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How to Shop for Cucumbers

By Cook's Illustrated Published July 2018

Gone are the days when supermarkets sold only one type of cucumber.

Gone are the days when supermarkets sold only one kind of cucumber. We tried four easy-to-find varieties plain and in bread-and-butter pickles. Below is a little background on each and what we learned.

Pickling (Kirby)

Small and squat; dense, crunchy flesh; available late summer to late fall

Uses: Pickles, salads, crudités

Notes: This was the only variety we liked as pickles; its skin can be tough, so consider peeling it if eating it raw in salads.

Seedless (English/European/Hothouse)

Long and slim; sold shrink-wrapped; slightly sweet and melon-y; available year-round

Uses: Salads, crudités

Notes: The skins contain fewer bitter-tasting cucurbitacins than those of slicing cucumbers, and the seeds are tiny, so leave them in if you like.

Slicing (American)

Thick, with dark-green skin and plentiful seeds; crisp texture; mild flavor; available year-round

Uses: Salads, crudités

Notes: Remove the tough seeds, trim the ends, and remove the skin, which contains a relatively high concentration of cucurbitacins.

Mini (Persian)

Small and slim; similar to seedless cucumbers in flavor and texture; available year-round Uses: Salads, crudités

Notes: There's no need to peel or seed mini cukes; they're typically more expensive than other varieties.