when-to-pick-lemon-cucumbers

When to Pick Lemon Cucumbers for the Best Texture and Taste

Shaped like lemons and almost as juicy, lemon cucumbers harvested at the right time have tender skins and sweeter, milder flesh than their green relatives. Let a lemon cuke ripen completely on the vine, however, and you’ll bite into tough skin and hard-shelled seeds. To learn when the best time to pick these delightful heirloom cukes is, keep reading.

Lemon Cuke Days to Harvest

Depending on their growing conditions, lemon cukes vines need from 60 and 75 days to reach the harvestable stage. To decide if they’re ready to pick, it’s better to rely on the appearance of their fruit instead of your calendar. For the best taste and texture, look for egg-sized cukes that are mostly green, with just a touch of yellow.

Expert gardeners tips:

  • Once your lemon cuke vines hit the 60-day mark, start checking their fruit daily. It ripens very rapidly and may become too tough to enjoy in just one or two days.
  • Leaving the fruit to ripen on the vine also signals the cuke plant that it’s time to stop flowering. If you want a continuing crop, pick every cuke as soon as it’s ready.

How to Pick Lemon Cucumbers

Pick lemon cukes just as you’d pick any of their relatives:

  • Harvest them early in the morning when their moisture content is at its peak.
  • Snip them from the main vine with a clean, sharp pair of pruners or garden shears. Be careful not to twist or pull the vine itself.
  • Leave a ¼- to 1/2-inch piece of stem attached to the cukes to keep their stem ends firm.

Expert gardener’s tip: Lemon cukes picked green have fuzzy prickles like those on kiwi fruits. Rub them off with a soft towel or veggie brush, or just peel the skin before eating or pickling.

Storing Lemon Cucumbers

Store the cukes at room temperature if you expect to eat or pickle them in one or two days. They won’t hold up well at temperatures below 50°F (10°C). If the fridge is your only option, wrap them in dry paper towels, seal them in plastic bags, store them near the front on a middle or upper shelf and use them within three days.

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