Learn how to freeze cucumbers so that you can enjoy your garden-fresh cucumbers all year long! Read on to find out how easy it really is.
Cucumbers are among the most popular vegetables used for salads and healthy eating, but what happens when there are too many cucumbers to eat fresh? If you grow your own or purchase them from a farmers market, cucumbers can easily go bad before you have time to use them all up. Don't throw cucumbers away!
Preparing Cucumber For Freezing
Here's how to prepare cucumber for freezing. Simply place washed cucumber on a baking sheet, then put it in your freezer overnight. The next day, transfer frozen chunks of cucumber to a bag or container and store them in your freezer until you are ready to use them. When you're ready, just run your frozen cukes under warm water, and they'll quickly defrost enough for use in your recipes!
Freezing Method #1: Slices
The first method we'll cover is freezing sliced cucumbers. You may be surprised to find out that you can actually freeze cucumber slices and use them later as a quick snack or alongside foods.
- First, thinly slice cucumbers and place them in a single layer on a baking sheet.
- Flash freeze until solid and then transfer to freezer bag or container. Flash freezing prevents ice crystals from forming and ruining your food.
- Next, add these frozen slices of cucumber directly into soups, stews, or smoothies without thawing first; they'll add flavor but no visible pieces. You can also enjoy cucumber slices as a cool treat during hot summer days when you want something lighter than ice cream (but more refreshing than water).
Freezing Method #2: Cubes
Use a small cookie or ice-cube trays and freeze cubes of cucumber. The frozen pieces can be added to your blender, smoothie maker, or food processor. You can also defrost them individually and toss them into salads or soups for a burst of flavor and texture.
Don't have time to peel your cucumber? Instead, cut it into thin slices, place it on a baking sheet, and then in your freezer for two hours.
Once frozen, transfer cucumber slices onto a plastic bag; use as you would previously prepared cubes. This method works best if using thinner-skinned varieties like Persian or Armenian cucumbers.
Freezing Method #3: Puree
If you're going to be using your frozen cucumber in a recipe, one good way of preparing it is by pureeing it. This will give you a frozen cucumber block that can easily be diced up and used as needed. First, puree your cucumber in a food processor or blender, adding a small amount of water (and/or ice cubes) if necessary. Once pureed, spread out into a thin layer on plastic wrap-lined cookie sheets, freeze until solid, and then transfer into freezer bags or containers. Store frozen puree in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Using Frozen Cucumber
Frozen cucumbers can be used in a variety of recipes. One of our favorites is this cool and refreshing cucumber salad. Simply combine 1 cup of diced cucumber, ½ cup of diced onion, ¼ cup of diced red pepper, 2 tablespoons of white vinegar, 1 tablespoon of sugar, and ¼ teaspoon of salt in a bowl. Gently stir everything together and then refrigerate for at least an hour so that the flavors can blend. This salad is perfect for a summer cookout or picnic!
Freezing cucumbers is great if you have an abundance and don't know what to do with them. Freezing also preserves nutrients, although they will diminish a bit as they thaw. But any loss in nutrient value is made up for how much easier frozen veggies are to cook than fresh. The same goes for freezing cucumber slices.
Remember that freezing is best only when done soon after harvest and used immediately after the thaw. Letting vegetables get too old or letting them sit around without freezing can make their cell walls less sturdy, leading to off-flavors and bacterial growth that leads to spoiling your foods prematurely.
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