If you’re looking for the perfect vegetable to add to your summer garden, take a look at these different kinds of cucumbers. This is the year to try some unique varieties and discover just how delicious a garden-fresh cucumber can be.
Tasty and Reliable Heirloom Cucumber Varieties
The Marketmore Cucumber is what most people think of when they think of cucumbers. It is what you will most likely find in a grocery store. However, if you grow these at home, you will notice that garden-fresh tastes so much better.
These cucumbers have a crisp and delicious flesh that works well for slicing and holds up in salads. They have a dark green skin that is thicker than some other heirloom cucumbers and is often peeled before eating. But without the added wax from commercial growers, you might find you like them just as well with the skin on.
Marketmore Cucumbers are usually ready to eat when they are 8 to 9 inches long. These are a vigorous grower and produce a lot of cucumbers per vine.
Despite the name, Lemon Cucumbers do not taste like lemons. The name comes from their color and round shape.
Lemon Cucumbers are easy to grow and have a sweet, mild flavor without any bitterness. (So unlike a lemon!) Their small size makes them just the right size for a one-person serving. Perfect for snacking on your daily walk through the garden. They have a thin skin, so no peeling is necessary. Pick them when they are small and just starting to turn yellow.
They are usually eaten raw but can also be pickled and will add fun variety to your winter pantry.
Lemon Cucumbers grow well in containers and are more tolerant of cooler temperatures than other cucumbers.
Armenian Pale Green Cucumber
If you want a cucumber that is delicious and also entertaining to watch as it grows, take a look at Armenian Pale Green Cucumbers.
This variety of cucumber is crisp and mild flavored. It has a light green color and can grow up to 3 feet long! However, for a more flavorful fruit with smaller seeds, you will want to harvest them when they are about 12 to 18 inches long.
Armenian Pale Green Cumbers are heat tolerant and very productive. They will do well in hotter climates such as Arizona.
Painted Serpent Cucumber
Much like the pale green, this Armenian-style cucumber is exceptionally mild and tasty, without any bitterness. It is also capable of producing long twisty fruits. The striped fruits can reach up to 3 feet but taste best when they are harvested while still tender at 8 to 18 inches in length.
When the Painted Serpent Cucumbers are grown along the ground, they will develop unique, twisting fruits that are so fun to watch! Armenian cumbers are more productive if allowed to climb a trellis. However, giving the fruits something to bump up against will train them to curl and bend, resulting in their unique serpent shape.
Beit Alpha Cucumber
This popular variety has a unique characteristic for cucumbers. Most cucumbers have separate male and female flowers, but Beit Alpha Cucumbers are parthenocarpic, which means they don’t need pollinators. So this variety is one to choose if you are growing in a greenhouse or another situation without a lot of access to natural pollinators.
Beit Alpha Cucumbers have a tender, smooth, dark skin and a mild flavor. They are best harvested when they are 5 to 7 inches in length and about an inch in diameter. These are great little cucumbers for enjoying right out of the garden and keeping whole to drop in your lunch box.
National Pickling Cucumber
Developed by the National Pickle Packers, this cucumber is your ideal cucumber for pickling. The little cukes are bulky and crisp. They have dark spines on a thick green skin. Their thin skin makes it easy for them to absorb the delicious pickling flavors. Try our homemade pickle recipe.
You will want to harvest National Pickling Cucumbers when they are around 2 to 3 inches for gherkins, or you can wait until the cukes reach 5 to 7 inches for slicing.
Straight Eight Cucumber
As the name suggests, Straight Eight Cucumbers produce a reliably straight fruit that is 8 inches long.
These reliable producers have a dark green skin and crisp, mild flesh. They can be eaten fresh and also make a great pickling cucumber when picked early.
Cucamelons are also called Mexican sour gherkin. These cucumbers look like tiny watermelons, but inside, they are green with tiny seeds. They have a crunchy texture and taste like cumbers but with a lemony sour tang.
What's the best pickling cucumber?
The best cucumber to grow for making pickles is the National Pickling Cucumber. It has been an heirloom favorite for generations. You'll love their size texture for homemade pickles.
What's the best patio cucumber?
The Spacemaster Cucumber is ideal for growing in containers and small spaces. The smaller, compact vines will produce a good supply of 8" long cucumbers.
What's the best salad cucumber?
Cucumbers are excellent in all kinds of salads. If you need a firm cucumber that can hold up to heavy ingredients, Marketmore Cucumbers will be your best bet. But any fresh cucumber will taste delicious in a fresh summer salad. Try Beit Alpha Cucumbers for a variety you don't have to. peel.
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