Cucumbers come to harvest quickly. Six to seven weeks after planting, small cucumbers will begin to form. Pick the first cucumbers small; this will encourage the plants to produce more.
When to Harvest Cucumbers
- Cucumbers can be harvested as soon as they are edible size.
- Harvest slicing cucumbers when bright, green, and firm and 6 to 8 inches (15-20 cm) long. Harvest pickling cucumbers when 2 to 4 inches long–6 to 7 inches long for big pickles.
- Harvest lemon cucumbers just before they turn fully yellow. A yellow lemon cucumber will be seedy.
- Cucumbers will be edible any time after the flower drops off the end of the fruit.
- Don’t leave cucumbers on the vine too long; an overripe cucumber will be dull, less crisp, seedy, and bitter tasting. Yellowing at the blossom end of the fruit is a sign the fruit is overripe. Remove all overripe fruit from the vine.
How to Harvest Cucumbers
- Cut the fruit from the vine with a knife or pruner. Pulling fruit from the plant may damage brittle vines.
- It is important to harvest cucumbers frequently to keep the plant producing new fruit.
How to Store Cucumbers
- Store cucumbers at 50°-54°F (10-12°C); a cool spot in the kitchen is best, not warmer than 59°F. Cucumbers will turn yellow and decay rapidly if not kept cool.
- You can refrigerate cucumbers for about a week in the vegetable crisper of the refrigerator. Do not refrigerate cucumbers below 40°F (4°C). Dunk fruit in cold water or wipe them clean with a damp cloth then place the fruit in a perforated plastic bag; this will keep the fruit from drying out. (Refrigerators are dry, not humid.)
- Sliced cucumbers should be refrigerated in a bowl covered with plastic wrap to keep slices crisp and to prevent dehydration.
- Cucumbers stored below 40°F will become pitted, yellow, and start to decay.
- Avoid storing cucumbers with apples or tomatoes; ethylene (a natural plant hormone released in the form of a gas) given off by those fruits will cause cucumbers to yellow.
Best cucumber growing tips at How to Grow Cucumbers.