Despite the well-known simplicity, the cucumber remains a rather delicate plant. If the cucumbers do not like something, very soon the lower part of the vegetable, then the whole skin with pulp, becomes bitter. Let’s see why cucumbers are bitter.

Do you remember how, as a child, you had to taste the “ass” of a cucumber before cutting it into a salad? Many summer residents are still forced to check how sweet the fruits of the harvest are, whether they contain bitterness. Let’s find out together why bitter cucumbers grow and how to get only conditioned vegetables from the beds.

Why cucumbers are bitter

Plants, like humans, can experience stress. And they react to it in their own way. In particular, cucumber, under unfavorable growing conditions, begins to produce cucurbitacin – a toxic organic compound that gives bitterness to fruits. The substance is synthesized in the leaves, and then distributed throughout the plant, accumulating in the root system. Because of this peculiarity, in the 18th century, cucumbers were even considered poisonous and were not eaten! In a sweet cucumber, this substance is also present, but in a minimal amount.

Today, cucumber, on the contrary, is considered a medicinal plant. Due to the content of cucurbitacin, the famous vegetable improves the functioning of the liver and intestines, reduces the risk of malignant tumors. Some alternative medicine practitioners attribute deworming and anti-inflammatory properties to bitter cucumbers.

Many plants also defend themselves through similar mechanisms. For example, squash (pumpkin, melon, watermelon) contain saponin is a bitter-tasting organic compound related to cucurbitacin.

Temperature changes, lack of moisture, too hot weather, poor, mostly clay or sandy soil are the most common causes of bitterness in cucumbers. Just one of these factors is enough for plants to start accumulating cucurbitacin in the lower part of the fruit and skin. Unripe fruits and overripe specimens that you plan to use for propagation are at risk.

Which cucumbers are the most bitter? Those that grow in unfavorable conditions. As well as plants that grew from the seeds of bitter cucumbers. Therefore, when planting, choose bitter-resistant varieties and hybrids.

If you collect seeds yourself, try a leaf from a bush. Do you feel bitter? This means that cucumbers grown from these seeds will become bitter!

In addition, the time of sowing also affects the sweetness of cucumber. If they were not observed, and the plant did not have time to get used to the gradual increase in sunny days and high temperatures, bitterness will certainly make itself felt.

Why cucumbers are bitter in the open field

Now let’s take a closer look at why bitter cucumbers grow in the garden and what measures should be taken in each case. The main reasons can be the following:

  • lack of moisture and fertilizing;
  • too large differences between daytime and nighttime temperatures;
  • “bitter” variety;
  • errors in care (incorrect sowing, thickening of plantings, lack of hilling, etc.);
  • pest attack.
why are cucumbers bitter

Lack of water will not only affect the taste, but also the appearance of the fruit. It will take longer to ripen, due to which the size of the greens will decrease and the skin will darken. The lack of nutrients will add to the picture an irregular shape of the fetus and a sick appearance in general. Therefore, do not pour water and fertilizers on the eyes, use proven dosages.

How to water cucumbers so that they do not taste bitter? First – hot water. It is necessary to observe the irrigation regime and carry out the procedure only in warm weather in order to avoid temperature differences.

In bad weather, the beds should be covered with a film or lutrasil (lightweight non-woven material) so that the plants do not freeze. Also remember to forage the bushes to avoid root rot, otherwise the cucumber will be under a lot of stress.

Aphids, whiteflies, thrips, nematodes, mole crickets, mites and other pests can cause bitterness in cucumbers. The plant will defend itself against insect invasion and begin to produce a repellent bitter substance. Therefore, take preventive measures to protect plantings and follow the rules of agricultural technology. When planting next year, choose varieties and hybrids of cucumbers that are not bitter. It will also not be superfluous to change the structure of the soil and increase its fertility.

It is better not to bring fresh manure under the cucumbers. Use well-decomposed manure (humus) or bird droppings.

Foliar feeding of cucumbers

Why cucumbers are bitter in the greenhouse

The most common reason why bitter cucumbers grow in a greenhouse is the lack of regular watering. While rain can sometimes save their open-field counterparts, greenhouse cucumbers are entirely in your power and are more susceptible to stress from lack of moisture.

why are cucumbers bitter

Below we list other common reasons why cucumbers are bitter and what they lack, as well as ways to eliminate the problems described.

Causes of bitter cucumbers in the greenhouseSolutions
too little lightInstall additional lighting
Too much lightPaint the walls of the greenhouse or throw a white non-woven over them
Lack of potassium and nitrogenFeed cucumbers with potassium nitrate (20-30 g per 10 liters of water) and urea (25-30 g per 10 liters of water)
Sudden temperature changesVentilate the greenhouse regularly (the temperature inside should not exceed 28°C) and be sure to close it at night, as well as on cold days
The “bitter” heredityChoose cucumber hybrids that are not physiologically bitter: Gerasim F1, Egoza F1, F1 round dance etc
Low humidityPut a barrel of water in the greenhouse, periodically water the path, irrigate the plantings
Cucumber eyelash damageInstall the brackets and attach the whips
Lots of overgrown greensHarvest every 2-3 days
Invasion of pestsCarry out regular inspection of plantings, remove weeds, mulch the soil. When insects appear, spray the leaves with an infusion of tobacco dust or onion peel.

Also loosen the soil regularly to improve its air exchange, and pinch cucumber lashes.

Huge damage to greenhouse cucumbers is caused by over-dressing, so try not to overdo it.

Why cucumbers are bitter and what to do with such vegetables

We have considered in detail how to prevent the appearance of bitterness in cucumbers. But what if the harvest is already bitter? Do not throw away the vegetables grown so difficult? Of course not! There are several effective ways to get rid of bitterness from cucumbers.

Since cucurbitacin is mostly found in the skin, you can simply peel the cucumber and cut off the end of the fruit. Only the sweet pulp remains. If it is bitter, lightly sprinkle the slices with salt. Soaking in lukewarm water (about 3 hours) or heat treatment will also help. Zealous housewives boldly put bitter cucumbers into preservation. But if the vegetables are very bitter, it is better to soak them in water first. And don’t forget that small amounts of cucurbitacin are good for your health!

If bitter cucumbers have grown, then the reason for this phenomenon is most often not one. You have seen that the taste of cucumbers is influenced by many factors, so follow farming practices and choose bitter-resistant strains and hybrids above all else. But do not be discouraged if a few cucumbers have become less tasty, sometimes it is these fruits that can give dishes a special spiciness.