Bitter cucumbers: causes of bitterness, the benefits and harms of eating, how to cook
Cucumbers can be safely called one of the most beloved vegetables in our country, since this product is on the table almost all year round: fresh cucumbers are as beloved as homemade pickles. However, acquiring cucumbers, you can meet not only delicious, but also bitter greens. What is the reason of this phenomenon, is it possible to use such a product and how to get rid of an unpleasant taste - all this can be found in our article.
Why cucumbers are bitter: the main reasons
Studying the question, for what reason, the taste characteristics of cucumbers have changed, it is impossible to indicate for sure only one factor that influenced this, as a rule, this is a complex phenomenon. Did you know? Similar to how cucumber produces cucurbitacin for protection and survival, gourds secrete saponin - a substance that gives melons, pumpkins and watermelons a bitter taste. Answering the question of why the cucumber gains a bitter taste, we can say that the substance cucurbitacin is the reason for this. This is a toxic compound of organic elements that, with maximum accumulation, gives the fetus bitterness.
Its leaves are synthesized, after which it is distributed throughout the plant, accumulating in the peel and on the tips of the fruit, concentrating as much as possible in the roots. Cucurbitacin is necessary for the plant to naturally protect it from being eaten by animals until it stops bearing fruit and its seeds mature.
Under stress, the plant significantly increases the production of this substance. Most often, cucumber varieties with black spikes are bitter, while in white this effect is less pronounced.
Factors affecting the formation of bitterness
The factors that provoke a violation of the taste of cucumbers include: You can find out
- Violation of the timing of sowing. The wrong planting period creates a stressful situation for the plant.
- Wrong watering. Cucumbers love water, and its absence can adversely affect their taste characteristics. However, watering should not be uncontrolled and very plentiful. In case of prolonged and heavy rains, it is better to cover the fruits.
- The temperature of water for irrigation should not be cold, approximately + 25˚C and higher.
- In order for cucumbers to grow tasty, they must be fertilized by feeding with organic or complex additives, including potash, phosphorus and nitrogen (the latter should be brought with care, since their excess is also undesirable).
- You should not plant cucumbers in the garden too tightly, since a heap planting will not allow the fruits to get enough nutrients and they will be forced to survive.
- In the heat and under the scorching rays of the sun, it is difficult for a plant to grow, especially if it did not manage to adapt to such weather conditions gradually as a result of late planting. To create conditions for growth under diffused light, you can plant corn or sunflowers next to cucumbers, which will give a little desirable shadow.
- Low humidity as a result of dry, suffocating weather.
- Significant temperature fluctuations at different times of the day, a large difference in the degree of heating of soil and air on the street.
- Wrong choice of soil for planting cucumbers.
- If seeds of bitter precursors were used or they were extracted from the back of the fetus, where the concentration of cucurbitacin is higher.
- It is not recommended to water the cucumbers from the hose, since under the influence of a strong pressure of water the roots of the bush can be exposed. It is better to use drip irrigation or irrigate a bed from a watering can under the root.
- As a result of pest control, a plant can begin to produce cucurbititacin to scare them away, so preventive spraying is necessary.
As a rule, bitter vegetables are more hollow and voluminous due to the abundance of tubercles.
Important! It is necessary to monitor the cleanliness on the bed, removing weeds, because they do not allow cucumber bushes to receive full nutrients and moisture, significantly increase the risk of diseases and pests.
Can I eat bitter cucumbers
What to do if bitter specimens are found in the crop and whether they can be eaten - this question surely interested many. The answer is simple - you can eat such cucumbers, everything is fine with them, just their taste in some way differs from the usual one. Bitterness from cucurbitacin is not at all toxic, and the substance itself has a lot of useful properties.
- If you have bitter greenbacks growing in your garden, you should not be upset that the crop was unsuccessful, because cucurbitacin gives the vegetable such useful properties:
- normalization of the liver and intestines;
- improvement of outflow of bile;
- reducing the risk of cancer, reducing the growth of pathological tissues and cells;
- help in the fight against worms;
- anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties;
- choleretic effect;
- stimulation of the process of losing weight.
Read more about whether bitter cucumbers are good for the human body.
