". Repeat with the other end of the cuke. Harder to explain than do. I wouldn't have believed that this trick would work if I hadn't seen and tasted the results for myself.



I was going to mention this method. It's common all over India.
 
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In my ecosystem, growing cucumbers with less sun and more consistent water seems to be a good method of minimizing the poisons. Better yet is to grow varieties that lack the genes to make the poisons in the first place. This year, I tasted a cotyledon of every plant in one patch and culled those with the most bitterness. I concur with the comments already made about peeling/cutting, etc.  
 
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