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Harvesting Pickles and Cucumbers

Dills, sweet or slicers all start as cucumbers.  It’s the timing at harvest that makes the difference.

Harvest cucumbers based on their use.  Pick the fruit when its 1 ½ to 2 ½ inches long if you plan on making sweet pickles.  Allow the cucumbers to grow a bit bigger, 3 to 4 inches, if dill pickles are on the menu. 

You can wait a bit longer if it’s slicing cucumbers you prefer. Harvest these when the skin is firm, bright green and the fruit is 6 to 9 inches long.  You can leave Burpless cucumbers on the vine a bit longer.  They have been bred to maintain their mild flavor when harvested at 10 to 12 inches in length.

Misshapen and bitter flavored cucumbers are usually the result of drought, improper fertilization, and large fluctuations in temperatures.  Compost poor quality fruit and adjust care to insure better quality fruit for future harvests.

A bit more information:  Cucumbers are a great low calorie vegetable.  It is a good source of fiber, potassium, and vitamin K.  Plus, they have a high water content, making them a mild diuretic to help in weight loss and reducing blood pressure.

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