Types of Cucumbers: Varieties from Around the World (Including Pictures)

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Varieties of Cucumbers
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Cucumbers are a delicious and refreshing type of vegetable that are great eating fresh or pickled. Varieties of cucumbers that you eat fresh are classed as slicing cucumbers and cucumbers with thick bumpy skins are better for pickling. Different kinds of cucumbers are also classed depending on whether they grow on vines or bushes.

Cucumbers also come in a variety of lengths depending on the cultivar. Some varieties of cucumbers are long and thin, whereas other are short and plump. For example, the English cucumber is a type of slicing cucumber which is long and green with thin skin and grows well in greenhouses. Kirby cucumbers are a shorter type of cucumber that have crunchy bumpy skins and are good for eating fresh or in pickling.

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You can also grow your own cucumbers even if you have limited space. For example, varieties of bush cucumbers grow well in containers and don’t take up much space. If you have a larger vegetable garden, then you can get a bigger yield if you plant vine cucumber varieties.

In this article, you will learn about the many different types of cucumbers that you can eat. You will find out about the best kinds of cucumbers for salads, pickles, salsa, eating fresh, as well as how to make delicious flavored water. You will also find out about burpless types of cucumbers.

Types of Cucumbers (With Pictures and Names)

You may be surprised to know that botanically cucumbers (Cucumis sativus) are actually a type of fruit. These long green “fruits” are a member of the Cucurbitaceae family that include watermelons, pumpkin, and zucchini. There are nearly 100 varieties of cucumbers grown in most countries in the world.

Since cucumbers are generally used as a type of fresh or pickled vegetable in the culinary world, we will refer to them as such in this article.

Let’s learn more about different varieties of this long green cylindrical vegetable that is available all year long to eat.

Persian Cucumber

Persian cucumbers

Persian cucumber is a type of slicing cucumber which is great when eaten fresh

The Persian cucumber is a small type of cucumber with smooth skin and very few seeds. Compared to the English cucumber, the Persian cucumber is shorter, but still good for eating fresh.

This burpless (meaning that it doesn’t have a bumpy skin) cucumber variety is a great slicing cucumber. The lack of burps and seeds means that it doesn’t have the bitter taste that you get from some other cucumbers. Because of that, Persian cucumbers are among some of the most popular types of cucumber consumed due to their fresh taste.

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The flesh of Persian cucumbers is crunchy and firm, making it excellent for salads or slicing into spears to eat with a dip. These short sturdy cucumbers also hold up well if using them in stir-fries or for pickling.

English Cucumber

telegraph cucumber

The English cucumber is a type of long cucumber

Another example of a burpless cucumber is the long, slender English cucumber with smooth dark-green shiny skin.

Compared to many other different types of cucumbers, the English cucumber is a sweet variety. It contains tiny seeds that prevent the light crunchy flesh from tasting bitter. The thin skin and long length make the English cucumber one of the best types of slicing cucumbers.

Unlike Persian cucumbers, the English varieties grow much longer and can reach between 1 and 2 ft. (30 – 60 cm) in length. This is about double the length of a fully ripened Persian cucumber. Apart from its length, English cucumbers differ from the Persian type as it has ridges running the length of its skin.

The English cucumber is a great choice to eat raw, slice up in sandwiches, chop up to add a crunch to salads or put slices in water to make cucumber water. Its mild taste won’t overpower other flavors when used fresh in recipes.

A type of cucumber similar to the English cultivar is the Telegraph Cucumber. This cucumber is a seedless type of cucumber that has great flavor and thin green edible skin. Similar to English cucumber, the Telegraph cucumber grows well in greenhouses or outdoors.

Lebanese Cucumbers

Lebanese cucumber

Lebanese cucumber is a shorter type of cucumber and is a good choice for slicing or pickling

Lebanese cucumbers are another type of burpless cucumber plant that has thin green skin and a sweet taste.

Similar to English cucumbers, plump Lebanese cucumber are a seedless variety of cucumber. However, they are not as long as the English varieties. Lebanese cucumbers are crunchy and tasty and are a good choice for slicing or pickling.

American (Garden) Cucumber

Garden cucumbers are a short plump type of burpless cucumber that is commonly sold in North America.

One of the things you will notice about these common garden cucumbers is their thick skin. Usually, these types of cucumber sold in stores have waxed skins to help keep them fresh. Also, the large number of big seeds in this stumpy kind of cucumber can give the vegetable a bitter taste.

