Pick off male cucumber flowers once a week to avoid your cucumbers turning bitter. Most greenhouse cucumber plants produce both male and female flowers – it’s easy to tell the difference as male flowers have simple stalks while female flowers have miniature fruits forming behind the petals.
To avoid a bitter tasting Cucumber, pick off male flowers once a week
If you allow the male flowers to develop and pollinate the female flowers, the fruits that develop will leave you with a nasty aftertaste as the seeds contain a bitter compound called cucurbitacin. So make it a regular job to remove male flowers and keep your fruits seed-free and sweet.
You can avoid the job altogether by choosing modern F1 varieties bred to produce only female flowers, like ‘Carmen’ or ‘Tiffany’. They may cost a little more but they’ll save you a lot of trouble. Avoid mixing them with other cucumber varieties though, or they’ll cross-pollinate and undo your hard work.
Outdoor Cucumbers are fine!
You don’t need to pick off male flowers from outdoor cucumbers, which need to cross-pollinate in order to develop fruit. If these taste bitter, it’s probably down to stress: sudden changes in temperature, erratic watering and lack of feed all turn outdoor cucumbers bitter and occasionally affect indoor ones, too, so keep conditions as even as possible throughout the season.