The Bitter Cucumber: What it is, and how you can get rid of it!
Almost all of us at some point have been skeptical whilst buying cucumbers – “I just hope this one isn’t bitter like the last one I bought- it’ll totally ruin the taste of my salad!.” We completely understand this sentiment- there are a few worse things than a bitter tasting cucumber! And that is why it is important to understand why cucumbers taste bitter sometimes, and what we can do to solve this “bitter” issue!
Cucumbers contain compounds known as cucurbitacin B and cucurbitacin C that are bitter in taste but their actual job is to act as a natural shield against preying animals and other pests. Usually these compounds are restricted to the leaves, roots and stem of the plant- the parts that we humans do not consume. It is only when these compounds move into the fruit of the plant that we can detect the bitter taste and this usually happens when there is some distress during the growing period. Also note, the entire fruit rarely gets bitter, it is only the areas near the stem and right under the skin that contain these bitter tasting compounds.
Unfortunately, once the cucumbers have turned bitter there is very little we can do about it. However, there are some pre-emptive measures we can take during the growing stages to reduce the probability of a bitter tasting cucumber. Here are some of the variables that must be controlled to reduce the traces of the bitter compounds:
- If temperatures are too hot or too cold, the plant will be under stress and will more likely produce bitter tasting cucumbers. Whilst there is nothing we can do to control temperature, we can make sure to water the plant sufficiently to guard against heat.
- The lack of sunlight also contributes to bitter tasting cucumbers. Again this factor is not in our control but we can mitigate this factor a little by planting in a spot that gets maximum sunlight. Growing the plant undercover in a polytunnel will also help amplify the heat and light and help reduce the issue of lack of sunlight.
- The other big contributor to a bitter tasting cucumber is soil health and this is the factor that is entirely under our control. It is proven that soil rich in ORGANIC matter has a significantly lower incidence of producing bitter cucumbers. Soil rich in organic matter can sustain a community of insects and microorganisms that are vital to release nutrients back into the soil. Using synthetic pesticides by contrast, kill these beneficial microorganisms and build up the soil with excessive amounts of salts that are harmful for soil health and damage soil fertility.
Therefore, in conclusion the surest way to guard against a bitter tasting cucumber is- to Go Organic! If you’d like to get your hands on some delicious organic cucumbers, you can Order Online or Call or Whatsapp us at +91 7738275242