So, if you decide to eat this crunchy vegetable fresh, it is best to peel it and remove all the seeds. A peeled, de-seeded garden cucumber is a great slicing cucumber that goes well in most salads or used as a side dish.

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Kirby Cucumber

kirby cucumber

kirby cucumber is a short type of cucumber which is great for pickling

If you want a great pickling cucumber that holds its crunch well, then Kirby cucumbers are a great choice.

There are a number of reasons why Kirbys make delicious pickled cucumbers. First, the Kirby cucumber has tough bumpy skin that remains crunchy in pickling liquid. Also, their tough flesh retains its firmness in brine or pickling vinegar.

So, when biting into a pickled Kirby cucumber, you get a definite crunch without any mush. The short length of Kirby pickling cucumbers also means that they usually fit into a jar without having to cut them in half.

Gherkins

gherkins

Cucumis anguria is a type of Gherkin with spiky skin

cucamelon

Cucamelons (“Mexican sour gherkin”) are also used for pickling

Gherkins are an unusual type of small cucumber that have spiky skin, such as Cucumis anguria, and a crunchy texture. Another type of gherkin is the Mexican sour gherkin (also called cucamelon) which has a smooth skin.

These vine-growing cucumbers produce oval-shaped fruits that may only be 1.5” (4 cm) in length. The tiny cucumbers pack a strong taste that can also be fairly sour.

This type of cucumber shouldn’t be confused with the term gherkins that is commonly used in English-speaking countries for pickled cucumbers. In some countries, gherkins refer to any type of small or baby cucumber that has been pickled.

Mexican Sour Gherkins

Mexican Sour Gherkins are one of the tiniest species in the Cucurbitaceae family you will come across.

These small grape-sized fruits are actually related to cucumbers, but not from the genus Cucumis. The botanical name for Mexican Sour gherkins is Melothria scabra. They are also called cucamelon, mouse melon, or Mexican sour cucumber.

The unusual thing about Mexican sour cucumbers is that they are fruits that look like tiny watermelons but taste like cucumbers. You can eat Mexican sour gherkin fresh, straight off the vine. Or, you can chop them up to add to salads in the place of cucumbers. You can also create a refreshing salsa by using cucamelons in places of tomatoes.

These gherkins are also great for pickling as they require very little preparation and they stay firm.

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Armenian Cucumber

Armenian cucumber

Armenian cucumber is a long thin cucumber with smooth (burpless) skin

Armenian cucumbers grow on vines and are good slicing cucumbers that are delicious when consumed fresh.

This type of cucumber is also called a snake cucumber due to its long length and curled shape. Armenian cucumbers have dark green skin when it is growing. However, as it ripens, it takes on a lighter, more yellow appearance. The long thin cucumber has smooth (burpless) skin with pronounced ridges and pale green stripes on it.

This type of cucumber is best consumed when it has ripened to about 12” (30 cm) in length.

While this cucumber grows on the ground, you can also use it as a climbing variety of cucumber. The long vines can grow up trellises where it makes it very easy to pick the long, twisted fruits.

The botanical name for Armenian cucumbers is Cucumis melo var. flexuosus which means it’s more closely related to the muskmelon than the common cucumber.

You can eat Armenian cucumbers fresh in leaf salads or in sandwiches. You can also eat them pickled or grilled.

Japanese Cucumbers (Kyuri)

Japanese cucumber

Japanese cucumber is a type of long cucumber with slightly bumpy skin

Kyuri or Japanese cucumbers are among the best climbing cucumbers that produce long narrow sweet fruits.

Like most good slicing varieties of cucumbers, this Japanese variety has dark-green skin that is fairly thin. The sweetness of this cucumber comes from the fact there are very few seeds in it. Unlike other slicers which have smooth skin, Japanese cucumbers have slightly bumpy skin.

Another interesting feature of Japanese cucumbers is that they retain their sweetness even though they grow very long. Even when these cucumbers reach 2 ft. (60 cm) in length, they still retain their delightful taste.

You can use these narrow green cucumbers fresh in salads, sliced in sandwiches, or pickled.

Korean Cucumbers

Korean cucumber

Korean cucumbers have slightly bumpy skin

Another type of cucumber to originate from Asia is the Korean cucumber that is a very crunchy sweet cucumber.

