According to the Food and Drug Administration, many vegetables grow their own natural waxlike coating. However, this comes off after harvesting and cleaning. A wax coating is applied (which meets FDA food-additive regulations) to help retain moisture during transportation.
Most grocery stores either wax cucumbers or enclose them in plastic to help them retain their moisture and keep longer. Organic cucumbers are required to use non-synthetic waxes and only chemicals approved under organic guidelines. Unwaxed varieties can be found at some co-ops, natural food stores, and farmers markets.
Wax is most often applied to apples, cucumbers, lemons, limes, oranges, other citrus fruit, bell peppers, eggplant and potatoes, although other types of produce also could be coated. Since the coating is perfectly edible, there's no need to worry about removing it before eating.
Both conventionally grown and organically grown cucumbers may have been waxed. However, the only waxes that can be used on organically grown cucumbers are non-synthetic waxes, and these waxes must be free of all chemical contaminants that are prohibited under organic regulations.
A pickling variety of cucumber produces the best quality pickles. Do not use waxed cucumbers. The wax prevents the cucumber from absorbing the brine. Always remove 1/16 inch slice from the blossom end of vegetables, even though the blossom isn't there the blossom ends have enzymes that can cause softening.
' A table or slicing variety of cucumber is better used fresh. Select fresh, firm, unwaxed cucumbers. Quite often pickles purchased from a grocery store will have a wax finish — this will prevent the brine from penetrating and not properly curing to make a good pickle.
Your pickles will turn out crisp and you won't need to add firming agents. For a quick and easy way to help ensure crisp pickles: soak cucumbers in ice water for 4 to 5 hours before pickling. This is a safer method for making crisp pickles.
Cucumbers – Waxes and/or vegetable oil are commonly applied to reduce water loss (shriveling), decrease decay and to enhance their appearance.
The Dirty Dozen
For the EWG listing, strawberries are at the top of the “Dirty Dozen” category. They are followed by apples, nectarines, peaches, celery, and grapes. Making up the 2nd half of that list are cherries, spinach, tomatoes, sweet red peppers, cherry tomatoes, and cucumbers.
Cucumbers. Non-organic cucumbers were found to contain 69 types of pesticides in the 2013 EWG study. If you can't find organic, peel the cucumbers because the waxes that are used to make them shiny also tend to hold onto chemical treatments.
Powdery mildew, mainly caused by the fungus Podosphaera xanthii, infects all cucurbits, including muskmelons, squash, cucumbers, gourds, watermelons and pumpkins. Powdery mildew infections favor humid conditions with temperatures around 68-81° F. In warm, dry conditions, new spores form and easily spread the disease.
Rinse produce BEFORE you peel it, so dirt and bacteria aren't transferred from the knife onto the fruit or vegetable. Gently rub produce while holding under plain running water. There's no need to use soap or a produce wash. Use a clean vegetable brush to scrub firm produce, such as melons and cucumbers.
Bigger and thicker cucumbers have more seeds. Avoid buying cucumbers that have shriveled ends or blemishes.
They should be well developed, but not too large. Avoid very large cucumbers with a dull or yellow color. Shriveled or withered cucumbers are likely to be tough and bitter.
Clean fruits and vegetables before eating, cutting, or cooking, unless the package says the contents have been washed. Wash or scrub fruits and vegetables under running water—even if you do not plan to eat the peel. Germs on the peel or skin can get inside fruits and vegetables when you cut them.
If the cucumber has a milky, white sheen on the outside, it's a no-go. You should also inspect them for mold. Even if it looks like the mold is isolated to one spot, it is better to play it safe and just toss it in the trash. Dark spots can also be an indicator that your cucumber is no longer a viable snack option.
Regular cucumbers are in the top 10 for having high pesticide usage. They also may have synthetic waxes on the skin (to preserve moisture) that contain a number of pesticides. It is best to buy organic for this reason.
Produce can carry dangerous bacteria
Sometimes dirty produce can result in foodborne sickness. We have seen recent outbreaks of veggies with E. coli, Salmonella, and more,” Janette Nesheiwat, MD, says. “This can result in nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps, and fever, along with dehydration.”
American slicing cucumbers usually have an edible wax coating to prolong their shelf life and reduce moisture loss. But since English cucumbers are typically eaten with the skin on, the same wax coating is not applied. Instead, they are wrapped in shrink wrap to avoid moisture loss and to protect their extra-thin skin.
You can eat the peel of a cucumber. In fact, it will add fiber and vitamin A to your diet. Just be sure to wash the cucumber first. When you shop for cucumbers, skip ones that are yellow, puffy, or have sunk-in areas, bulges, or wrinkled ends.
If you choose to leave your cucumbers in water, in my experience, the cucumbers will start to go soft and get a little strange the following day. They're still edible and taste fine. If you leave them in for another day, the water may start to fog up which is not ideal.
Cucumber water is a very hydrating drink. It has many potential health benefits, including weight loss, lowering blood pressure, helping bone health, and improving skin health. It is simple to make, and people can enjoy it at any time.
Toss the cucumber coins with salt, then let them sit in a colander — we set ours in the sink — for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, rinse the cucumbers with cold water. Rinsing removes any excess salt so the salad won't be too salty.