Here’s what to do with overripe cucumbers: make ice cubes!
If you’re like me, every summer you’re left wondering what to do with all these overripe cucumbers. I love growing, harvesting, and eating cucumbers with great relish. No matter what though, some of my cucumbers invariably hide and grow into large yellow cucumbers with thick skins. Have no fear however, you don’t need to put them in yard waste!
In this recipe, we’ll look at how to quickly juice and freeze these overripe cucumbers into cold and refreshing cucumber ice cubes! Cucumbers are great for juicing because they’re mostly water. The juice comes out in a fun green color, and has a slightly sweet and refreshing taste.
I was able to turn 8 overripe cucumbers of various sizes into over 1.5L of cucumber ice cubes!
How do I tell if a cucumber is overripe?
Distinguishing when a cucumber is overripe can be pretty easy. Simply check the cucumbers for yellow or partially yellow skin. Yellow skin is the best indicator that your cucumber is past its prime. A little yellow on a mostly green cucumber is possibly still alright for normal use. If you’re unsure, cut yourself a slice of it and make a judgement call. If the skin is tough to eat or the flesh is kind of sour, you’re best off treating the cucumber as overripe.
If your cucumber is brown or soft, then don’t eat it, even as an ice cube.
Can I make ice cubes from cucumbers that aren't overripe?
This recipe will talk about how to juice overripe cucumbers and make ice cubes from the juice. However, if all you have are perfectly normal cucumbers, you can still follow this recipe exactly. Sometimes I get so many cucumbers from my garden that juicing them seems like a perfectly reasonable option.
If you find yourself shredding cucumbers for any reason, such as for muffins or fritters, you can always squeeze some juice from the shredded mass with a cheesecloth. In fact, for some recipes squeezing the extra juice out is a prerequisite.
What can I do if my overripe cucumbers are brown or soft?
If your cucumbers have browned or gone soft, I recommend scooping out the seeds and composting the rest. Scooping the seeds will help prevent your compost from sprouting a ton of cucumbers. One caution however is to avoid composting cucumbers if your current cucumber plant is showing signs of powdery mildew or other fungal diseases. These fungi can survive overwinter and come back the next year. If you’re hot composting then the heat of the compost might be enough to neutralize any powdery mildew, but I wouldn’t risk it.
If you’re interested in identifying and mitigating powdery mildew on cucumber, have a look at this guide from the Michigan State Extension School. Extension schools are fantastic resources for gardening information, and I can’t recommend them enough.
Do I need to peel overripe cucumbers before making ice cubes?
If you’re wondering what to do with the peel on overripe cucumbers, you pretty much have to peel them. The skin on overripe cucumbers becomes thick, tough, and generally unpleasant. Regardless of how you choose to utilize overripe cucumbers, you should peel and discard the skin.
How to easily peel overripe cucumbers
I recommend using a sharp knife to peel your cucumbers, over a potato peeler.
- The skin on overripe cucumbers is thicker and tougher than potatoes. A knife will cut through it much easier.
- Freshly washed cucumbers can be slippery. The extra heart of a knife handle will help you keep control of the cucumbers while slicing.
- Cucumbers are long and thin, and it’s easier to peel the whole length of one with a knife. Potato peelers are apt to take multiple slices to get through the length of a cucumber.
What can I do with overripe cucumber ice cubes?
Cucumber ice cubes are perfect for mixed drinks, specifically for mixed drinks made from clear liquors. They’re slightly sweet and add a dash of color to your drink. The best part however, is that they won’t dilute your drink as they melt, they simply add more juice to the glass.
My favorite go-to mixed drink for cucumber ice cubes is the humble gin and tonic. More often than not, gin and cucumber pair very well together, and I’ll even slip some liquid cucumber juice into my G&Ts when I have some.
Mojitos are also a great place for cucumber ice cubes. I’ve previously posted a guide on making strawberry mojitos, but you could just as easily make cucumber mojitos.
If you’re looking for non-alcoholic ideas, these ice cubes work well in water, iced tea, and other light flavored drinks. You want to target drinks where the subtle sweetness of the overripe cucumber ice cubes can come through and be noticed as the ice melts. So avoid soda, fruit juices, or other already sugary drinks.
Recipe for overripe cucumber ice cubes
Recipe for overripe cucumber ice cubes
- Ice cube trays as many as you have
- 1 Food processor or blender something to blend cucumbers with
- Yellow-skinned Cucumbers Overripe
- Green, regular cucumber optional
- Start by washing and peeling your overripe cucumbers. Then chop as coarsely as needed to fit your food processor or blender.
- Blend the cucumber chunks in batches to fit your food processor. Set the food processor to the highest setting with your blender blade, and blend the overripe cucumbers until they’re pulverized to mush. It took me about 1 minute of blending per batch.
- Open and cut your cheesecloth so that you have a two-ply layer about 1ft square, and lay it out over a large bowl. I used a 2 liter Pyrex measuring bowl. Pour the blended cucumber into the cheesecloth, taking care to contain the cucumber mass inside the cloth. If you need to, process the blended cucumber in batches.
- Twist and squeeze the cheese cloth over the bowl to extract the juices. You can press and squeeze the cloth as much as you want to extract juice. I was able to reduce 8 cucumbers into about 1-1.5 cups of dry matter after all the juice was extracted.
- Next pour the juice into ice cube trays and freeze. When solidified, drop the cubes into drinks and enjoy. 🙂