Can you freeze cucumbers? That’s what we wanted to know too, so we did what you’re doing now: asked, researched and tried it!
It’s that time of year when cucumbers are coming out of our ears! I’m not complaining though… we’re delighted! But we’re looking for more ways to enjoy—and preserve—our cucumber harvest.
We already have lots of fridge pickles and canned pickles stored. We’ve made all kinds of cucumber salads, salad toppings, sandwiches and green juices. What’s next?
Can you freeze cucumbers?
Yes! You can freeze cucumbers. However, it’s a “yes, but”… kind of answer.
Cucumbers are our most prolific garden crop. They grow eagerly, all summer long, and they’re not inclined toward the pests and problems of some of our other crops. So we wanted to find more ways to preserve them than just pickling, including how to preserve our homegrown cucumber’s garden fresh flavors for winter!
We eat healthy as much as possible, though we have our treat foods too. You know… those weekend movie night and nachos or popcorn, and even some Friday afternoon Starbucks now and then. Less often these days due to all the sugar they contain, plus the price!
Anyway, it’s important to us to preserve our garden bounty to be as healthy as possible, as well as to save time. That’s where the idea of freezing the cucumbers came into the picture, since frozen produce is proven to have the highest nutrient value next to fresh.
Frozen cucumbers have multiple uses that can bring summer freshness to the winter table.
Do frozen cucumbers taste good?
Well, we figure it’s better to have fresh frozen cucumbers than no cucumbers… especially if they’re home grown and fresh frozen from the garden!
However it’s not the most favorite snack in our home. I mean… it’s not like anyone says, “I’m really craving frozen cucumbers!” Frozen cucumbers taste milder and have a somewhat spongy texture, however, there are many things you can do with frozen cukes.
A great use for frozen cucumbers is for green juice, smoothies sandwich spreads and cold cucumber soups.
How to Freeze Cucumbers
We freeze cucumbers spears and slices and then bag them up in small plastic zip bags ready to place into the Vitamix for making green juice and smoothies. That way we have the health and nutrition of fresh garden cukes, the flavor and water they add, but the taste and texture are not as important.
Frozen cucumbers blended in drinks, soups and spreads, you get the nutrition, flavor and water value, without the oddity of the taste and texture of frozen cukes eaten plain. Now you may love the frozen slices just for munching. Some people do, and it can be a good thing for kids and teething toddlers, so don’t diss it until you try it.
4 Ways to Freeze Cucumbers
1. SLICED FROZEN CUCUMBERS:
Method: Sliced medium to thin rounds; layer on cookie sheet and freeze.
Uses: Sliced in thin rounds is the best way to eat frozen cucumbers by itself.
2. FROZEN CUCUMBER SPEARS:
Method: Slice cucumbers into spears, place in a plastic bag or container in single layer.
Uses: Frozen cucumber spears are good for snacking and blending into green juice and smoothies
3. PUREED CUCUMBER “ICE CUBES”:
Method: Puree into a blender; pour into ice cube trays. It can be fun to use flower and heart shapes. Freeze for a couple hours, remove from trays and store in sealed container in freezer.
Uses: Cuke cubes are great for smoothies, green juice, blending into cold soups with yogurt, and with cream cheese for sandwich spreads
4. PICKED CUCUMBERS – FROZEN
Method: Make refrigerator pickles using any of your favorite pickling recipes, or such as we’ve provided below in this article. Then freeze in zipper freezer bags of jars.
Uses: Cucumbers preserved in brine will maintain some of the crunch and can be used in most of the same ways you’d use canned pickles in jars.1)https://www.hgtv.com/outdoors/gardens/garden-to-table/can-you-freeze-cucumbers
Note: This is our least favorite frozen cucumber method because there’s no advantage to it over regular pickled cukes that we can see. In which case we prefer to save expensive freezer space for fresh frozen fruits and veggies and can the pickles or use the fridge pickle method.
How to Use Frozen Cucumbers
SLICES: Eaten frozen as a snack, blended into chilled soups, smoothies, green juice, cucumber water, and scattered on sandwiches. These cucumber slices can also be used for refreshing weary eyes and facial masks.
The advantage in freezing cucumber slices is that prepared this way, they can be used for any of the frozen cucumber options you choose. The disadvantage is that the flat single layer cookie sheets can take up a lot of space in the freezer,
SPEARS: Eaten frozen as a snack, chopped into water, blended into smoothies, green juice and cold soups or blended into dips and spreads. The advantages of the cucumber spears is that they’re quicker to cut and take less space to store during the freezing mode.
