Cucumbers

Cool and juicy cucumbers are popular for both eating fresh and preserving as pickles.

By Kris Wetherbee

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Taster's Choice
While varieties vary widely in their tendency to be bitter, burpless varieties tend to produce smaller quantities of the bitter compounds. Cucumbers bred with the bitterfree gene have very mild-tasting fruit. If you're used to classic cucumber flavor, a regular slicer may be more to your liking.

Bitterless
(Cucumbers having the bitterfree gene)

'Holland Hothouse' (64 days from planting to maturity): A Dutch greenhouse type that can be grown outdoors; the bitterfree and burpless cukes have a cool and sweet taste. For straight fruits, trellis the vines .

'Marketmore 97' (55 days): Developed at Cornell University. A truly bitterfree slicer, and very disease-resistant to boot.

'Tyria' (56 days): Another Dutch greenhouse type, producing lightly ribbed, dark green fruits up to 14 inches long. (Harvest between 10 and 12 inches long for best flavor.)

Burpless
(Cucumbers having fewer cucurbitacins)

'Amira' (55 days): Middle Eastern type; sweeter flavor than most with a crunchy texture. These thin-skinned fruits are best harvested at 4 to 5 inches.

'Cool Breeze' (45 days): A French cornichon type (cornichons are small cucumbers meant for pickling). Smooth skins; sweet and crunchy flesh with great flavor. Harvest when 4 to 5 inches long; sets fruit without pollination.

'Diva' (55 days): Smooth, thin, no-peel skin. Distinctly tender, crisp, and delicately sweet. Best picked at 4 to 5 inches.

'Orient Express' (64 days): Flavorful, Oriental type with thin-skinned, dark green fruits. Vines very tolerant to disease.

'Sweet Marketmore' (62 days): Disease-resistant vines produce consistently in hot or cool weather. Great flavor without the burp.

'Tasty Green' (65 days): The name says it all- very tasty with sweet and juicy, dark green, slender fruits. Can be grown inside or out.

Weather or Not

'Armenian' (60 days): Does well in hot weather. This cucumber relative is also known as snake melon. Long, slender light green fruits are spineless, and almost always curved unless grown on a trellis and harvested when 12 nches long. Somewhat sweet, with a mild, slightly citrusy flavor.

'Socrates' (52 days): Does well in cooler conditions. Can be grown indoors in locations that stay between 50° to 82° F. Dark green, thin-skinned fruit are sweet, tender, and seedless.

SOURCES
Burpee, Warminster, PA; 800-888-1447, burpee.com
Johnny's Selected Seeds, Winslow, ME; 877-564-6697, johnnyseeds.com
Seeds of Change, El Gulque, NM; 888-762-7333, seedsofchange.com
Territorial Seed Company, Cottage Grove, OR; 800-626-0866, territorialseed.com
Vermont Bean Seed Company, Randolph, WI; 800-349-1071, vermontbean.com

 

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