FoodLink - Purdue Extension

cucumber


Cucumis sativus
Available from June to September

Types

There are several types of cucumber.

Armenian: Long, thin, crunchy cucumbers with soft seeds. No peeling or seeding necessary.

English or Greenhouse (hothouse): Dark green and thin skin, long, and thin. Has a very mild flavor and soft seeds. Usually sold individually wrapped in plastic in stores.

Garden or Slicing: This is the most common type found in North America. It has smooth, dark green skin and large seeds. They are usually sold with waxed skin to preserve water, so peeling is common. Removing the seeds also is common. 

Kirby: Short, yellowish-green, and bumpy. Crunchy and great flavor for pickling.

Lemon: Yellow, round, and sweet, with thin skin and minimal seeds. 

Persian: These look exactly like English cucumbers, except these come in many different sizes and different skin texture.  

Pickling: Short, blocky, and crunchy. Good for pickling or fresh in salads.

Preparation

Cucumbers can be eaten raw, and prepared with or without seeds and skin.

Learn how to peel, cut, and de-seed cucumbers.

To Peel: Use a knife or vegetable peeler to remove the skin.

To De-seed: Cut cucumber in half lenghtwise, then use a spoon or knife to scoop out the seeds from each half. You can also quarter larger cucumbers before removing the seeds.

To Slice Peel and de-seed cucumber as desired. Lay the cucumber flat on a cutting board, and cut into slices or chunks.

Note: Sometimes cucumbers are bitter. Bitterness is stronger at the stem end of the cucumber. The chemicals that cause bitterness (and the “burp”), Cucurbitacin B and Cucurbitacin C, are found in and under the skin, so peeling the cucumber may improve flavor.

Storage

Short-Term Storage

Cucumbers can be placed in a plastic bag and refrigerated for up to one week.

Long-Term Storage

Cucumbers are great for canning and pickling.

Learn how to make quick pickles.

Learn more about pickling cucumbers.

Learn more about fermenting cucumbers for traditional pickles.

Pinterest Recipes

Quick Fact

Cucumbers are 90 percent water.

Nutrition Information

Serving Size

1/2 cup 

 

 

 

 

Nutrients

Amount

% Daily Value

Total Calories

8

 

Protein

0g

 

Carbohydrates

2g

1

Dietary Fiber

0g

 1

Total Sugars

1g

 

Total Fat

0g

 0

Saturated Fat

0g

 0

Cholesterol

0mg

 0

 

 

 

Minerals

 

 

Calcium

 

 0

Sodium

1 mg

 0

Iron

 

 1

 

 

 

Vitamins

 

 

Vitamin A

   1

Vitamin C

   2

 

 

 

 

 

 

Food Safety Tips

Always keep fresh produce away from raw meat and raw meat juices to avoid cross-contamination.

Follow the safe food guidelines for all fresh produce.

Related Resources

The vegetables in the Cucurbit family — cucumbers, all squashes, and melons —  are almost all large, vining, sprawling plants. Don’t underestimate the space they will take in your garden. You can still grow these in a small garden, though, by selecting bush or dwarf varieties or training the vines on a vertical support.

Plant seeds 0.5-1 inch deep. Final spacing should be 12-24 inches apart in rows a minimum of 4 feet apart. For hill planting, there should be 3 plants in hills spaced at least 3 feet apart. Plants on vertical supports should be 12 inches apart, and the supports at least 2.5 feet apart.

  • The first fruit produced by bush cucumbers is ready to harvest in about 50 days, vining varieties in about 60 days.
  • Cucumber fruit grows quickly once pollination occurs. Cucumbers for pickling are usually harvested when 2 inches long, about 4-5 days after pollination. Slicing cucumbers are harvested when 6-8 inches long, about 15-18 days after pollination. Burpless cucumbers should be 1-1.5 inches in diameter and no more than 10 inches long. Some varieties will get much larger if not harvested. Make
    sure to harvest regularly, removing any large fruits you missed, so flowering will continue.

If pests are controlled, cucumber plants will continue to produce all summer. Estimated yield per 10 feet row is 10 pounds.

Bitterness is usually associated with environmental factors, occurring when plants are stressed by low moisture, high temperatures, or poor nutrition. Some varieties have more tendency toward bitterness than others. Once environmental conditions improve, newly formed cucumbers will be less bitter. If it is a continuing problem in your garden, try varieties advertised as burpless or bitter-free.

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