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Cookbook | Recipes | Ingredients | Vegetables

The cucumber, also known as a cuke, is a green vegetable related to the squash and melon. Cucumbers are popular in salads and as pickles, and also find use in rolled sushi.

Varieties[edit | edit source]

  • Persian cucumbers or baby cucumbers are also known as regular cucumbers with soft, edible seeds. The skin is often waxed to seal in moisture. It is a small, tender cucumber with a smooth exterior, thin skin, and has very few seeds.
  • English cucumbers are sometimes known as gourmet cucumbers, burpless cucumbers, or seedless cucumbers. This variety has seeds that are very small but do not need to be removed. Longer and thinner than regular cucumbers, this variety is usually shrink-wrapped to seal in moisture because they are not waxed.
  • Pickling cucumbers are stubby and warty.
  • Lemon cucumbers are yellow and oval, like lemons.

Selection and Storage[edit | edit source]

It’s important to look for firm cucumbers with rich green color (except lemon cucumbers!) and no soft spots. Cucumbers that bulge in the middle tend to be filled with large watery seeds and tasteless flesh.

Whole cucumbers should be refrigerated in a crisper, and can be kept for up to a week. Unwaxed cucumbers will easily lose moisture, so keep them wrapped tightly in plastic.

Cooking[edit | edit source]

  • Persian cucumbers are usually eaten raw. The peel is thin and does not need to be removed. These are generally eaten whole, as a healthful snack, or sliced or chopped into a salad with other raw ingredients.
  • Pickling cucumbers generally have a thick, dark, waxed skin, which often is tough and has a bitter taste (depending upon growing conditions) when raw.
    • For eating raw: This is usually sliced into circles or half-moon shapes. Some people split the cucumber open and remove and discard the seeds. When the skin is bitter, most people peel the skin before slicing and eating. The skin may also be partially removed for decorative purposes, by scraping lines down the length of the cucumber with a fork or using a thin, sharp knife to remove thin stripes of the skin.
    • For pickling: Pickling cucumbers are generally cooked with the skin and seeds intact. The cucumber may be sliced or cut into wedges before pickling and canning.
    • For cooking: Cucumbers can be roasted or featured in cucumber soup.
  • English cucumbers are popular for making cucumber sandwiches and for making juice. Very thin slices of this cucumber may be quickly and easily produced by running a vegetable peeler to shave off slices.