The Q&A Archives: growing cucumbers

Question: why would they be bitter

Answer: Cucurbitacin B and Cucurbitacin C are the names of the compounds which cause bitterness in cucumbers. These compounds are found in all plant parts, but are concentrated in the stem end of the fruit. There is some in the blossom end, as well. Different varieties of cucumbers seem to contain more bitterness than others. You can cut off the ends to remove the bulk of the bitterness, but there will still be some under the skin of the cuke. Some people believe that if they peel a cucumber from the stem end to the blossom end, they'll remove more of the bitterness. There have been scientific studies, and the direction of peeling doesn't really make any difference in the amount of bitterness in a cucumber. Although I'm sure you keep your plants well watered, there may be enough of a fluctuation of soil moisture to accentuate the problem. Try mulching over the soil around your plants to help regulate soil temperatures and moisture content.

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