Facebook LinkedIn Email Pinterest Twitter Instagram YouTube Icon Navigation Search Icon Main Search Icon Video Play Icon Plus Icon Minus Icon Check Icon Print Icon Note Icon Heart Icon Filled Heart Icon Single Arrow Icon Double Arrow Icon Hamburger Icon TV Icon Close Icon Sorted Hamburger/Search Icon
Ingredient

Cucumbers

Save to Recipe Box
Print
Add Private Note
Saved Add to List

    Add to List

Print
Add Recipe Note

What is it?

There are dozens of cucumber varieties, all of which can be used pretty much interchangeably. Here are some of the most common types available:

Picklers: Picklers (leftmost cucumber in photo) are short and blocky, with blunt ends and bumpy skins. Their firm texture makes them perfect for pickling, but you can use them raw as well.

Slicers: Slicers (middle cucumber in photo) are your basic, all-purpose cucumbers. They’re about 8 inches long with round ends and smooth to slightly knobby dark-green skin. The ones you buy at the supermarket are often waxed to protect them during shipping and to extend their shelf life. Scrub them well or peel before using.

English: Also known as greenhouse, European, or seedless cucumbers, English cucumbers (rightmost cucumber in photo) are 10 to 12 inches long and slender and are usually sold in plastic sleeves. With their thin skins, undeveloped seeds, and uniform shape, they are ideal for slicing into salads and garnishing appetizers.

Cucumbers’ mild, sweet flavor makes them a good match for almost anything. They’re great paired with onions, tomatoes, peppers, and any summery herb, as well as with fish and shellfish, chicken, pork, and lamb. Creamy dairy products like yogurt, cream cheese, sour cream, feta, and goat cheese give them richness and a welcome tang, while aromatics like capers, olives, garlic, lemon, and lime add a little punch.

How to choose:

Firmness is your best clue to freshness when shopping for cucumbers. Avoid limp or shriveled ones. Keep an eye out for fruits that seem slender for their size. This means they’re younger, so chances are they’ll have either undeveloped or fewer seeds.

How to prep:

Peeling and seeding are not always necessary. When prepping cucumbers, some cooks remove the seeds as a matter of course. But if they’re tiny and cling tight to the flesh, you can leave them. It’s only when they’re fully developed that they become intrusive and unpleasant to eat and should be removed. To do this, cut the cucumber in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds with a spoon or a melon baller.

Whether to peel cucumbers or not depends on how you intend to cut them. Most cucumbers have thick, tough skins, so if you’re cutting them in big chunks, it’s best to peel them. If you’re slicing them thinly, the skins are more palatable—and prettier—so you can leave them on. Cucumbers with naturally thin, tender skins, like the English variety, don’t need peeling.

How to store:

Store cucumbers in the crisper drawer, loose or in an open plastic bag, and use them within three or four days of buying. Kept longer, they’ll get slimy on the outside and mushy inside.

    Recipes

  • Orzo Salad
    Recipe

    Orzo with Cucumber, Tomatoes, and Feta

    This easy summer side dish is delicious served with lamb kebabs or any grilled fish, or pack it for a picnic to serve alongside fried or grilled chicken.

  • Mayan mezcalita
    Recipe

    Mayan Mezcalita

    The longer this cocktail sits, the more flavor it will have. Since you pour it over ice, you can make it hours ahead.

  • cucumber-basil margherita
    Recipe

    Cucumber-Basil Margherita

    A refreshing cucumber and basil simple syrup makes this margarita a go-to cocktail to enjoy with your favorite spicy Mexican dish. The recipe is easily doubled.

  • Recipe

    Curried Yogurt Potato Salad

    The picnic staple gets a fresh Indian spin with curried yogurt dressing, bright ginger, and crisp vegetables. Serve with grilled lamb chops or chicken kebabs.

  • snap pea burrata salad
    Recipe

    Burrata and Pea Salad with Pine Nuts and Basil

    This salad looks like springtime on a plate and tastes like it, too. Each bite includes something a little different: crisp, refreshing cucumber; crunchy nuts; creamy cheese; bright herbs; and,…

  • Recipe

    Shaved Cucumber Salad

    This bright, crisp, and refreshing salad pairs well with stir-fries or with seared steak or salmon.

  • Recipe

    Sweet and Spicy Tuna Tartines

    This elevated open-face tuna sandwich packs a ton of disparate flavors that come together for an incredible bite.

  • Recipe

    Korean-Style Burgers

    This burger gets loads of flavor from both what’s in it (kimchi, soy sauce, and ginger) and what’s on it: crisp, sweet-and-sour cucumbers and a slaw-sauce hybrid that gets a…

  • Recipe

    Fattoush-ish Bread Salad

    Crumbled feta, red onion, fresh mint, olives, and pita give this bread salad a Mediterranean feel.

  • Recipe

    Salmon Lox with Onion Jam and Avocado

    A traditional beet cure (also called gravlax) gives the salmon a beautiful jewel-toned gradation of color that adds a real wow factor when serving.

Comments

Leave a Comment

Comments

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Delicious Dish

Find the inspiration you crave for your love of cooking

Fine Cooking Magazine

Subscribe today
and save up to 44%

Already a subscriber? Log in.

Videos

View All

Moveable Feast Logo

Season 4 Extras

Santa Fe, NM (509)

Settled at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, Santa Fe, New Mexico is home to a culinary scene of mixed influences and Southwestern flavors and ingredients. In this episode of…

View all Moveable Feast recipes and video extras

Connect

Follow Fine Cooking on your favorite social networks