When to pick a cucumber?
There are many factors which determine when to pick your cucumbers. Some of these include: season, size, shape, how long they’ve been sitting out and other factors. However, there’s one factor that most people overlook – time! Most people don’t think about picking their cucumbers until it gets too late or they’re not sure if they’ll have enough time to get them all before the weather turns bad again.
Cucumbers will usually ripen at different times depending on where you live. If you live in a hot climate like California, then cucumbers will generally start to turn yellow around mid-July. However, if you live somewhere cooler like Florida or Arizona, they may still be green when they reach your area. You can check the date on your cucumbers by cutting open the top of a ripe cucumber and looking at its skin under a magnifying glass.
The best way to tell when to pick your cucumbers is to look at their color. Green means they’re ready; red means they’re not yet ripe but could be soon; orange means they’re still green but need some time; and yellow means that you probably shouldn’t bother picking them right now.
Not sure what your last color was?
Check our ripening color chart to find out.
Why are my cuke leaves turning yellow?
There are a few reasons why your cucumbers could be turning yellow. Cuke leaves will turn yellow when they’re lacking nutrients, light, water or if they’re getting too much sun (or not enough water). Don’t worry – you aren’t doing anything wrong! These symptoms are completely normal.
Yellow leaves will return to their normal green color if you correct the problem. For example, yellow leaves due to lack of water will turn green if you give them more H2O. Yellow leaves due to too much sun or not enough nutrients will remain yellow but be less likely to get diseased.
What causes my cuke to be small and yellow?
There are two main reasons why your cucumbers will be small and yellow. The first is that they aren’t pollinating properly. The second reason could be due to lack of nutrients or lack of water.
To determine which problem you’re dealing with, look at the ends of the cucumbers. If the ends are small and yellow but the middle of the cuke is big and green then you need to help them pollinate better. There are a few ways you can do this. You can gently rub the flower ends together (called “bumping”) or you can purchase a small vibrating machine to do the job for you. Either way, this will help the cucumber pick up the necessary pollen to produce big healthy cucumbers.
However, if the ends of the cucumbers are small and yellow and the middle is small and yellow then you need to help the plant produce bigger cucumbers. There are a few reasons why your cucumbers could be lacking nutrients. Your soil may be missing important nutrients. You can add some fertilizer or compost to the soil to help. Also, your plants may not be able to reach each other to share resources.
If this is the case, you’ll need to thin out the plants or stake them so they have more room and can grow bigger.
How do I cure my cukes after I pick them?
Some people like their pickles crispy, but if you like them nice and soft then there are a few things you need to do. First, don’t wash the brine off of the pickles or soak them in fresh water. Next, make sure they’re packed in salt. If the pickles are on a conveyor belt, or they’re loose in a bin then you need to pack them in salt to make sure they’re properly cured. If the pickles are packed in a plastic tray then you can usually just place them in the bin of salt. Make sure the salt is covering every part of the pickle and be sure to pack it in there tightly so that they’re touching one another.
Finally, make sure the bin is covered so that no air gets in. Air will make the brine evaporate which will cause the pickles to soften. When a bin is covered it keeps out the oxygen (and sunlight which can also cause brine to evaporate) which prolongs the life of the brine and keeps the pickles crispy.
How do I get rid of speckle on my cukes?
There are two types of spots you might see on your pickles: silver spots and grey spots. Silver spots are harmless, but they do make your pickles less aesthetically pleasing. They’re a type of fungus that grows on the surface of your brine. They’re caused by lack of air in the brine, too much salt, or fluctuation in temperature. To get rid of them, first make sure you’re following the directions in this guide for making brine and packing your container. If you are, then the best way to get rid of the spots is by throwing out the brine and starting over with fresh salt and water. However, if you’ve only got a few spots then it’s not worth the trouble to start over. You can also scrub the brine container with vinegar or bleach to get rid of the mold.
Grey spots on the other hand are a type of soft rot. They’re fuzzy and discolored and make your pickles unappetizing. The best way to get rid of them is by throwing out all of the brine and immediately cleaning everything that came in contact with it. Scrub the container with a bleach solution and rinse it well. Then refill it with fresh brine and start over.
How do I can my pickles?
Canning your pickles is really quite simple, but there are a few rules that you must follow so you don’t get sick or kill someone by giving them a jar of poisonous pickles!
First thing’s first, you need a canner. It can be a large pot that has an insert at the bottom to lift the jars off the floor of the pot, or it can be a deep stock pot with a rack that keeps the jars off the bottom of the pot. Either way, it must be deep enough for water to cover your jars by at least one inch and you must have a lid that fits correctly.
Next you need jars. You can reuse old mayo jars or empty pickle jars from the grocery store, but they must be CANNED JARS. The nice thing about the Ball brand is that it comes with a rubber gasket in the lid and metal clamps so you don’t need to buy separate jar clamps. Just make sure your jars are clean and without any nicks, cracks, or chips in the rim where the sealing compound won’t stick.
