Why cucumbers become bitter and how to avoid it

Alina MilsentNews
Cucumber harvest. Source: Created with the help of AI

Cucumbers are healthy and nutritious vegetables, but often instead of a tasty, crispy harvest, small and bitter fruits grow in the garden. The substance that gives cucumbers their pronounced bitterness is called cucurbitacin, and it is concentrated in the skin and at the stem attachment points.

Scientists say that genetically, the ability to accumulate bitterness is inherent in all cucumbers, but breeders have developed varieties that do not have an unpleasant aftertaste. Why, then, are homegrown cucumbers often bitter? The reason is a violation of growing conditions. OBOZ.UA figured out how to grow cucumbers properly so that the fruits are flavorful and tasty.

Watering and loosening

First of all, improper watering affects bitterness. Irregular moisture causes the fruit to dry out. The roots die off quickly, the leaves weaken, and the formation of organic matter stops. The result is small, frail and bitter cucumbers.

Cucumbers should be watered regularly and abundantly, using warm, settled water at least 20 ⁰C. Cucumbers have a shallow root system, so loosen the bed carefully.


Temperature changes affect the taste of cucumbers. A large difference between day and night temperatures can cause bitterness in the fruit. There is a way out: it is better to plant cucumbers not in the sun but in the shade. On cold nights, cover the bushes with non-woven agrofibre.


Fresh manure or compost causes bitterness in the fruit. It is best to fertilize the beds with completely rotted manure.

What to do with bitter cucumbers

Cucurbitacin decomposes at high temperatures, so bitter cucumbers can be used for preserving and pickling. Just pour the cucumbers with boiling brine or marinade and the bitterness will go away.

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