Juicy and fragrant cucumbers collected from their own beds or bought in the summer season are considered the most delicious and healthy. Literally every housewife wants to keep them fresh, because in winter not so tasty items come on sale that even when fresh do not have the taste and aroma inherent in summer cucumbers.
The average shelf life of fresh cucumbers is about a week in the refrigerator. After this, moisture from them begins to evaporate more actively, the skin wrinkles, and the core becomes soft and tasteless. In addition, in such vegetables the chemical composition is almost completely changed, nutritional value will decrease and appearance will deteriorate. However, there are some interesting ways how to keep the cucumbers until the New Year fresh and crispy, like from a garden!
How to choose cucumbers for long-term storage
To store cucumbers almost all winter without loss of vitamins and taste, it is important to choose the right variety of these vegetables. So, salad varieties spoil very quickly, even in ideal conditions for storage. That is why it is worth taking pickled types of cucumbers, which are fresh stored longer. The following varieties and hybrids are ideal for this:
- Parisian Gherkin;
- Green wave;
Externally, these cucumbers look attractive, as they have a small size (up to 8 cm in length), a smooth surface and even color. Even reliably not knowing the varietal identity of cucumbers, we can determine that they are pickled. Typically, such vegetables have the following symptoms:
- dense pulp with small seed chambers;
- the skin is shiny, covered with numerous large tubercles;
- the spikes on pickles are always black or dark, but not white.
A significant advantage of pickles is resistance to damage. Even in the refrigerator, they retain elasticity and taste longer than universal or salad.
How to keep cucumbers fresh until spring: best ways
It is possible to extend the shelf life of fresh cucumbers until mid-winter or even until spring, even at home, without using special tools. Some methods were known back in Russia, and some were invented by our contemporaries. In any case, each of them has the right to life and is popular with housewives.
Fresh cucumbers before winter: recipe
Method number 1: in banks
To keep the cucumbers fresh, it is necessary to place them in a full vacuum. Despite the apparent complexity, doing this at home is quite simple.
- The first and most important condition is to choose strong small cucumbers without any signs of damage.
- The fruits are thoroughly washed in cool water. It is important not to keep them in it for too long!
- Wipe cucumbers is not recommended: it can damage their skin.
- The fruits are laid out on a well-absorbent tissue and left for about an hour.
- Next, cucumbers are placed in large jars. It is necessary to leave free space in the tank about a quarter of its height. Tightly stack the fruits so as not to cause damage.
- A short paraffin candle is inserted in the middle of the container between the cucumbers (you can use small decorative candles in a metal base without aroma!) And light it for 8-10 minutes. At this time, prepare a sterile metal lid for capping, which must be dry.
- After the specified time, the oxygen in the bank will burn out. At this time, you need to carefully, so as not to extinguish the candle, roll up the lid. Continuing to burn, the candle will use up all the oxygen in the container with cucumbers, and then go out.
This method allows you to store cucumbers fresh until spring in room conditions. It is important only to prevent light from entering the fruit jars.
Method number 2: in a barrel (original old recipe)
This method allows you to prepare fresh cucumbers in fresh form without the addition of spices and brines. It was practiced by our ancestors, and is sometimes still found in villages. To keep the cucumbers fresh in this way, you will need a previously scalded and dried wooden tub. Horseradish leaves are laid on its bottom (they impede the fermentation processes).
Cucumbers are stacked vertically, with tails down. The fruits must be laid very tightly so that there are no gaps between them. When the barrel is full, the cucumbers are covered with another layer of horseradish leaves. Then the barrel is corked with a wooden mug-lid and placed in a pond, at the bottom of which cold keys are beaten.
The nutritional value of such cucumbers, however, like their taste, is preserved until the New Year. Even in spring, they remain crispy, juicy and fragrant. And all thanks to the fact that at the bottom of reservoirs the temperature is constantly kept at about + 4-6 degrees, and also there is completely no light and air access.
Method number 3: in the cellar-glacier
This method resembles the previous technique for keeping cucumbers fresh. The only difference is that a barrel filled with fruits is poured to the brim with spring water (not tap water!). After that, a tightly closed container is placed in the cellar in which the glacier is equipped.
Method number 4: in a head of cabbage
To preserve cucumbers for a long time in this way, preparation should begin at the beginning of summer. For this, several cabbage bushes are planted next to the cucumber bed. At the moment when the heads of cabbage begin to turn around, a cucumber is stolen in their center, without disconnecting it from the whip. The essence of this method is that the leaves of cabbage will tightly envelop the still growing fruit of the cucumber, blocking the access of air and light to it. After the onset of cold weather, the heads of cabbage are carefully dug out together with a lump of earth and placed in the basement with the roots up.
The advantage of this method is the complete lack of time spent on preparing dishes and processing vegetables. The disadvantage is the likelihood of decay of the head of cabbage and cucumber in it, as well as a small number of fruits, kept fresh.
Method number 5: in the protein shell
The essence of this method is to create an airtight film of egg whites on the surface of the cucumber, so that they do not lose their qualities a little longer than without such processing.
Selected cucumbers should be absolutely healthy, fresh and even, with a “tail” preserved. They are thoroughly cleaned of impurities, dried and covered with chicken egg protein. The shell should completely cover the fruits, and dry completely before laying it in storage.
It is better to keep such cucumbers in a cool and dark place by shifting greens with waxed paper. The maximum shelf life is about 60 days.
How long to store cucumbers in the refrigerator
When trying to keep cucumbers in the refrigerator, many housewives make a mistake by placing them on a shelf with too low temperatures, which speeds up their spoilage. To avoid this, it is better to put Zelentsy in the warmest section, where the temperature ranges from +4 to +6 degrees. In such conditions, they can remain fresh for about 3 weeks.
To reduce the risk of cucumber spoilage, you need to put them in jars or clay pots, and also remove other vegetables and fruits that can release methane (apples, bananas, pears). They most often cause damage to their neighbors on the shelf. Garlic will help protect greens from spoilage. You can put several of its cloves in one container with cucumbers.
Freezing: another option is to make the cucumbers fresh
Dense and not very juicy cucumbers are suitable for freezing. Before freezing, they must be thoroughly wiped and cut into cubes, straws or mugs. They are placed on baking sheets or plates in one layer and sent to the freezer for a couple of hours. After freezing, cucumbers can be poured into a dense package of polymers and immediately put back into the freezer.
Such cucumbers are stored for a very long time subject to intermediate defrosting.
How to freeze cucumbers for the winter
Despite its tenderness and pronounced seasonality, you can keep cucumbers fresh until the New Year. To do this, you should carefully study the recipes suggested above and strictly follow them.