Have you heard of cucumber blindness? I’m sure we all suffered from it at one time or another. One day you look at your cucumber plants and see nothing but tiny cukes, and the next day you find yourself with one or more giant ones. Now what? If you wonder what to do with overgrown cucumbers, I’m here to help. Unless your cucumbers turned yellow, there’s still hope. Let’s take a look at some of the ways you can use overgrown cukes.
What To Do With Overgrown Cucumbers
If you find yourself with a bunch of overgrown cucumbers, the first thing you should do is assess if they are still edible. If your cucumber turned yellow, there isn’t much to do, other than save them for seed, give them to your chickens, or throw them in the compost pile.
If your cucumber is just large, but not yellow, wash, peel and deseed your fruit to get it ready for use.
Too many cucumbers in general? Here are 11 ways to use cucumbers.
1. Make cucumber juice
One of the easiest ways to use your large cukes is to juice them. Takes only a couple of minutes with a vegetable juicer (I’ve had this one for many years and it works great!). This juice is best when you drink it immediately, but will last in the fridge for about a day.
For variations, you can add a few mint leaves, a couple of carrots, or add spinach for a green juice. But it’s very refreshing just alone, as is.
2. Make cucumber salad
There are many ways to make cucumber salad, and here are just a few examples:
- tomato, onion, and cucumber salad, with a splash of your favorite oil and a sprinkle of salt
- dill cucumber salad
- watermelon cucumber mint salad
- cucumber and onion salad
- fennel, orange, and cucumber salad
- 9 delicious cucumber salads for cucumber lovers
3. Make cucumber salsa
Thankfully, cucumbers, tomatoes, and peppers all grow in the garden at the same time, and large cucumbers are perfect for salsa. This cucumber salsa calls for only 5 ingredients and less than 10 minutes to make.
Eat it with chips, or on top of a rice and beans meal: YUM!
4. Make cucumber-infused water
Stay hydrated through the hot summer days by drinking plenty of water. Plain water is good for you, but cucumber water is even better, as it’s going to give you some extra vitamins and electrolytes.
To make cucumber-infused water, slice the cukes thinly and then add whichever of these you have in your fridge or garden:
- a few sprigs of mint. No mint? Basil is great too.
- a couple of thin slices of lemon or lime
- a small piece of ginger
Plain water is all you need, but you can take your infused water to the next level by replacing it with sparkling water.
5. Add them to a smoothie
Enjoy an afternoon pick me up by making a quick banana cucumber smoothie. You can also add your cucumber to any smoothie. Here are some ideas:
- blueberry cucumber smoothie
- banana cucumber smoothie
- cucumber carrot smoothie
- watermelon cucumber smoothie
- cucumber ginger smoothie
- celery cucumber smoothie
- avocado cucumber smoothie
- kale cucumber smoothie
- spinach cucumber smoothie
- apple cucumber smoothie
6. Make a cucumber relish
Save some of the flavors of the summer into a cucumber relish you can use later on potatoes, hot dogs, and burgers. Here’s a relish recipe to try.
7. Make cucumber soup
Cucumber soup can be made cold or cooked.
For a cold soup, you can blend together cucumbers, dill, onion, garlic, and Greek yogurt. Add a squeeze of lemon juice, some black pepper, salt, and oil and you’re ready for lunch.
You can also make a cooling cucumber gazpacho: this one looks delicious!
Of course, if you want a creamy warm cucumber soup, you might like this one.
8. Pickle them!
Who says you can only pickle small cucumbers? Slice them into thin chips, or into spears and pickle away. I love the refrigerator pickles best because they are so easy to make and don’t involve the stove in this crazy heart. Here are 2 different kinds of icebox pickles to try:
9. Bake them!
That’s right! You can bake (or grill) cucumbers. They taste similar to zucchini. All you need to do is cube your cucumber, salt it, and bake it. Feel free to add some of your favorite herbs, and a handful of Parmesan cheese.
Here’s a recipe you can use for cooked cucumber with butter and herbs.
10. Make stuffed cucumber boats
You can use large cucumbers to make stuffed veggie boats. Make it quickly without cooking, by adding some cream cheese and chopped scallions or chives, or you can bake them with your favorite stuffing and serve them for dinner.
11. Freeze them for later
Of course, if you’re short on time, just put the cucumbers into a freezer bag after cleaning and deseeding, and use them later for many of the ideas above. You can freeze them sliced, or pureed, and frozen into your ice cube tray: this way you can add frozen cucumber cubes to your drinks.
12. Give them to your chickens
If you have backyard chickens, they’ll love your overgrown cucumbers: slice them first, so it’s easy for them to get to the juicy parts, and they’ll take care of the rest.
13. Add them to the compost pile
If you have too many overgrown cucumbers, and not enough time to deal with them there’s always the compost pile. You might even end up with a few volunteer cucumber plants later in the season, or next year.
14. Save the seeds for next year
If the cucumbers are not only large but also turning yellow, it means that those seeds are ready to save for next year. Save enough for you and give some away.
15. Use them to pamper yourself
Cucumbers are refreshing and hydrating. Use some cucumber slices at the end of the day to treat your face to a mini spa session.
Large Cucumbers FAQs
What can I do with cucumbers that are too big?
All of the things I shared above: soups, smoothies, relishes infused water, salads, and more. If you’d rather not eat them, you can give them to your farm animals, add them to the compost pile or use them in your beauty routine.
Are overripe cucumbers edible?
Not really: the skin will be tough, the seeds too big, and the taste will be off. Use them for next year’s seeds, or on the compost heap.
Can I use large cucumbers for pickles?
Yes, large cucumbers are perfect for sliced pickles and cucumber relish.
Can you freeze cucumbers for later use?
Absolutely! Frozen cucumbers are great for making cucumber-infused water, and for smoothies.
How big should I let my cucumbers get?
It depends on the type of cucumber you’re growing. remember to pick cucumbers daily so you don’t end up with too many big, seedy cukes. Smaller ones are crunchier and tastier.