Kinds of Cukes

Cucumbers are one of those vegetables I used to buy without thinking about it and I ate them that way excessively. They were equitable there. Cucumbers. I put them in salads. But that changed when I was the chef at Greens. The head farmer at our farm started growing different varieties of cucumbers, ones that I, and our customers, had never seen before. I ’ d make a salad with five varieties on a plate so that people could taste the differences. I can ’ t honestly say that the relish distinctions are huge although they are clearly stage, but shapes, flesh and skin colors, texture and sow cavities do differ significantly. Most importantly, these cucumbers were nothing like the common varieties we all knew. They tasted like something, albeit a insidious something. They had a crunch and a snap bean and a subtle perfumed relish, sometimes a trace of citrus, even a bouquet compared to those many of us have settled for that are watery, and pretty much tasteless and scentless with inedible waxed skins. The standard american grocery store cucumbers were bred to have thick skins to protect the cucumber during shipping ( most cucumbers have far thinner, more affectionate and edible skins ) and were bred to be undifferentiated and straight, a a lot easier class to pack and ship than a curvy snake-like cucumber .

Striped Armenian. Photo courtesy of Johnny ‘s Selected Seeds.
Farmers ‘ markets, CSAs and co-ops have brought cucumber awareness up a few notches by offering the interesting varieties of vegetables farmers like to grow, though they ‘re often not marked with their names ( a frustration of mine ). Since I ’ ve had a garden I ’ ve become much more aware of the names of cucumbers and all other vegetables for this dim-witted argue : when you regulate seeds, you have to choose one kind over another, and for that you need a name. Come January I ’ m looking at a catalog wondering if Boothby ’ second Blonde would be a good choice, or possibly an armenian cucumber ? possibly a Kirby would be good since they can be pickled or eaten in salads .
Despite all the names ( or lack of them ) a well station to begin is to know that are two basic types : slit cucumbers ( or salad cucumbers ) and pickling cucumbers. Slicers are broadly smooth skinned while pickling cucumbers are verrucose and rough. “ Burpless ” cucumbers, sometimes listed as a third base type, are cucumbers that were bred so as not to cause pot upsets that result in belch. But these qualities much overlap in a single yield ( yes, the cucumber is a fruit ) – which means it ’ s possible to have a cucumber that can be enjoyed raw, pickled, and without belch.

Reading: Kinds of Cukes

once you look beyond the coarse cucumber, you ’ ll find that there are some quite fantastic cucumbers out there that are a lot more amusing ( and flavorful ), and I do like a little humor in my food. They may not be listed by varietal name, but there are some basic types you can learn to recognize, Oriental, Armenian, and Persian, to name the three biggest groups ( cucumbers tend to be grouped from where they ’ re from geographically ) .

Asian cucumbers


Japanese Climbing. Photo courtesy of Seed Savers Exchange.
asian cucumbers, by and large with japanese names, tend to be hanker and lissome with green flesh. Unless they ’ rhenium grown on a trellis where gravity can do its problem, they tend to bend and curve, which I find irresistible. I take them home plate and want to pile them in a bowling ball where they look like giant green creatures, but unless I ’ thousand rich in cucumbers, I don ’ thymine, because they don ’ t truly want to sit out in the heat. They cursorily lose their moisture and turn soft. asian cucumbers may have some minor jutting bumps or spines on them. Just brush or rub them off but leave the skin, which is thinly and contributes to their taste .

Armenial cucumbers


Armenian. Photo courtesy of Seed Savers Exchange.
Another delightful cucumber that ’ s actually, botanically, a melon is the armenian cucumber, besides called a snake melon. This large smasher has pale k hide and unaccented colored flesh. When mature, the fruit becomes thick in the middle than at the ends and curves lightly. The thin skin is corrugated, which means that when sliced, the rounds have beautiful scallop edges. There ’ mho no need to peel armenian cucumbers. They have relatively dry pulp which means they final longer in the refrigerator and are good eat bleak or pickled. They can get quite big, but even when they do, their seed cavities are smaller than those of other varieties. The armenian cucumber is ideal for a slice cucumber salad strew with clean herbs such as dill, tarragon, basil, and lovage ( all cucumbers are so meek they can actually go with any fresh herb in temper ). They besides make a very capture open-faced cucumber sandwich, which I pair with lovage leaves and lovage butter .

