Mary's Veggie Garden

September 14, 2012

Why are My Cucumbers Yellow?

Filed under: Cucumbers,Gardening,Vegetables — marysveggiegarden @ 7:19 am

I found this yellow cucumber lurking under a leaf. It reminded me of this article I wrote for Dutchess Dirt last year.

Why are my cucumbers yellow?

Salt & Pepper cucumbers: top overly mature; bottom harvested at the correct time.

Cucumbers yellow as they mature. The most likely reason for finding yellow cucumbers in your garden is that you missed them during previous harvests. A mature, yellow cucumber will have a thick, tough skin that is quite bitter and seeds like cardboard. Mature fruit on a plant may prevent it from setting any new fruit as it puts all its energy into maturing seeds.

The cucumbers in the photo are a variety called Salt & Pepper developed by Cornell and sold by Johnnys. Salt&Pepper is a white skinned, pickling cucumber. Last year I harvested a big basket from the Edible Landscape at the Farm& Home center. The cucumber patch had not been harvested in two weeks, so there were many cucumbers ranging from slender, tender white skinned babies to glowing yellow zeppelins. I also found some rodent damage to cucumbers laying on the ground; we are guessing voles did it. Rodents are a good reason to grow the cucumbers on a tall trellis.

What do you do with yellow cucumbers? Pick them, and hope the plant will resume producing fruit. I was going to throw them in the compost but was stopped by several other Master Gardeners. They wanted the fruit for Yellow Cucumber Pickles and Cold Cucumber Soup. Both recipes call for peeled cucumbers with the seeds removed. Find the recipes on the internet.

Green cucumbers also yellow as they mature. Eventually I’ll find one in my garden and get its picture.


  1. You can use your yellow cucumber in a stir-fry.

    Comment by Norma Chang — September 15, 2012 @ 8:09 pm | Reply

  2. This is all wrong the picture shows sweet cucumber which are from Mexico they are very sweet

    Comment by Chris — May 22, 2017 @ 1:37 pm | Reply

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