PUREED CUBES: Add cucumber cubes to soups, dips, smoothies, green juice and water, as desired. Cuke cubes can also be blended into dips and sandwich spreads, especially cream cheese.
Pureed cucumber can also be easily turned into a refreshing facial mask. The only disadvantage in this method is that you’ll need to dirty a food processor or blender to puree the cucumbers, but other than that, it’s simple, quick and our favorite way to freeze cucumbers.
You can also freeze pre-blended cucumber and defrost lightly before using it, (instead of blending afterward).
Frozen “cuke cubes” are our favorite way to freeze and use cucumbers.
We use frozen cucumbers in green juice, smoothies and chilled cucumber soups.
Cucumber Galore and More!
Fortunately cucumber season is a long one. In our zone 7a, we’re planting and harvesting cucumbers all summer. Whenever we plant too many cukes, we can sell surplus to a local specialty pickle maker, and we also like to try new ways to preserve some for post season use.
Speaking of specialty pickles, that’s another way to get more out of your cucumber crops! Gourmet pickles are a thing, y’all… and they’re really yummy! If you’re a market gardener, then homemade gourmet pickles can be sold for a premium price. Our local pickle maker is selling hers for around $15 per quart jar!
Market Gardener’s Tip:
Specialty pickles can be sold at market for gourmet pickle prices.
Cucumbers are low in carbs and calorie, high in potassium, vitamin K and water.
Cucumbers also contain small amounts of vitamins C and A, as well as magnesium, calcium, and Omega-3 & 6, and phytosterols, beneficial for lowering cholesterol by mitigating cholesterol absorption.
Cucumber Calories – 8 per 1/2 cup serving
Cucumber Carbs – 1.9 grams per 1/2 cup serving @ 1% Daily Value (DV)
Cucumber Nutrition and Daily Values (DV) per 1/2 cup serving:
- Calories – 8
- Vitamin K – 11% DV
- Vitamin C – 7% DV
- Omega-3 fatty acids – 2.6mg
- Omega-6 fatty acids – 14.6mg
- Potassium – 2% DV
- Manganese – 2% DV
- Phytosterols – 7.3 mg – (helps lower cholesterol)
A luxury for when there’s an abundant harvest, cucumber water is like delicious homemade vitamin water!
You can also use individual infuser bottles to take with you to work or on the go. Or, you may enjoy nibbling the fresh produce as you sip your infused water.
It’s generally best to consume this water the same day, and thoroughly clean your infuser bottle each day, as the fresh perishables in water do have a short shelf life.
To make infused cucumber water, simply place cucumber slices in a pitcher of water. Add lemon and mint if available.
Keeping a fresh pitcher of cucumber water on the counter is a great way to encourage the family to drink more water.
Making Cucumber Puree
We use our food processor or Vitamix, depending if you want it more or less pulpy. If you have an even better, more powerful blender, let us know; we’d love to know about it. We put ours through frequent rigorous use making pitchers full of frozen fruit smoothies.
Freezing Cucumber Puree
Pour the cucumber puree into ice cube trays and freeze. I know… who has ice cube trays any more, right?! But… for all of you old enough to have grown up using the metal, and then the plastic versions, you’ll remember that ice cube trays come in handy for many things.
In fact, ice cube trays are probably used for far more things than ice in these days of automatic ice dispensers. If you don’t have any on hand, there are plenty of fun options in all shapes and sizes.
We like the flower and heart shaped ones because you can multipurpose them for cookies, candies, soaps and lotion bars, as we wrote about in this article. Kids enjoy nibbling on frozen flower shaped cukes too and it’s a fun way for them to enjoy a healthy snack.
After your cucumber pulp is frozen solid, you can empty these to a freezer bag for storage. Now, throughout the fall and winter when you want some garden freshness, just pull out your handy cucumber cubes.
How to Freeze Cucumber Slices
For another way of freezing cucumbers, you might like this slice and freeze method.
- Wash and slice cucumbers
- Place on cookie sheet close together in a single layer (place on parchment or wax paper)
- Freeze (approx 30-60 minutes is enough)
- Pick up the paper and funnel the cuke slices into a freezer bag
Also, see the tips on how to freeze cucumbers near the end of this article at: Freezer Cukes Recipe by Heidi Marie.