Korean cucumbers are a good all-around vegetable that are just as tasty sliced as they are pickled. Their sweet crunch is delicious in salads or cut into “fingers” to eat raw. When eating with their skins on, there is no bitterness that you sometimes get from other kinds of cucumbers.

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Their slightly bumpy skin also holds up well in pickling liquid. Once pickled, they retain their crunchiness and taste. You can also slightly pickle them by sprinkling sea salt over cucumber slices to draw out water before lightly sautéing them with some sesame seeds.

Lemon Cucumbers

lemon cucumber

Lemon cucumber is an unusual type of cucumber with round yellow skin

This type of round yellow-colored cucumber, the Lemon cucumber, is one of the most unusual types of cucumbers.

Lemon cucumbers look like round yellow fruits which are about the size of a tennis ball. Even though they have a citrus appearance and their botanical name is Cucumis sativus ‘Lemon’ there is nothing “lemony” about their taste. Lemon cucumbers have a crispy texture and mildly sweet taste.

You can eat Lemon cucumbers fresh with their skins on as they are thin and crunchy. You may also want to try pickling this type of cucumber as it makes an unusual, but tasty, treat.

Bush Champion Cucumber

Bush Champion Cucumber

Bush Champion Cucumber gives a good yield of slicing cucumber

If you are looking for an easy-to-grow a bush variety of cucumber, then the Bush Champion is a great choice.

This cucumber cultivar has been specifically developed to produce a good yield of slicing cucumber in a small space. You can grow these plants in containers or in a small vegetable patch. Dark green skin covers this burpless cucumber that has a crisp mild flavor when you bite into it.

They are certainly not a short thin variety of cucumber. The vegetables can grow between 8” and 12” (20 – 30 cm) in length and they have a plump look to them.

Iznik Cucumbers

iznik cucumber

Iznik cucumber is a small type of cucumber

Iznik is a type of little cucumber with thin skin, no seeds, and crispy crunch when you bite into them.

Iznik cucumbers grow on vines and are a good cucumber cultivar if you want a climbing variety. The small green fruits grow between 3” and 4” (7 – 10 cm) long are the perfect type of “lunch-box” cucumber.

These are some of the best cucumbers to grow if you want to grow small cucumbers in your greenhouse, in patio pots, or have them climbing up trellises.

Salt and Pepper Cucumbers

Salt and Pepper cucumbers get their name from the white and dark spines on the pale-yellow skin.

This cucumber variety is one of the few vegetables from the Cucumis sativus species that doesn’t have green skin. This slicing type of cucumber has thin pale-yellow skin and a fresh, crisp taste. Unlike other types of cucumbers that have light green to white flesh, Salt and Peppers have a greenish-yellow flesh with very few seeds.

Even though this cucumber is a good slicer, it also pickles well and is a colorful addition to any type of food.

Add this cucumber diced or sliced to fresh salads to give them some color and crunch. You can also cut long triangular slices and mix them along with green-skinned crunchy cucumbers for dips.

Northern Pickling Cucumber

Northern Pickling Cucumber

The Northern Pickling cucumber is a type of short cucumber with bumpy skin

As its name suggests, the Northern Pickling cucumber is mostly grown for pickling.

These short stout cucumbers are a vine cucumber, but not as sprawling as some other types of vine cucumber. This means that you can grow them successfully in small vegetable patches or up short trellises.

Northern Pickling types have yellowish-green bumpy skin with yellow veins running the length of the fruit. The firm flesh and skin mean that they retain their crunch after pickling.

These are some of the best pickling cucumbers to grow if you live in cooler climates with a short growing season. Also, because the cucumber vines grow small leaves, picking the stumpy green fruits is very easy.

Of course, these are also delicious cucumber if you want to peel them and eat them fresh.

Tyria Cucumbers

tyria cucumber

Tyria cucumber vines produce a large yield of cucumbers and are easy to grow

Tyria cucumbers are a long green variety of seedless cucumber that are a perfect slicer with sweet, non-bitter flesh.

These vine-growing cucumbers can grow up to 14” (35 cm) in length. Their skin is dark-green with light ribbing down the length.

One of the reasons to grow this European cucumber variety is that the sturdy vines produce a large yield of cucumbers and they are easy to grow. The long green cucumbers grow well in greenhouses and climbing up trellises.

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