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Cucumber

The hot days of summer are the best time to use and enjoy cucumbers. Mild in flavor, cool, crisp and crunchy, cucumbers are an essential ingredient in summer salads, condiments, chilled soups and even sandwiches. We are most familiar with the dark, green American slicing cucumber; however, there are other varieties, several of which are seasonal at this time of year, that serve to enhance the overall appeal of this particular vegetable.

Botanists believe that cucumbers are descendants of wild gourds found growing in the Himalayas. Cucumbers are found in pictures and carvings in India dating two centuries before Christ. Today the largest and most widely varied types of cucumbers are still found growing in India. The major types grown for fresh markets worldwide can be roughly divided into three kinds: pickling cucumbers; slicing cumbers, which include European greenhouse types as well as the American slicer and several Asian varieties; and, Mediterranean, or Middle Eastern, cucumbers.

Armenian Cucumber

Armenian Cucumber

A true summer heirloom variety, these cucumbers are also known as Snake Melons, because botanically they are more closely related to a melon than a cucumber.

Cucumber

Cucumber

Slicing cucumbers, or garden cucumbers, are 6-10 inches long with smooth, dark green skins with a crisp, crunchy texture and a mild, refreshing flavor.

Cucumber - Pickling

Cucumber - Pickling

Pickling cucumbers typically have thinner skins than the salad type, allowing for the vinegar, brine or other pickling solution to better penetrate the skin and flavor the meat. They are short and squat, instead of long and lean.

Cucumber, English

Cucumber, English

English cucumbers are 8-10 inches long with smooth, dark green skins, a crisp, crunchy texture and a mild, refreshing flavor.

Gherkin - West Indian

Gherkin - West Indian

West Indian Gherkins, aka Burr gherkins, do not have the same long, narrow shape as the better-known French gherkins, but instead are round and covered in edible dull "spikes," strongly resembling green burrs.

Lemon Cucumber

Lemon Cucumber

A baseball sized cucumber that has a lemony looking skin and shape.

Persian Cucumber

Persian Cucumber

Thin skin, lightly ridged, relatively small and straight.