This Is Why Your Persian Cucumbers Get Slimy (and How to Prevent It!)

updated Jun 26, 2020
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Credit: Joe Lingeman

Peek into my kitchen at any given time, and you will find cucumbers — Persian cucumbers, to be exact. While they’ve been around for a long time, they started cropping up in my local grocery store several years ago, and I quickly fell in love with their crisp, snappy bite, skin so thin it doesn’t need peeling, and a subtly sweet and refreshing flavor that beats out slicing cucumbers. Plus they’re pretty much seedless, and at just about six inches long, they’re the perfect size for snacking on or slicing into a salad or grain bowl.

Here’s the one catch that always gets me, though, and maybe it happens to you, too: It always feels like only a couple of days after I bring a package of Persian cucumbers home and pop them in the crisper, they develop a white, slimy film around the outside. I know from experience that cucumbers can stay good for at least a week, if not more. Here’s what going on and, more importantly, how to prevent it from happening.

Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Stylist: CC Buckley/Kitchn

The Best Way to Make Persian Cucumbers Last Longer

Simply put, that slimy white film is a sign of spoilage. When cucumbers become mushy or slimy on the outside, it’s an indicator that they’re starting to go bad — which can happen sooner than later when not stored properly.

Unlike larger slicing cucumbers that are sold individually or long, plastic-wrapped English cucumbers, Persian cucumbers are typically sold in a plastic-wrapped styrofoam tray or a bag containing about a half dozen or so cukes.

To extended the shelf life of Persian cucumbers, start by removing them from the tray and ditching the wrapping. While it seems convenient to slide them straight into the crisper, the tight plastic wrapping around the tray could be holding in moisture, which can accelerate spoilage.

Cucumbers, including the Persian variety, don’t fare well in very cold temperatures, so it’s a good idea to avoid storing them on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator, where temps are coldest. Instead, the best place to store Persian cucumbers is at room temperature or in your refrigerator’s crisper drawer, on the door, or towards the front of a shelf, where temps are a little warmer. Remember also to keep Persian cucumbers stored separately from bananas, tomatoes, and melons, which are high ethylene producers, and can cause cucumbers to ripen and spoil faster.

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