My friend’s mother makes the most incredible, crisp, spicy, pickles I’ve ever tasted. She can pretty much make them in her sleep, as she has 40 years of experience, but even so, she has had her share of problems when pickling. Read on for cucumber hollow heart info.
What Causes Hollow Heart in Cucumber Fruit?
Hollow fruit, like a cucumber hollow in middle, is a common issue. While edible in theory, if cucumbers are hollow inside, they may be slightly bitter and certainly won’t win any blue ribbons. Hollow cucumbers, or any hollow fruit, result from a combination of lacking nutrient absorption or surplus, irregular watering and/or inadequate pollination.
Environmental conditions are the most likely cause for a cucumber that is hollow inside. Cucumbers prefer consistently moist conditions in the garden for optimal growth. If you’re experiencing a period of drought or you just haven’t been keeping up on the watering, this could very well be the reason for a cucumber hollow in the middle.
A surplus of nitrogen in the soil or low boron levels may result in hollow cucumbers. Too much nitrogen may make the fruit grow too rapidly, not allowing the interior of the cuke to keep up with the growth of the exterior. Reduce the amount of fertilizer being used to combat the issue of a cucumber with a hollow heart.
Inadequate pollination can lead to a cucumber that is hollow in the middle. A hollow cucumber is a vacant seed cavity that is the result of a lack of seed formation traced back to inadequate pollination. This may be aggravated by rapid fluctuations in environmental conditions that affect fruit development, such as hot, dry weather, which may lead to irregular irrigation. Hot, dry weather reduces pollen viability and may scorch flower parts during pollination and is one of the factors, along with potential inadequate pollen transfer by pollinators and inadequate pollen sources, that can create hollow cucumbers.
Final Words on Cucumber Hollow Heart
Genetics also plays a part in cucumbers that are hollow in the middle. There are some varieties that are less prone to this issue than others, so be sure to read the descriptions on seed packets or in seed catalogs. Then follow the directions regarding plant spacing and maintain an adequate irrigation schedule.
Lastly, if you are making pickles and you end up with hollow cucumbers, lingering between the picking of cukes and pickling them may be the cause. Use your cucumbers within 24 hours of picking, if possible, or refrigerate them until pickling time. To check for hollow cucumbers, look for those that float when washing.
- If you experience problems with hollow pickles, the most common cause is too much time between gathering and pickling. Start processing as soon as possible after picking - preferably within 24 hours. If you cannot begin pickling immediately, refrigerate or spread out the cucumbers in a cool place with good air circulation.
- Another cause is using poorly developed cucumbers. Check cucumbers during washing. Hollow cucumbers usually float on top. Use hollow cucumbers for relish or chunk-type pickles.
- In fermented or crock pickles, the most common reason for hollow pickles is improper curing. Use proper brine strength and keep the product well-covered.
- If the cucumber is too large, over 2 inches across, the pickling solution is not able to penetrate the core properly. Use smaller cucumbers for pickling.
My tomatoes are hollow inside.
I grew big boy, better boy, and plum tomatoes in my home garden this year. At first they were ok. juicy inside. Now every tomato I pick is hollow inside. The plant itself appears healthy. The fruit that I pick appears healthy on the outside but when I cut the tomatoes they are dry and hollow inside like a pepper. The seeds are there and are surrounded by a gelatinous red substance. I am from NJ where we are known for our tomatoes but mine are not NJ tomatoes to be proud of. :-(.
I also had cucumbers and squash that I planted. I had cucumber Beatles..both the spotted and striped Beatles. I tried sprays etc but could not get rid of them. My cucumbers were initially good as was the squash but then became stunted , rotted and because of the color I believe that the plants were eventually infested with mosaic virus. I had to pull all of the plants.
Does anyone have any idea of the problems with my tomatoes? Could it be the mosaic virus attacked my tomatoes?
Solutions to Growing a Healthy Cucumbers
Ideally, when you grow healthy cucumbers, they should be green and about 6 to 12 inches long.
Below are some solutions to the problem we listed above:
Pollination: Pollination issues can be solved by hand pollinating. Identify the male and female flowers on your plant. Pick the male flower and put the pollen grains in the middle female flower. Simple as that. For better clarity check out the video below.
Watering: When it comes to watering your cucumber plants, you want to water moderately. Cucumber plants should be watered often but not too much.
Virus: The appropriate solution to the mosaic virus is to eliminate and destroy any plants that are exhibiting signs of the virus. You should also monitor the rest of the cucumber plants in your garden and act fast when they develop any symptoms of the virus. There are also some mosaic-resistant cucumber varieties. So we suggest you go for these varieties when picking the type of cucumbers to plant.
With that said, I hope this article was useful to you. If you have any questions, kindly leave a comment and we will give you a response.
Drought or lack of water will cause the center of cucumbers to be hollow. Hollow cucumbers will float rather than sink. You can use these cucumbers to make relish. Cucumbers want consistent, even moisture from flowering to harvest.
Here is a link that might be useful: HarvestToTable.com
Some of mine had holes in them as well. I assumed it was a watering issue. They tasted fine and the boy liked that they looked like they had faces. Since then, I've had no problems.
Here is a link that might be useful: The Corner Yard