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7 Ways to Tell if a Cucumber is Bad

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Not sure if your cucumber has turned bad? We have gone over several methods to identify a sour cucumber, including sliminess, smell, feel, taste, mold, and spots. It’s always better to be safe than sorry, so check one or more of these indicators to see if your cucumber has gone bad.

Cucumbers are one of the most popular foods in the world. Whether you eat cucumbers as part of a salad or as a snack, there is no denying that they are delicious and popular.

Cucumbers are not just tasty, but they are also healthy. A cucumber is 96% water, so it helps you stay hydrated. It’s also loaded with vitamins and antioxidants, which help fight cancer cells and protect your skin against damage.

But as great as cucumbers are, the higher water content in cucumbers also causes them to go bad quickly. Many people cannot tell when a cucumber has gone bad, so they accidentally eat it and get sick. If you have ever eaten a spoiled cucumber, you know how awful it can get.

So how can you tell if a cucumber is bad? Luckily, there are some easy ways you can tell if a cucumber has gone bad. This article will explore seven different ways to see whether or not your cucumbers have spoiled.

How Does a Fresh Cucumber Look?

Let’s get to know fresh cucumbers first.

A fresh ripe cucumber should be green, shiny, and without bruises or marks that indicate damage or spoilage.

The color can range from dark green to light green, depending on the variety of cucumbers.

When you pick up cucumbers, make sure they are firm and crisp, and the skin is not damaged. Fresh cucumbers should have a refreshing scent and thick flesh due to their water content.

How Long Do Cucumbers Last?

Cucumbers are mostly water, so they do not last long. It would be best if you aimed to use your cucumber within one week of buying it to avoid spoilage.

  • A fresh cucumber outside the refrigerator will last for three days if wrapped in a paper towel and stored below 80°F/26°C.
  • A cucumber in the refrigerator will last one week if stored wrapped in a paper towel.
  • Sliced cucumbers will only last for a few hours in the fridge before spoiling. To extend their longevity, store them in an airtight container, and you can refrigerate for at least two days.
cucumber with molds

7 Ways to Tell if a Cucumber Has Gone Bad

Cucumbers have a short shelf life and are difficult to detect when they begin to go bad. The best way to check if a cucumber is bad is to use your senses of sight, smell, and taste.

We’ve compiled a list of seven common ways to tell if your cucumbers have spoiled.

1- Squishy Flesh

The slice test can help you know if a cucumber is likely spoiled or not.

To do this, slice the cucumber in half length-wise. A fresh cucumber will show firm seeds and watery, clear flesh. If the cucumber has gone bad, it will have a mushy texture and watery ooze.

2- Yucky Smells

Cut your cucumber in half and sniff.

Fresh cucumber will have a mild, refreshing scent. If you get a whiff of anything unpleasant, likely, they have already spoiled.

3- Mushy/Shivered Skin

One way to tell if a cucumber has gone bad is by looking at the skin. If you notice that the skin of your cucumbers has started to go wrinkly or mushy, there is a huge chance that it has spoiled.

4- Sour Taste

Fresh cucumbers have a sweet and watery flavor, but they develop an unpleasant sour taste or may become bitter when they begin to spoil.

5- Mold

Cucumber molds appear as fine threads and spores and are hard to spot with the naked eye. They can quickly spread in the cucumber flesh.

Mold is an indication that your cucumbers had already turned bad at least a day ago, so if you see mold, throw away the whole cucumber right away.

6- Spotting

Dark brown or black spotting on your cucumbers can be an indication that they are turning bad. This spot is where the mold or bacteria has touched the skin, so it’s best to throw away your cucumbers if you see any such spots.

Fresh cucumbers often have yellow patches, but if you notice a lot of them, it’s possible that the cucumber is overripe or has gone bad.

7- Sliminess

Slippery and slimy film on cucumbers means that they have started to rot; it mainly manifests on sliced cucumbers.

If your cucumber has turned slimy and sticky, it is likely no longer edible and should be thrown away right away.

Is an Overripe Cucumber Bad?

Cucumbers turn overripe when they are left on vines for too long. An overripe cucumber is much firmer and gets a yellow color.

An overripe cucumber is not necessarily inedible, but it’s better not to eat it raw. However, these are perfect for pickling or using as compost.

Can You Get Sick from Eating Bad Cucumber?

Yes, spoiled cucumbers are not suitable for you. Cucumbers are mostly water, which becomes a harbor of bacteria during spoilage.

Eating spoiled cucumbers can result in food poisoning or even severe health problems. Symptoms like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach cramps can be caused by eating spoiled cucumbers. So, be careful to store your cucumbers correctly to avoid accidentally consuming the spoiled vegetable.

fridge shelves and drawers full of green vegetables and cucumbers

Tips on How to Store Cucumbers Properly

There are proper ways to store cucumbers to avoid spoilage. Follow these tips to make sure your cucumber will last for a long time.

Outside Refrigerator:

  • Wash your cucumbers thoroughly before storing them.
  • Put your cucumbers in a cool, dry place. You can also use containers with ventilated lids for better air circulation and to prevent mold growth.
  • Keep cucumbers outside the refrigerator for only two to three days.

Inside Refrigerator:

  • When refrigerating cucumbers, make sure they are loosely wrapped in plastic wrap or a zip lock bag to retain moisture and increase the shelf life.
  • Please keep them on the middle shelves where the temperature and moisture are not too high.
  • Store your cucumbers in the refrigerator crisper if you want them to last for a week.

Sliced Cucumber:

  • Put your slices in an airtight container and put them in the fridge. They should last for at least a day.
  • You can also store sliced cucumbers in water and keep them in the refrigerator. Cucumber-infused water is an excellent detox drink.

General Recommendations:

  • Store your cucumbers away from fruits that emit ethylene gas, such as apples and bananas, which can speed up the ripening process of your cucumbers.
  • Do not store sliced and the whole cucumber together.
  • Finally, make sure always to check the expiration date before you eat or buy a cucumber.


Cucumbers are definitely a vegetable you want to keep in your fridge for a healthy diet. Knowing how to tell if a cucumber has gone bad is the first step towards enjoying fresh, delicious cucumbers.

This article has outlined seven common ways to tell if a cucumber has gone bad and explained how to avoid eating spoiled vegetables. Make sure that you always check for these signs of spoilage before you eat or buy a cucumber.

Always practice proper hygiene when slicing and storing cucumbers, and be sure to keep them in a clean, dry place to avoid spoilage.

We hope you learned something new today and will always be able to eat fresh cucumbers with ease.


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