Knowing when to harvest lemon cucumbers is important. If you pick them earlier, the fruits may taste bad. On the contrary, leaving the overripe lemon cucumbers on the vines will make them rot.
But when are lemon cucumbers ready to pick? Read the following advice from gardening experts to enjoy this variety of cucumber variety’s best flavor and ripeness.
When To Harvest Lemon Cucumbers
When the lemon cucumbers start to turn from green to yellow and have the size of a lemon, it’s time to harvest them. The ripe fruits will have yellow glossy skin.
You shouldn’t pick the green citrus cucumbers because they will have tough skin and a bitter flavor.
They won’t fully develop their flavor and texture if you harvest green cucumbers. Allow them to mature on the vine until they are the right size and color.
The lemon cucumber vines grow fast with proper care. You can harvest lemon cucumbers as soon as 55-65 days after planting.
The harvesting period for lemon cucumbers may last until late summer. Because this lemon-sized, yellowish cucumber cultivar grows fast, you’d better check the ripe fruit daily.
Early in the morning is the best harvest time. The cooler climate will help hold the water in the fruits, giving them a more tender flavor.
The following gardening experts’ advice will tell you in detail when is a lemon cucumber ripe:
The Yellow Skin
How to tell when lemon cucumbers are ripe? Unlike regular cucumbers, when you see their skin start from green to lemon yellow, it’s time to pick lemon cucumbers.
If picked on time, these 2-inch cucumbers will have tender skin. Don’t let the fruit products overripe since they will become bitter fruit with rougher, and thicker skin.
The Size Of A Tennis Ball
What does a lemon cucumber look like? They’re round as lemons and have a protruding end where the yellow blooms appear.
Looking at the size is another way to know when to pick lemon cucumbers. The ripe fruits will be the size of a lemon or an egg and are smaller than a tennis ball.
You can pick the 1.5-inch lemon cucumbers for pickling. The bigger cucumbers are ideal for slicing.
The Mildly Sweet Flavor With Sour Undertone
Although its name is related to a citrus fruit, this healthy fruit doesn’t have a citrus flavor. It is not as sour as lemon, but it has a milder flavor with a sweet and sour undertone.
In addition, it has a very strong cucumber flavor. Pick and eat fruit to determine if they’re ripe before harvesting more lemon cucumbers.
The Firm Flesh With Seeds
Another way to check whether the fruits are ripe is to assess how firm the skin texture is. You may gently rub the skin of the lemon cucumber with your fingertips.
When the fruit is ripe, it has a significantly thicker and crisp skin. The peel of the fruit is flawlessly glossy with no soft spots.
The ripe fruits have luscious flesh. They have the same cucumber-like texture that we have known.
Its texture should be firm yet slightly giving, showing a lot of juice. Please don’t pick the fruits with wrinkled and withered skin since this texture indicates that they’re overripe or dehydrated.
The overripe lemon cucumbers will feel too mushy. The longer the fruit hangs on the vine, the more seeds the flesh has.
How To Harvest Lemon Cucumber
It’s easy to harvest lemon cucumber without using special tools. Follow the steps below:
Step 1: Check The Ripeness Of The Fruits
When are lemon cucumbers ripe? Look at the fruit’s size and color. If it is the size of smaller than a tennis ball and has lemon-yellow skin, it tells that the fruit is ripe.
Next, you can check the firmness of the fruits by pressing your finger on it. The ripe lemon cucumbers should feel firm yet slightly yielding.
The stem is another factor you need to check. An unripe lemon cucumber may have a thin, weak stem, while a mature lemon cucumber will have a well-developed stem.
After ensuring the fruits are ready to pick, let’s prepare the necessary tools.
Step 2: Prepare Tools
The best way to pick the yellow cucumbers is to cut the stem with pruning scissors or a sharp knife.
Using those tools, you can ensure that the plant won’t be overstressed and can produce more fruits during the growing season.
It would help if you also got a basket ready to keep the fresh lemon cucumbers you’ve already picked from becoming spoiled.
Step 3: Harvesting Lemon Cucumbers
After ensuring the fruits are ready to pick, get a clean, sharp pair of pruning clippers and cut the stem right above the lemon cucumber.
Don’t pull or twist lemon cucumbers from the vine, as this action might harm the plant.
You can grasp the fruit with one hand and use your dominant hand to cut the stem off the vine.
Catch the fruit with your hand while you do this to prevent it from falling to the ground and becoming damaged.
Put the picked fruit in your harvest basket. Continue to pluck the remaining fruits.
You should leave at least one fruit on the vine to let it rot. You can collect the seed for growing lemon cucumbers in the spring.
