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Bitter, bitter cucumbers!  RSS feed

 
Posts: 71
Location: East-Central Illinois
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My cucmbers are unedible! I have babied them and loved them for two plus months and they repay me with nasty bitter fruits! I have read it is because of the heat - it has been terribly hot here in east-central Illinois. I will try feeding them to see if it will make a difference but from what I'm reading my only real recourse is to pull them up and use them for compost. Does anyone have any other ideas? Recipes to make them more palatable? I have also read the bitterness can make a person ill.  I'm pretty disappointed. If I replant chances are I won't see any fruit before the end of September or early October. Our weather is pretty unpredictable these days but I'm guessing it will probably stay hot through September.
 
Mother Tree
Posts: 10486
Location: Portugal
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Some varieties will turn bitter if you pollinate them.  The sort they grow in the UK are like that and never have seeds in them.
 
                                                
Posts: 14
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As I understand it, the chemical that makes them bitter is the same one that makes you burp cukes, so you might look into a burpless variety next time. I had the same problem with 2 of my pickling cukes this year. The only thing I can compare that bitterness to is Tea Tree oil. Anyone who has tasted that understands. Although I honestly think the cukes were worse. I pulled mine and planted amaranth
 
                            
Posts: 43
Location: Pennsylvania, Zone 5B
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Try slicing one and cutting off the green skin and just eating the white part. I left a cuke on the vine too long and it was turning yellow, and it tasted awfully bitter, but we found that doing the extra slicing and just eating the white part in a salad made it taste just fine.
 
Posts: 63
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Peel them and prepare them using a method like kimchi or refrigerator pickles, or just with a vinegar dressing.  I haven't had a cucumber too bitter to not bend to this treatment and be edible!
 
Christina Darling
Posts: 71
Location: East-Central Illinois
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Just taking off the skin doesn't do the job - still terrible. I'll try some vinegar or lemon and see if it helps before I pull them.
 
Posts: 313
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They're also good stir-fried with other vegetables.
 
Posts: 9
Location: The Netherlands
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You could try to take the skin off and let them stay a while with sugar on them.

Good luck!
 
Posts: 201
Location: Germany/Cologne - Finland/Savonlinna
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Water shortage, watering with cold water, nitrogen deficite because of your compost mixture...

Really don't know. I always buy cucumber seeds that are low in bitterns. Never had a bitter cucumber!
 
Christina Darling
Posts: 71
Location: East-Central Illinois
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The research I have read indicates the cause is HOT or fluctuating temperatures and it has been extremely hot here.

It may be too late to plant again this summer but yesterday I bought "Marketmore 76" cucumber seeds which are guaranteed not to be bitter, from "High Mowing Organic Seeds."

http://www.highmowingseeds.com
 
pollinator
Posts: 4437
Location: North Central Michigan
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try pulling off the bitter ones and putting some sort of shade over the plant to see if it makes a difference on  new ones coming on..i wouldn't buy those same seeds again though
 
pollinator
Posts: 1452
Location: Midlands, South Carolina Zone 7b/8a
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I planted Marketmore this year and they produced wonderful cucumbers.  I am sure the variety plays a big part in the bitterness factor but I did have one that was very bitter just on one end of the cuke - makes me that environmental conditions may be another factor as others have suggested.
 
Posts: 539
Location: Athens, GA/Sunset, SC
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Even watering and partial shade will help. It's been 100-110f here and I set mine next to drip-irrigation and have had no bitters yet. Make sure calcium is present as well. Liming initially has surely helped my crop over time. Cukes are about 75% water, so it's definitely crucial to have a good watering schedule.
 
gardener
Posts: 7361
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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      By planting the burpless/non-bitter varieties you also gain some protection from cucumber beetle since they are more attracted to the old-fashioned bitter ones.
 
Posts: 501
Location: Eastern Kansas
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Bitterness in cucumbers start at one end and move on up: when it is VERY hot I used to cut off the end and what was left would not be bitter at all, while the end would be NASTY!

Meanwhile, WATER WATER WATER! The heas has broken for us and when it breaks for you the young cukes will not be bitter it you water enough.
 
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