Here’s more on using frozen cucumbers for soup.3)http://thehealthyfoodie.com/cold-cucumber-soup/4)http://www.schneiderpeeps.com/preserving-cucumbers-canning-fermenting-freezing-dehydrating/
Uses for Frozen Cucumber Slices
- GREEN JUICE: Place a handful of frozen cucumber slices into your blender with vegetables for a green juice
- SMOOTHIES: Add cucumbers to any fruit or blended smoothies for added nutrition and mild flavor.
- FROZEN SORBETS: Add some frozen cucumbers in with fruit and berries, lemon or lime, then freeze for berry cuke sorbet.
- DIPS & SPREADS: Blend with cream cheese and herbs for dips and sandwich spreads.
- CUCUMBER WATER: Add frozen cucumber slices to water to add a fresh chilled flavored, along with some mint
- SOUP: Cold blender soup with dill and yogurt
- SNACKS: Just frozen slices or spears… have as many as you want, guilt-free! (great for teething toddlers too!)
- FACIAL MASK: Spread pureed cucumber, (by itself, or with other beneficial facial ingredients such as avocado for soothing and moisturizing, or vinegar for cleansing and toning. You can also do the same with cucumber slices for a less messy version of a straight cucumber mask.
- EYE TREATMENT: Refreshes tired eyes and under eye circles and bags. Place chilled slices over eyes.
Adding fresh veggie or fruit slices to your cucumber water is a whole lot cheaper than so called “vitamin water”, which isn’t actually healthy, because it typically contains sugar and even high fructose corn syrup. Yuk!
This urn stays filled on our counter during summer, making it easy for everyone to enjoy lots of fresh, homemade “healthy water”.
More Cool Cuke Ideas from GardensAll Facebook Community Members
Randy Jones: Cut in half long ways. Glide a spoon down to remove the seeds. Cut it into smaller pieces. Vacuum sealer them and use them in smoothie. Lasts a few years in freezer.
Eva Fenyvesy: Yes, you can freeze it!
To Freeze: Just slice up and portion it in plastic bags.
To Defrost: Set out to room temperature and once it’s defrosted, squeeze it a little bit to get the liquid out, then add salad dressing. We used to make a salt, vinegar, sugar and chopped garlic water dressing, or substitute the water with sour cream, yogurt or mayonnaise.
- Put a bunch of dill on the bottom of a large glass jar
- Place the cucumbers in it (about 6″ long ones, cut off the ends and split both end almost to the end)
- Cover cukes with salty warm water
- Place 2 slices of bread on the top, (the heel of a loaf or a potato, cut in half)
- Cover it and leave it on a very warm place for 2-4 days.
After it’s done , you can keep it in the fridge , we finished it in February, and it was made in August. The bread or potato start the fermentation process. It’s very healthy [probiotic] and the juice is so delicious on a hot summer day! You can do shredded cabbage and other vegetables, (zucchini, cauliflower…etc..) like this, but cucumber is number one!
Eva Fenyvesy continues: My friend used to make fermented vegetables like this:
Fermented Vegetable Recipe
- Place a bunch of dill on the bottom of a jar
- Fill it up with whatever vegetables you have. E.g.: cucumbers , carrots , peppers, zucchini….etc,
- Pours salty water (1 quart water/1Tbs salt) on it, close it and put it in a dry, cool place.
- Open it after 3 or 4 months.
For another recipe and info on homemade refrigerator pickles, as well as info on the BENEFITS OF PICKLE JUICE, you may enjoy this article and simple recipe.
We use this ceramic crock by Ohio Stoneware for our fermenting, and we’re eager to branch into trying some of these recipes for cucumbers.
In researching fermentation jars, we found cool fermenter jar called The Easy Fermenter, that looks like an upgrade in terms of ease of handling and storage. Each jar wouldn’t hold as much, but I like that you can store the fermented foods in the same jar that you use to ferment it.
While this kit costs less than a stoneware fermentation pot, you might need extra jars. However, even two jar kits cost about the price of one stoneware pot, plus you save time on labor and the mess of transporting it to other jars. So we’re adding this to our list to try.
Cucumbers Salads and Sauces
Cucumbers with Tzatziki Sauce
Gina Jensen Wyatt. I haven’t tried freezing them. I do like to make large batches of Tzatziki sauce [a Ukranian sauce] which extends the shelf life of cucumbers. It’s a yogurt and cucumber based sauce used on souvlaki and gyros. A great dip for veggies.
