Cucumbers typically do not freeze well when they are simply placed in the freezer without any preparation. When freezing cucumbers, they should first be washed, sliced, and covered in salt or a brine solution. They can also be soaked in vinegar before being placed in containers and frozen. Some cooks also add other vegetables, spices, or sugar. Frozen cucumbers may not taste just like fresh cucumbers, but they can last up to a year when stored this way.
Since they have a high water content, cucumbers typically don't freeze very well. When thawed, they will often be mushy, and they may also have unusual tastes or odors. Pickling cucumbers is usually the best method of cucumber preservation. Instead of following a traditional pickle recipe, some individuals may want to make freezer pickles.
Before freezing cucumbers, they should be washed well. Washing fresh picked cucumbers will help remove the dirt, as well as any pesticides and fertilizers. Store-bought cucumbers also usually come covered in a very thin layer of wax that needs to be washed away.
Many individuals who are interested in freezing cucumbers will also peel them first. The peels, however, can also be left on the vegetables. Before freezing cucumbers, most individuals also slice them or cut them into spears.
The cucumber pieces can then be generously sprinkled with salt or soaked in a salt water solution. Pickling salt is usually recommended when pickling or freezing cucumbers, which is a fine grained salt designed for pickling. Unlike regular table salt, this type of salt does not have any additives, like iodine.
After the cucumber pieces have been allowed to set in the salt or salt solution for several hours, they should then be rinsed with cold water. The cucumber pieces can then be placed in freezer safe containers and covered with vinegar. When freezing cucumbers, nearly any type of container is usually sufficient. Some individuals like to use glass canning jars, but it is important to leave at least 1 inch (2.5 centimeters) in the jar, since the mixture will expand as it freezes. Plastic containers or freezer bags can also be used to freeze pickles.
Depending on their tastes, individuals can add a number of flavorings to their freezer pickles. Onions and garlic are very popular additions, for instance. Sugar can also be added, which will result in more of a sweet pickle taste. Peppers, such as jalapeños, can also be added, and these will cause the frozen pickles to taste slightly spicy.