When it comes to produce, you are often limited by your ability to make the best selection. As long as you choose a fresh, juicy cucumber, you’re good to go. Nobody loves to bite into a limp, dry or bitter cuke, but what can you do? Often, it’s the luck of the draw.
TikTok To The Rescue
In this now-viral TikTok video, @basicallyperkfect shows how she “milks” cucumbers to make them taste better. In a hack she learned from her sister-in-law (who learned from her husband ‘s southern grandfather), she rubs the sliced-off tip of a cuke in a circular motion over the end. As she does, you can see a foamy, milky substance appear.
“I don’t know if you’ve ever had a cucumber that’s a little bit bitter, it just doesn’t taste fresh,” she states. “That’s because you have to milk your cucumbers.”
@basicallyperkfectmilking a cucumber?##healthheroes ##kitchenhacks ##cucumber ##fyp♬ original sound – basicallyperkfect
The Science Behind Cucumber Milking
Cucumbers contain an organic compound called cucurbitacin. The more cucurbitacin a cucumber has, the more bitter it will taste. Most of the cucurbitacin is in the leaves, stems and roots of plants such as cucumbers and squash, but it can spread to the fruit. Rubbing the sliced end against a cucumber seems to help release cucurbitacin and decrease bitterness.
Another option is to peel the cuke since cucurbitacin is more likely to be found in the peel and just beneath it. James M. Stephens, vegetable crops professor at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, recommends using a particular method to eradicate bitterness without spreading the compound through the cucumber.
Start at the blossom end of the fruit, opposite of the stem. Slice toward the stem end, stopping about an inch from the stem. Wash off the knife between each slice and repeat, peeling from blossom to stem end until finished.
The next time you serve cucumbers, why not try milking them first?