Rebecca Maurer-Milota: Pita chips too. Didn’t have the yogurt and used sour cream. Just as good.
Ann Weekley: YES add a little mint and finely chopped onion and it’s fabulous.
Debra Swanson Doyle: Freezing is tough on cukes because of their high water content. Our favorite way to preserve them is pickling—both a quick refrigerator pickle with onions, and the classic water bath glass jar pickle, for a nice long shelf life.
Grandma’s Refrigerator Pickle Recipe
Debra Swanson Doyle – Grandma’s Cucumbers & Onions Recipe
- Slice desired amount of cukes and onions thin
- Place onions on the bottom of a glass dish
- Barely cover with apple cider vinegar
- Add cucumbers
- Add 1/4 to 1/2 tsp salt, pepper if desired
- Fill dish to the top with water and let pickle in the fridge for a couple of hours
This was a summer staple on our table—an old fashioned recipe that goes with everything!
Cathleen Grove: I did extensive research for my attempt to replicate my Dad’s awesome crock dill pickles. My favorite treat as a child. The hardest part was finding a recipe. He used little or no garlic with lots of dill from the garden. When I found one for Polish Dills that called for grape leaves, I knew this was it! I had forgotten about that so I proceeded ahead & packed 8lbs of cukes into my crock yesterday. It smells sooo good!
My job as a child was to wash & dry the cucumbers. I have no idea why he wanted them dried but I did it anyway. I learned so much studying how to make pickles in a crock. The tannins in grape leaves help in crispness, for example. And the salt options were interesting. I ended up using pickling salt like Dad. I’m 24 hours into my first attempt at Dad’s Polish Pickles.
There is a large plate inside being weighed down by vinegar bottle to keep pickles submerged. I will test them in 5-7 days. I am following technique for ‘Making Sour Pickles’ in Wild Fermentation. I’ll keep you posted.
Urszula Lewandowski: Fermented are the healthiest and have long shelf life. True probiotics; beneficial especially for people with stomach issues and those taking medications. No sugar or vinegar added.
Heidi Marie: If you love cucumber salad you can have it all year long if you freeze your cukes. Here’s what we do:
Freezer Cukes Recipe by Heidi Marie
- Slice up 2 med cukes about 1/4″ thick
- Place cucumbers in a bowl of water
- Add 2 T of Kosher salt
- Let soak for a few hours in the fridge
- Then Drain and add 1/4 cup organic cane sugar then freeze in zip lock bags
When you want to make cucumber salad, thaw rinse and add sour cream or I make homemade mayo with avocado oil and farm fresh egg. But the cukes still have a crunch, so you can enjoy “garden fresh” cucumbers in winter too…yum!
Peggy Pierce: My favorite is refrigerator pickles with the tart vinegar, salt water brine.
Recipe by Peggy Pierce
Heat brine (water with salt approximately 1 Tbsp), then layer:
- Lots of fresh dill weed
- Garlic cloves
- Mustard seeds
- Sweet onions
- Some peppercorns
- Cucumbers, however you want, (i.e., slices, wedges or whole)
Pour the hot brine over the pickles screw on top and cool 24 hrs on the counter, then refrigerator. We are still eating last year’s and are delish!
by Aimi Isjern
Aimi Isjern: They are really good seasoned and dehydrated like veggie chips. If you make refrigerator pickles with them, let them absorb the flavor, then rinse them to get the excess salt off, oh my gosh, good good good snacking chips, reduces cupboard space over canned pickles, and if you want them as a snack while doing outdoor events, they are perfect. No liquid to deal with. But you can rehydrate them, too.
Cucumber Water & Blender Drinks
Anne Bundrick: I freeze them and then use them to make cucumber water, which I enjoy year round.
Sally Turner Hastings: Make refreshing blender drinks [with fresh or frozen cukes] with lemon or lime and also gazpacho!
Half Sour Pickles
We learned of “half sour pickles” from the GardensAll Facebook community member, Ann Weekley, and found a recipe for that at BakeAtMidnite.com.5)https://bakeatmidnite.com/half-sour-pickles/#
These are basically similar to the recipes shared here already. Half sour pickles are a cross between fermented cucumber in brine and refrigerator pickles. Instead of using vinegar, as with fridge pickles, brine is used as with fermented pickles, and they’re seasoned by sitting in the refrigerator for a few days (if you can wait that long).
Vicki Greer: I made a half gal of refrigerator pickles today, using fresh dill from our garden.
May your gardens be beautiful and bountiful!
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