It's said that cutting off the end of a cucumber and rubbing it at the incision makes the cucumber less bitter. It would be very surprising to me if rubbing just one end of the cucumber could alter the taste of the entire vegetable—is there any evidence of this?

For example, this website states that you can remove bitterness by rubbing the ends of a cucumber.

Lifehacker states:

Cucumbers are a healthy snack, but they often have a bitter taste. You can get rid of this bitterness by thinly slicing off both ends and rubbing one piece against the cucumber.


2 Answers 2


Probably not

this link explains the source of bitterness and how it is distributed in a cucumber:

A natural organic compound called cucurbitacin is the culprit, according to Oregon State University vegetable breeder Jim Myers.

The bitter compound is likely to be more concentrated in the stem end than in the blossom end of the cucumber. It is also more prevalent in the peel and in the light green area just beneath the peel – and less likely to be found in the deeper interior of the fruit.

and then suggest peeling and cutting the edges, using a clean knife- no rubbing is needed.

The rubbing myth probably comes from the cucumbers foaming when rubbed, which might have led to doing a false 1+1- removing the ends of the cucumber is enough, you don't need to rub it.


I read a quit satisfying answer on reddit. This bitter compound is called cucurbitacin and it can be found in the skin of cucumber. This skin has microscopic tunnels for liquids to flow through. When you put the ends together, you create a seal between the flat parts. When you slide them, water tension causes the fluid to stick to itself and to the cucumber solid. This pulls a tiny bit of fluid out of the capillary, which sucks against the rest of the fluid in the capillaries like sucking through a straw. It is the same effect a tree uses to get water from the roots up to the leaves.

  • Welcome to skeptics. Interesting answer which certainly may have some basis in fact, but which doesn't fit within the rules of the site I'm affraid. We require linked citations from peer reviewed papers usually. If you can, then edit your question to provide valid references. Please take the tour and read-up in the help center about how we work. Enjoy the site. Apr 3, 2020 at 19:29
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    Apr 3, 2020 at 19:55

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