Step 4: Take Care of The Lemon Cucumbers For The Next Harvest
After the first harvest, you still need to take care of your plants because they will keep blooming. Lemon cucumbers like moist soil, so you need to give the plants appropriate water.
You can expect a new harvest after a couple of days. I recommend checking the fruits every day to pick the ripe ones.
A typical harvest period lasts from July to September. Thus, ensure to harvest all the fruit before it gets too cold.
Can I Wash Lemon Cucumbers Harvesting?
It would help if you didn’t eat the raw lemon cucumbers without washing them after harvesting. There may be dirt and pesticides on the skin of the fruit.
Use cold water to prevent losing the firmness of the fruit. Don’t soak the fruits in water for a long time because that may spoil the fruit.
You must wash the fruits under clean water flowing from the tap. After that, use a clean cloth or paper towel to pat them dry.
Can You Eat The Skin Of Lemon Cucumber?
You can eat the lemon cucumbers without peeling the skin. The glossy yellow skin will add an engaging look to your fresh salad.
You can also slice the fruits for pickling. The lemon cucumber also works well in juices, smoothies, and cold cucumber soup.
What Will Happen If I Don’t Pick A Lemon Cucumber On Time?
Don’t pick the lemon cucumber too early! The unripe lemon cucumbers don’t have a particular taste. They’re bland.
The fruits will taste better when they are smaller than a tennis ball. If you let them grow bigger, they will become too seedy.
You will see the skin color turns from glossy yellow to deep yellow. Although you can eat overripe lemon cucumbers, you should be ready for a harsh taste and tougher peel.
It’s not a good idea to eat raw overripe fruits. They’re good for boiling and slicing for salad.
If you keep leaving the ripe lemon cucumbers on the vines after their harvest time, they will ultimately rot. The plants will also stop blooming because they focus on nourishing the overripe fruits.
If the fruits rot, you can collect the seeds for the next planting. Choosing fruits from a healthy plant would be better to guarantee you have high-quality sources.
Let the fruits grow on the vines. Harvest the seeds and dry them before putting them in the refrigerator’s crisper drawer.
After that, you can plant the new lemon cucumbers in the spring when all danger of frost is past and the soil temperature reaches 65 °F.
How To Plant Lemon Cucumbers?
How to plant lemon cucumbers? It’s easy to grow lemon cucumbers by following the guide below:
- Put the seeds in the seed trays.
- Cover the seeds with moist soil.
- Irrigate the soil with plenty of water until the seeds germinate.
- Transfer the germinated plants into a place with rich, well-draining soil, good air circulation, and a lot of sunlight with a little light shade.
- Keep the planting distance around 4 or 5 feet between two plants.
- Make a sturdy trellis for the vines to grow.
- Irrigate the cucumber plants with one inch of water per week to moisten the soil.
- Add a layer of organic mulch to avoid drained soil and protect the plants from pests.
- The annual lemon cucumbers may reach 5 feet in height when they grow up with proper care with an all-purpose fertilizer.
- The lemon cucumber varieties tend to suffer from powdery mildew every year. You can solve the problem by using an organic spray to prevent the plant from being infected.
What Does A Mature Lemon Cucumber Look Like?
A mature lemon cucumber is smaller than a tennis ball. It has a glossy yellow skin with many hairs.
How Big Do Lemon Cucumbers Get?
A fruit of this actual cucumber cultivar can look like a 1.5-inch or 2-inch ball.
When Should I Eat Lemon Cucumbers?
It would help if you ate them when they are the size of 1.5 – 2 inches and have glossy yellow skin. The ripe lemon cucumbers have a sweet flavor with a little sour undertone.
Can You Eat Raw Lemon Cucumbers?
You can eat raw lemon cucumbers. Many recipes use sliced lemon cucumbers to make a cucumber salad of fresh greens, tofu, zucchini, and peas.
Another way to enjoy lemon cucumbers is to pickle them. You may also juice lemon cucumbers and mix them in smoothies, cocktails, and agua frescas.
Here is a instruction on how to make pickled lemon cucumbers:
In short, you can harvest lemon cucumbers when their skin starts to turn from green to yellow and have the size of a lemon.
Knowing when to harvest lemon cucumbers will allow you to enjoy the peak of freshness and sweet flavor.
The best time to pick lemon cucumbers is in the morning. At this time, the fruits are the most juicy and sweet.
The lemon cucumber harvesting season lasts from July to September. However, don’t leave the fruits on the vines until the end of the season.
The ripe lemon cucumbers will keep growing and end up rotting. We recommend picking the fruit every few days during harvesting.
So, when do you pick lemon cucumbers? Leave a comment to tell me your gardening tips!