After harvesting cucumbers, you need to properly care for and store them to maintain their freshness. Cucumbers begin to rot if they are left on the vines for too long. However, cucumbers that have been harvested and left to rest in less than ideal conditions will begin to rot even more quickly.
Cucumbers will begin to soften after harvesting, as the water from the fruit begins to evaporate. Without the additional water that the vine supplies to the cucumber, the cucumber itself will begin to soften as the water from the cells of the cucumber begins to evaporate. This is a natural process, and will happen regardless of the type of cucumber.
Proper storage of cucumbers will help slow down the decomposition process. Storing picked cucumbers in a humidity-controlled space that is kept at a cool temperature and a darkly lit space will help the cucumber stay crisper for a longer period of time. Many modern refrigerators have a crisper or vegetable drawer, which is an ideal place to store cucumbers. Another option is to store the cucumbers in a root cellar where the temperature is significantly cooler.
Cucumbers should be stored between 50 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit in order to ensure the longest shelf length possible for the vegetables. Too cold of a temperature can cause the delicate fruit to freeze. Too high of a temperature can cause a quicker pace of dehydration.
Another option for storing cucumbers before they go soft is to preserve the cucumbers soon after they have ripened. You can easily make refrigerator pickles by making a homemade brine of vinegar, spices, sugar and salt to keep slices of cucumbers in. If you would like to, you can also can the cucumbers to make homemade pickles. You can even do this with cucumbers that have already softened slightly.