Cucumbers are widely available all year round. This vegetable is the refreshing taste of summer and adds a lovely crunch to salads and other dishes.
Whenever you have some pieces that you don’t plan to eat within a week, you might be looking for a way to preserve them. So, can you freeze cucumbers for later?
If you want to know how to freeze cucumbers and whether it is a great idea to start with, keep reading. We have the answer down below!
Does Cucumber Freeze Well?
According to The National Center of Home Food Preservation, cucumber can be frozen after being made into pickles or slaw. However, their texture will be nowhere close to the regular ones. You can also store pickles in sterilized cans and keep them in the pantry/ basement. This way, you can reserve your valuable freezer space for other items.
Freezing cucumbers is somewhat controversial because, like other vegetables with high water content, they don’t freeze well. After thawing, water is released, and the vegetable becomes limp and watery. In short, freezing will significantly reduce their texture.
Cucumber is commonly eaten raw for salads and garnish. But, this crunchy vegetable is also great for soups, smoothies, and cocktails.
Previously frozen cucumbers are not the best choice for salads, but they should work pretty well for recipes that do not only rely on their crisp texture and fresh scent.
Now that you know what to expect from freezing this vine vegetable, we have some simple techniques for your reference. You shouldn’t just stash away whole pieces in the freezer and expect a satisfactory result out of it. Follow our simple guides below if you decide to give it a try!
Preparing Cucumbers For Freezing
Regardless of the freezing technique, you should only select fresh, firm cucumbers with medium length and deep green color. Avoid using those that look wilted, soft, and have bad spots.
Wash cucumbers under running water and get rid of any dirt. Drain them in a colander and dry them thoroughly with a kitchen towel. You can peel the skin off or leave them on.
Next, you can freeze cucumbers in slices, in ice cube trays, or as a dish like a chilled soup.
Freezing Cucumbers In Ice Cube Trays
- 1. Dice cucumbers into small cubes.
- 2. Place 2 to 3 pieces in each cavity and fill with water.
- 3. Flash freeze for a few hours until frozen solid.
- 4. Once frozen, transfer the frozen cubes to a freezer bag.
- 5. Suck out as much air as possible out of the bag and seal it tightly.
- 6. Label with the name and freezing date.
- 7. Freeze up to 6 months for the best quality.
Freezing Sliced Cucumbers
- 1. Slice cucumbers thinly.
- 2. Spread on a cookie sheet in a single layer.
- 3. Flash freeze them until completely frozen. This step allows each slice to freeze individually rather than in a big clump.
- 4. When they are firm and solid, pack them into a freezer bag.
- 5. Remove excess air and seal the container well.
- 6. Write the content and freezing date.
- 7. Freeze for up to 6 months.
Freezing Cucumber Soup
Cucumber soup makes a refreshing accompaniment for any meal. If you love having this hearty soup, you can prepare it in a huge batch and freeze some for later. Freezing is also an excellent option if you can’t finish leftover soup within 4 to 5 days.
With some adjustments steps, you can preserve this summertime soup and keep it tasty and nutritious for future meals.
1. Cook cucumber soup according to your favorite recipe. Make sure to blend all the ingredients to smooth consistency. If the soup contains big chunks of cucumber or other vegetables with a lot of water, the soup becomes mushy after thawing.
If the recipe calls for yogurt, heavy cream, milk, or dairy in general, omit them as they don’t freeze well. You can add them later before serving.
2. Cool the soup quickly.
3. Portion it out into serving sizes. It is recommended to divide it into an appropriate amount for one sitting. Plus, a smaller package also takes much less time to thaw.
4. Pack each portion of soup in a freezing bag, in a shallow freezer-safe container, or in a glass/ mason jar.
5. If using a freezer bag, flatten the bag, remove excess air, and seal it well. If freezing in a plastic or glass container, leave a headspace on top.
6. Label the container with the name, serving sizes, and freezing date.
7. Lay the packages on a tray and flash freeze them for several hours or until hardened.
8. Once frozen, take out the tray and stack the bags to save some freezer space.
9. Freeze up to 2 to 3 months for the best flavors.
How to Thaw and Use Frozen Cucumber
Frozen cucumbers lose their crunchy texture. Therefore, they are not the best option to go on fresh salads where crunchiness matters. Instead, use them in recipes where texture is less important, such as in:
– Soup (gazpacho)
– Cocktails and smoothies
– Infused water
– Easy cucumber dip, such as tzatziki
To thaw, simply place a frozen package in the refrigerator overnight. Or, soak in cold water for quick thawing.
Give the thawed soup a vigorous stir or use a blender to regain the smooth consistency back. Add dairy, herbs, and other toppings to your liking.
Whole cucumbers can last up to a week in the refrigerator, while after cutting, they only stay fresh for 2 to 3 days. It is best to slice them shortly before preparing a dish.
Cucumbers are high in water content and sensitive to cold temperatures. They may accidentally freeze if placed in the coldest part of the fridge. To avoid this misfortune, keep them in a crisper drawer. It is also recommended to check your refrigerator’s temperature occasionally and set it at or below 40 °F.
Freezing cucumber sandwiches might not be the best meal prep idea ever. Cucumbers are very watery and make the bread soggy. They can be made ahead a few hours before serving, but that’s about it. Don’t forget to draw excess moisture out before incorporating them with the bread.
Freezing might not be the most ideal preservation method for cucumbers. After freezing and thawing, they become watery and limp.
But, if you want to use them for soup, smoothies, and other recipes that do not rely on their crisp texture, freezing is still a suitable preservation method. Cucumbers can be frozen in slices or in small pieces mixed with water in ice cube trays. You can also cook them into a soup and freeze them for a quick meal.
If you have known what to expect from freezing this vine vegetable, you might try it and see the result for yourself. Check our easy tips above to freeze cucumbers!
*image by qwartm/depositphotos