To ensure a good seal, don’t use any jars with even minor cracks as you’ll probably get a partial seal which will fail later. Jars that have failed to seal properly in the past should always be stored in the fridge as they’re poor candidates for future home canning.
Once you have your jars, fill a sink with hot soapy water and soak your jars for at least 5 minutes to ensure any bugs are killed. Then make sure you dry the jars well and remove the rings, as they can interfere with a good seal.
Now you need to prepare your pickles for canning. If you’re going to whole pickles, then blanch them in boiling water or steam them until they’re bright green. Keep in mind that some pickles, like bread and butter chips or cornichons, are already bright green so you don’t need to blanch them. If you’re going to slice or cube your pickles, you can just put the whole jar in the canner filled with hot (but not boiling) water for at least 5 minutes. This process is called “hot packing”.
Hot packing helps keep the crispness in your pickles. If you’re going to mash your pickles, then you need to fill the jar with crushed ice and cover it with water. This process is called “cold packing”. Cold packing is best for anything that is going to be mashed such as bread and butter chips or fermented pickles.
Once your pickles are ready, fill the jars up to the top with them, put the lids on, and put the jars into the canner. Once the canner has water and boils, process the jars for 10-30 minutes, depending on what type of pickles you’re canning. If you’re not sure how long to process, just follow the time given for the type of pickle you’re making.
Once the time is up, turn off the heat and allow the canner to sit and slowly cool down. Do not take the jars out until they have cooled off completely. When you do take them out of the canner, slowly and gently tap them on the counter to help the contents settle into the jar. You’ll soon find that the lids will make a lovely popping sound as they seal. Any lids that don’t pop are bad and you’ll need to throw those away.
You’ve now successfully made and canned pickles! Just make sure you label them with the date and what’s in them, and store them in a cool, dark place. Under these conditions, your pickles will be good for at least one year…possibly longer.
Pickles may also be frozen (but not canned). To do so, just fill up freezer bags with the amount of pickles you want to keep and remove as much air as possible before sealing. Then just thaw and eat!
You can also turn your pickles into pickle juice by straining off the juice after you chop or shred the pickles. Just mix with an equal amount of water and then boil for five minutes. Store in the fridge and use just like you would store bought pickle juice.
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10.7 Canning Meats
Like vegetables, meats can be canned, but most sources will tell you that it’s not safe unless the meat is heavily cooked beforehand. This is partly true–especially processed meats like Spam–but if you take the proper precautions, you can can meats with no precooking and have them come out safe to eat. The trick is to get the meat hot enough so any bacteria are killed off.
The first thing you need is a proper canning recipe. You need to have at least 1 tsp of sugar per 1 lb of meat, 1/2 tsp of salt per 1 lb of meat, 1/4 cup of vinegar per 1 lb of meat AND you need to have a water to meat ratio of 2:1 (i.e. 2 cups of water per 1 lb of meat). You can also add your own seasonings if you want.
The second thing you need is a proper pressure canner. You can’t use a water bath canner for this, unless you have a way of effectively getting the jars up to at least 212F (you could heat up the water in the pot on the stove and then transfer the jars into the pot, but it’s going to be a lot more work and more risk of jars breaking). You need to get the jars of meat up to at least 240F and keep them at that temperature for a minimum of 20 minutes in order to kill off any bacteria. This can only be achieved with a pressure canner. If you don’t have access to a pressure canner (most public libraries will have one you can use if you tell them it’s for home canning), then you’re probably better off sticking to canned vegetables rather than canned meat.
Sources & references used in this article:
An autonomous robot for harvesting cucumbers in greenhouses by EJ Van Henten, J Hemming, BAJ Van Tuijl, JG Kornet… – Autonomous …, 2002 – Springer
Responses of “Little Leaf” vs. Norma Cucumber to Planting Density and by H Nerson – HortScience, 1998 – ir4.rutgers.edu
Collision-free motion planning for a cucumber picking robot by EJ Van Henten, J Hemming, BAJ Van Tuijl… – Biosystems …, 2003 – Elsevier
Performance of Multiple-Pick Cucumber Harvesters by ED Threadgill, SL Windham… – Transactions of the ASAE, 1977 – elibrary.asabe.org
Collision-free inverse kinematics of the redundant seven-link manipulator used in a cucumber picking robot by EJ Van Henten, EJ Schenk, LG Van Willigenburg… – Biosystems …, 2010 – Elsevier
Cucumber harvester by B Sonnenberg – US Patent 4,553,381, 1985 – Google Patents
Pick-up device for harvesting and supplying cucumber plants to a mobile harvesting machine by F Wagner, E Fleischmann – US Patent 7,926,250, 2011 – Google Patents
Feasibility of trellised cucumber production by VM Russo, BW Roberts, RJ Schatzer – HortScience, 1991 – journals.ashs.org