Bitter cucumbers are often used as folk remedies for the treatment and prevention of many diseases, and in China they even make medicines on their basis. Sometimes gardeners specifically plant a separate garden bed or several bushes to grow a bitter crop, which will be used to improve health.
The main negative quality of cucumbers with an increased level of cucurbitacin is their bitter taste, which, as a rule, is not the goal when planting cucumbers, but appears as a result of a complex of reasons, the main of which is improper care.
The use of such vegetables is not harmful, as well as special pleasure, therefore, such cucumbers are more often used as one of the many elements in salads or in preservation.
Did you know? Before harvesting, you can try to chew the leaf of the bush on which this cucumber grew. If the leaves are bitter, green folks will probably also be bitter.
What to do and how to use bitter cucumbers
Bitterness in cucumbers can be corrected by taking some simple steps, the main principle of which is the thermal treatment of cucumber, since cucurbitacin decomposes under the influence of temperature:
- Peel the cucumbers, since the maximum concentration of bitter substance in green leaves is in this part of it.
- Trim the "butt" of cucumbers.
- Use fruits for preservation or pickling under high temperature.
- You can fix the bitterness by soaking the cucumbers in hot water for a while (at least 3 hours). Water can be changed several times, this will help to more effectively remove bad taste. If you use cold water, then the duration of soaking should be extended to 12 hours or more.
- Sprinkle peeled and chopped cucumber with salt and you can eat.
How to grow non-bitter cucumbers
In order that vegetables do not become bitter, it is necessary to observe:
- conditions for proper fit;
- high-quality and regular care of the garden bed;
- pest prevention.
In the greenhouse
In greenhouse cultivation, to eliminate the above causes of bitterness in cucumbers, you must adhere to the following recommendations : Find out also
- Ventilate the greenhouse regularly and control the temperature in the middle of the room, which should not exceed + 28˚C. To exclude severe differences at night, the doors to the greenhouse should be closed.
- There are days when the sun in the greenhouse shelter is not enough, to correct the situation, it is worth taking care of additional artificial lighting.
- With an abundance of light, it is recommended to cover the walls of the greenhouse with material, whitewash with chalk or paint them white. For the construction of the greenhouse, it is not recommended to use glass that transmits maximum sunlight, it is better to use polycarbonate, which protects from cold and an abundance of heat.
- With sufficient watering and the required level of humidity, the crop will delight you with a sweet taste.
- You can feed the crop in the greenhouse with potassium nitrate and urea solution, which can significantly improve the taste of the fruit.
- It is necessary to regularly inspect the bushes, tying up the lashes and the grown stems, pinching them.
- Harvesting should be systematic and carried out every 2 days.
- Removing weeds and mulching the soil will not allow foreign organisms and pests to harm the cucumber bushes, and they will not attempt to defend themselves by throwing out the maximum amount of cucurbitacin.
In the open ground
Ground cucumbers can be saved from bitterness by following these recommendations:
- Before watering vegetables, it is necessary to check the temperature of the water, which should not be cold.
- The amount of watering depends on the aridity and humidity of the weather.
- It is better to water cucumbers on an open bed in the morning or in the evening, during hours of less active action of sunshine.
- It is worth avoiding making fresh manure under the bush, but it is better to prepare a solution on its basis.
- Cucumber beds are best located on the north side of shrubs of high height.
- It is not recommended to plant cucumbers next to pumpkins, raspberry and blackberry bushes, as well as strawberries, since such neighbors aggressively affect them.
- Before planting, the ground should be well warmed up.
- It is necessary to take care of loosening the soil to improve its breathability and remove excess moisture.
- It should not be zealous with the use of fertilizers, since an excess of nitrogenous fertilizing gives bitterness to cucumbers.
Hybrid cucumbers without bitterness
Scientists have proven that the bitter taste of cucumbers can be inherited through a group of genes in the paternal fetus, in which an increased amount of cucurbitacin was observed.
That is why the achievement of breeders can be called a number of varieties and hybrids with reduced production of this substance or the complete absence of the genes mentioned above. These include hybrids:
- Marina Grove;
- Clean ponds;