Cucumbers – Hints, Do’s and Do Not’s

As per our regular posting schedule, now is the time in which we talk about the little things to know and look for when dealing with cucumbers. Do with this information as you see fit.

  • There are several types of cucumbers, including the Common American Cucumber, Dutch Cucumber, gherkins, American Dill, Persian Cucumbers, and French cornichons. The gherkins, dills and cornichons are used almost exclusively for pickles.
  • American cucumbers are available year round (they transport well), but their peak time is July and August. Pickling cucumbers are available almost exclusively during the summer.
  • Choose Cucumbers with a good deep green color with no bruising. The better cucumber have a uniformity of shape, being long and *ahem* firm.
  • Yellow flesh on a cucumber means the cucumber is starting to deteriorate. They should be avoided. Any cucumbers with bruising should also be avoided.
  • Cucumbers that bulge in the middle, usually most likely means its filled with large watery seeds and tasteless flesh.
  • Wax is used to seal in the moisture of the cucumber. It is edible but still should be removed with vinegar, hot water, or lemon juice.
  • Always wash cucumbers before slicing. If the skin is thin and unwaxed, you do not need to peel the skin from the cucumber. If you taste the skin and it is bitter, peeling is suggested.
  • Smaller cucumbers are often less bitter than larger ones.
  • Bitterness in cucumbers can be caused by any stress on the plant such as high temperature, low moisture, low soil nutrients, etc. Bitterness is also associated with fruit harvested late in the season from poor yielding, unhealthy plants.
  • 1 medium common cucumber = 1 1/2 cups of chopped cucumber.
  • To seed a cucumber, slice in half lengthwise, , and scoop out seeds with a teaspoon.
  • Cucumbers go well with buttermilk, dill, mint, salmon, tarragon, scallions, onions, tomatoes, sour cream and yogurt.
  • Whole, unsliced cucumbers can last up to 10 days in the refrigerator (stored in a plastic bag). Sliced cucumbers can last 5 days.
  • Anyone allergic to pollen or aspirin should avoid eating cucumbers. They can cause an unpleasant mouth itch.

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