Persian cucumbers


Cucino ( Persian ). Photo courtesy of Harris Seeds.
What I ’ ve grown to appreciate about cucumbers is something that they ’ re known for—their wetness. They ’ re by and large body of water, after all, even the drier-fleshed armenian, but because of this they are sincerely bracing, particularly in hot weather. If it ’ s closely 100° ( in New Mexico, where I live ), by lunch, some hanker wedges of cucumbers will be on my plate for certain, or I might puree a cucumber with buttermilk or yogurt and herbs have it as a smoothie. People from hot countries —India, the Middle East, North Africa – are capital appreciators of cucumbers because they are so thirst-quenching. So not amazingly, among the most appeal cucumbers are varieties from the Middle East. They are broadly small ( 4 to 5 inches in distance ), narrow, have thin, tender skins, and ( relatively ) dry flesh. These are sometimes sold as irani cucumbers, and have names like Amira, Jordan, Kidma, and more prosaically, Tenderfresh and Muncher. indeed, you can munch on them ampere well as you might eat a carrot or an apple. These are identical exceeding cucumbers – cover girl taste, not large—and I jump to buy them when I see them.

Read more: Hunger and Appetite

Other cucumber varieties

There are early cucumbers, excessively, that don ’ thyroxine meet into these categories .
The smallest cucumber, is the sour Mexican gherkin, a bite sized fruit that looks like a miniature watermelon. ( Seeds are available from Baker Creek. ) These are promptly becoming the new darlings for chef probably because they look so capture, posing on their plates like little gems. I ’ ve not had one however so I can ’ t tell you how they taste. But I ’ molarity guess we ’ ll begin seeing them, if not this summer, then next, as farmers figure out that this might be a bang-up raw item to grow .
Bright yellow Lemon Cucumbers abound in farmers markets and have for years. They aren ’ triiodothyronine a strange to co-ops, either. It ’ s their looks that grab me, their human body ( like a bombastic lemon ) and bright yellow skin. They ’ re precisely the most cheerful looking item and they reasonably beg to be included in a plate of summer vegetables. Their skin is slurred and rough which suggests they ’ re a better pickling cucumber than a slicing one, but smaller ones are frequently placid, the skins more offer, the seeds less develop. Put them out as a summer crudités and let people eat around the skins ( if the skins are tough ), is my advice, or put them out, in wedges, with a knife. In addition to the jaundiced lemon varieties, there ’ s a flannel lemon cucumber called Crystal Apple. In fact, there are a count of ashen cucumbers—White wonder, Grosso Bianco Crema, and Boothby ’ s Blonde. Any semen catalogue will list some flannel varieties, which are much heirloom. There ’ mho even an indian heirloom that has dark orange and brown university skin from Seed Savers Exchange. I plan to try it adjacent year .

White Wonder ( left ), True Lemon ( middle ), Poona Kheera ( right ). Photos courtesy of Seed Savers Exchange .
Pickling cucumbers much have the word “ pickle ” in their appoint, such as Bush Pickle, Chicago Pickling, Picklebush, Japanese Long Pickling and the like. But the best know, the Kirby, can actually go either manner and lacks the nickname “ pickle. ”. Similarly cucumbers that become cornichons, those little french pickles, are called, not surprisingly, Cornichons .
Although cucumbers can be cooked, I tend to favor them naked. In addition to eating them out of hand, I like to puree them — skins, seeds and all — with yogurt and handful of herb to make a chill soup. I like to chunk them and strew them over a lentil, farro, or quinoa salad. I use them in a raita to serve with vegetable curries. Of course they go into a green salad, or on bread with herb butter for an appetizer. An antique dish I like is a cucumber mousse with dark cream and horseradish and cucumbers are effective with fume fish, excessively. As constantly, nutrients reside in the skin then if it isn ’ thymine sturdy, barbed, verrucose or wax, leave it on.

If you want to cook cucumbers, it helps to toss the cut pieces with strategic arms limitation talks first and letting them stand for a half-hour or then. The salt draws out a bunch of that water and leaves the pieces firmer and in better condition for cooking. How ? In a stir-fry, saute and served with butter or an herb-dense yogurt sauce, with mollusk .
however you choose to eat them, I encourage you to seek out the many varieties of cucumbers available and enjoy their singular and refresh qualities — I know I ‘ll be eating vitamin a many as I can get my hands on .
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