7 Ways To Use A Huge Cucumber Harvest


Cucumbers are one of the most popular crops to grow in the garden, and with good reason. There are so many things to do with cucumbers after a bountiful harvest.

So, if your garden gave you a huge cucumber yield, this article will help you discover 7 ways to use cucumbers. I’ll cover my favorite preservation methods, and some tasty simple dishes that use lots of cucumbers. Let’s get started!

1. Make pickles

Making dill pickles with fresh cucumbers
Making homemade dill pickles.

Not everyone knows that tasty dill pickles begin their lives as fresh cucumbers. So, if you have an abundance of fresh cukes from the garden, a great way to use them is to make homemade pickles.

There are many ways to do this, from quick-pickling to long-term canning. You can even ferment the pickles in a salt brine to make pickles the old fashioned way.

However, my favorite method for making pickles is quick pickling. Also known as refrigerator pickles, these pickles can be processed in 30 minutes or less, and can last weeks or even months in the refrigerator. Try our spicy dill pickle recipe here.

If you want to keep your pickled cucumbers at room temperature, or store them for longer, you’ll want to follow the USDA home canning guidelines.

Note: While any cucumber can be pickled, the best varieties to use are pickling types. Learn more about the types of cucumbers here.

Once you’ve made your pickles, they should be left for at least 1 week to develop the best flavor. Once you crack into a jar, you’ll want to use them within 1-2 weeks.

What to do with pickles:

  • Use on sandwiches and burgers
  • Make tartar sauce
  • Eat them with cheese and crackers
  • Use the brine for sauces or marinades
  • Make relish

2. Make cucumber kimchi

I mentioned that you can ferment your cucumbers to make pickles. But even more delicious than that is to ferment them into cucumber kimchi.

This popular fermented Korean side dish often includes cucumbers (of course), garlic, carrots, and radish. These are dressed with a sweet chili and garlic paste and allowed to ferment to develop an incredible flavor.

If you are familiar with the more popular napa cabbage based kimchi, you will certainly enjoy cucumber kimchi. You’ll be surprised just how easy it is to whip up, and how customizable it is to your own tastes. As a starting point, try this cucumber kimchi recipe.

3. Make cucumber salad

Cucumber salad

One of my favorite side dishes, especially around the holidays, is cucumber salad. Fresh thin-sliced cucumbers marinated in a zingy, flavorful sauce. There are 2 main types of cucumber salads: vinegar based and creamy.

Vinegar based cucumber salad is more tart and punchy, and also tends to have a lower fat content. So if you prefer a clean, simple flavor profile, try this recipe.

Creamy cucumber salad still has a delicious bite, but it is mellowed out slightly by sour cream or yogurt. This is my personal favorite type of cucumber salad. The added fat content makes this a delicious dish on it’s own, but also when added to tacos or fresh salads. Try a simple recipe here.

4. Tzatziki sauce

Tzatziki is a popular Mediterranean sauce made of yogurt, grated cucumbers, garlic, and olive oil. It is commonly eaten with bread, fried eggplant, and on gyros.

While tzatziki has its traditional uses, it can also be used in a variety of other ways. Here are a few other uses for it:

  • Hamburger topping
  • Pita chip dip
  • Macaroni salad
  • Drizzle for roasted vegetables
  • Baked potatoes
  • Taco topping

Whipping up some homemade tzatziki is fairly simple. You may have to put some elbow grease into grating the cucumber, but it’s worth it if you have a bunch of cucumbers to use! If you want to try it, this recipe is a good place to start.

5. Make juice or cucumber water

Cucumber water

Juicing cucumbers gives off a ton of liquid. So, if you own a juicer, you can make a delicious and nutritious homemade juice. Cucumbers pair well with carrot, apple, lemon, and leafy greens. Having a daily juice is a great way to use a lot of fresh cucumbers.

For something different, try making a simple cucumber water. Popular in hotel lobbies around the world, cucumber water is super refreshing on a hot summer day. For the best flavor, use the freshest cucumbers possible.

To make a simple cucumber water, thinly slice about 1/2 of a cucumber and steep it in 1 gallon of water. You can also make smaller batches by adding just a few slices to a glass of water as needed. The subtle flavor is delicious!

6. Give them away fresh

Since cucumbers are best enjoyed fresh (or pickled), I love to give away extra cucumbers as they are harvested. If you have neighbors, drop off a fresh produce bag to let more people enjoy the fruits of your labor.

If you happen to know other gardeners, it can be fun to trade some of your produce for other veggies that you did not grow. For example, we rarely grow okra, but it is nice to trade some of our peppers or tomatoes for a few fresh okra fruits!

If you have an especially huge harvest of cucumbers, you may also have a local food pantry that accepts fresh produce. This is a great way to give back to your local community and help others in need.

7. Freeze

As a last resort, cucumbers can be frozen for long-term storage. However, there is on major drawback to freezing cucumbers. After thawing, frozen cucumbers will become soft and mushy.

When the water in cucumbers freezes, it expands, causing the cell walls in the cucumbers to break. This takes away the crisp texture of a fresh cucumber, leaving them limp.

However, they will still have all of the flavor and nutritional value of the fresh cucumbers. So this makes them great for smoothies, soups, cucumber juice or water, and maybe a cucumber cooler cocktail!

I hope this article gives you some good ideas for what to do with cucumbers from the garden. The plants can be very productive, so it is great to plan in advance for your cucumber harvest!

– Calvin

As an avid gardener for many years, Calvin is always excited to learn more about the fascinating world of plants. He has a particular fascination with peppers, as well as big, showy flowers like peonies and roses

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