The Internet Told Me to “Milk” My Cucumbers to Make Them Less Bitter. Obviously I Had to Try It Out.

updated May 18, 2020
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Today, before I ate my cucumber for lunch, I milked it. (Yes, you read that correctly.) I’ve never milked a cow, sheep, or goat before, but I’m going to guess this was different. Closer, perhaps, to milking cashews — which I have done — but even then, not quite. The idea comes from TikTok user BasicallyPerkfect, who explains that milking a cucumber can remove any bitterness.

Like so many of these types of strange, popular (the video has more than a million views) suggestions, it seems just strange enough to work. Which is why I found myself pausing as I prepped to follow the instructions of the self-proclaimed “master milker.” 

The trick, which came from BasicallyPerkfect’s sister-in-law, involves slicing off the end of the cucumber and rubbing the cut edges in circles to draw out a milky liquid. Mine bubbled up a bit of juice, but mostly my cucumber seemed unfazed, like an impatient cow wondering if I were done with my morning chore already.

Before milking I sliced off two pieces and set them aside to see if I could taste the difference. Once the milking was complete, I did a taste test. They were similar enough that I wondered if the small changes I could detect were in my head. Perhaps the milked cucumber was a touch sweeter? Then I tasted again and, no, they were identical. Or not? Certainly there was not a difference that was going to compel me to ever milk my cucumber again before eating.

Insider looked further into the idea, wondering if there was anything to it, and discovered that there is some thinking that it removes cucurbitacin, which makes cucumbers bitter. However, that seems to be mostly in wild cucumbers, and mine certainly wasn’t wild (I used an English cucumber). BasicallyPerkfect’s sister-in-law had learned it from her husband, who learned from his grandparents, so perhaps it’s one of those things that no longer needs to be done.

Have you tried this before? Did it make your cucumber taste less bitter? Let us know in the comments!