Have you ever brought in a huge harvest from your garden and thought, “What am I going to do with all of this? Can I freeze cucumbers?”? You don’t have to worry about wasting another bit of produce again. This food preservation guide will show you, not just one, but several ways in which you can freeze cucumbers.
You can freeze cucumbers in a few different ways. We will focus on just a couple of the most efficient, popular, and of course, tasty ways; spears, sliced, puree, brine, fermentation, and good old freezer pickles.
Can you freeze cucumbers?
Since cucumbers are mostly made of water, they freeze really easily. The problem is, if not prepared properly, they can continue to age and even rot while frozen. They can also become mushy and just kind of gross. Either of these scenarios make them unusable if you do not have the right freezing techniques.
So, how do you freeze them?
We’re so glad you asked. As we mentioned above, there are a couple of different methods you can use, each with varying degrees of difficulty and flavor.
We will go in order of difficulty and time for preparation. Some of these are as simple as cut and bag, while some others can take up to a week to complete.
You can check this handy chart to see which method lines up with your time and taste preference:
|Spears||a few minutes||plain cucumber||easiest|
|Slices||up to an hour||plain cucumber||easy|
|Puree Cubes||a few minutes||plain cucumber||easy|
|Brine||a couple of hours||mild flavor||medium|
|Freezer Pickles||a couple of hours||mild to strong||medium|
|Fermentation||up to a week||mild to strong||most difficult|
Let’s get started.
Preserving cucumber spears is the quickest, easiest, and most low effort way you can preserve them. All you need to do is:
- cut both ends off of your cucumbers
- cut your cucumbers into quarters
- put them in a freezer bag
- put them in your freezer
Cucumber slices are almost as easy as spears. The only reason we rank it a little more difficult is because it involves much more cutting and about 30 to 60 minutes of time before the actual freeze.
First, gather your supplies. You will need a cookie sheet, some parchment paper, and a sharp knife, food processor, or mandolin slicer for this.
- using your knife, food processor, or mandolin slicer, cut your cucumbers into thin slices
- cover your cookie sheet with parchment paper
- lay the cucumber slices flat in a single layer on the parchment paper
- place them in the freezer for half an hour to an hour (you want them to be stiff but not completely frozen)
- remove from freezer and place slices in a freezer bag
- place them back in the freezer
The reason we do a “pre-freeze” with these slices is because of the large amount of moisture cucumbers contain. If you just slice them and put them in the freezer, they will fold over and freeze together in one big clump. By “pre-freezing” them, they stay in chip form and will retain that shape after they deep freeze.
This method is especially good if you like to make smoothies and things like that. You need some cucumbers, ice cube trays, and a food processor or blender.
- stick your cucumbers in your food processor or blender (peeled or not, up to you)
- set your device to the puree setting
- once they are completely pureed (think baby food) you will pour the contents into ice cube trays
- stick the ice cube trays in the freezer overnight
- once they are frozen, pop the cubes out and put them in a larger freezer bag
Like we said, this is great for smoothies and blended drinks. When you are ready to use them, you can either thaw them in the fridge or you can throw them in the blender with the rest of your smoothie ingredients.
Making a brine for your cucumbers is the first food preservation method that takes some preparation and is done in stages. You will need:
- peeled & sliced cucumbers
- large bowl of water
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 2/3 cup vinegar
- 2/3 cup
- vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon celery seed
The steps to make your brine go like this:
- add your cucumbers and 2 tablespoons of salt to a large bowl of cold water
- let sit for 2 hours and then rinse with cold water
- pour in vinegar, vegetable oil, sugar and celery seeds
- stir until everything is dissolved together
- cover and stick in the fridge to chill overnight
- remove from fridge and add cucumbers with brine to mason jars with about an inch of headroom
- seal and put in the freezer
If you’re like us, the reason you grew cucumbers to begin with was for pickles. This is an even easier way of making pickles and you don’t have to boil a thing! You will need:
- large mixing bowl
- 4 pounds of sliced cucumbers
- 8 cups of chopped onions
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1/4 cup salt
- 3/4 cup water
- 4 cups sugar
- 2 cups apple cider vinegar
The steps are pretty simple. You even get a 2 hour break in the middle:
- combine all of your ingredients into a large bowl
- let sit for 2 hours
- pour in sugar and apple cider vinegar
- stir until sugar has dissolved
- add pickles to mason jars and ladle in liquid leaving an inch of headspace
- seal and freeze
This is the last method of freezing cucumbers we will cover today. We put it last because it takes the longest and requires the most ingredients. However, the extra time and effort pays off in the taste. These fermented cukes pack a ton of flavor!
You are going to need:
- 1 tablespoon sea salt
- 1 tablespoon mustard seed
- a garlic clove
- room temperature water
- mason jars
After you have everything you need, you just need to add everything together in the right order.
- set out your mason jars and add dillweed to the bottom of each jar
- cut both ends off of your cucumbers and pack them into the mason jars
- pour in your salt, mustard seed, garlic, and some more dill weed
- pack everything in as tight as you can get it
- fill the jar with room temperature water leaving about an inch of headroom
- seal the jars and stick them in a dark and cool place
- check them in 2 days but they may need 5 to 7 days to fully ferment
- you can then stick the jar right in the freezer
How To Use Frozen Cucumbers
Frozen cucumbers have several uses. As we mentioned with the puree cubes, you can toss them right into a blender with a smoothie. You can also thaw them out and add them to your favorite salsa or dipping sauce.
Cucumber puree can also be used to make a face mask. Along with the face mask, cucumber slices can be placed on the eyes to help reduce swelling and puffiness. Both will all around help keep your face moisturized and feeling rejuvenated.
Frozen spears are a good, healthy snack if you are someone who just likes to munch but tries to keep away from too much candy and chips. They are also good for babies who are teething.
Additionally, pickles and fermented cucumbers are good on sandwiches or just as their own, delicious snack.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are a couple questions we came across while researching this article.
Q1. How long are cucumbers good for?/ How long do cucumbers stay fresh?
If you bring in cucumbers from your garden or fresh from the grocery store, they should stay fresh for around a week or 2. They tend to last a little longer if you keep them cold in the fridge.
Q2. How long are frozen cucumbers good for?
Freezing your cucumbers will extend their shelf (or freezer) life by a ton. While fresh cucumbers only stay good for about a week or two, frozen cucumbers will stay good for up to a whole year!
You will never have to worry again about your garden harvest going to waste or missing out on a good produce sale. With these food preservation tips you know how to freeze cucumbers so they last a very long time.