types of cucumbers

Cucumber is a well-known and valued horticultural fruit in the world of gastronomy.

Thousands of tons of cucumber are produced each year in Spain and not all are of the same type. Actually, the bulk of cucumber production is mainly due to three classes: Dutch cucumber, Spanish cucumber and French cucumber.

The first, the Dutch cucumber, is not as consumed in Spain and its production is mainly export-oriented. The other two kinds of cucumber, the French cucumber and the Spanish cucumber, have their main market in the interior and, therefore, they are more consumed in Spain.

How to differentiate cucumber varieties?

Of the different types of cucumbers grown in Spain, we can differentiate them by several parameters. One, for example, is according to the type of market: fresh, for gazpachos, pickles, etc. for local market, interior or export. Another is attending to the texture of the skin, in this case in rough and smooth. And if we do it taking into account the size, we would be dealing with long, midi, mini and snack types of cucumber.

Cucumber producing areas in Spain

Par excellence, the community of Andalusia is the main producer of cucumber, specifically Dutch cucumber. Within it, it is led by the provinces of Almería and Granada.

With the rest of the types of cucumbers, in addition to these two provinces, they are followed by the Region of Murcia, Catalonia and the Valencian Community. In addition, it is necessary to know that its cultivation, in its different variants, is scattered throughout Spain, although the areas of the Mediterranean arch and the Canary Islands are where the greatest quantity is produced.

Types of cucumbers grown in Spain

Next, we expose the different types of cucumbers grown in Spain. As we have already anticipated, three are the main ones, however, there are more kinds of cucumbers, some of them being practically unknown by many consumers.

dutch cucumber

The Dutch type of cucumber was introduced to Spain in the late 1980s and early 1990s. And it came, as its name suggests, from Holland.

It is one of the most cultivated and its main destination is export to Central European countries and the United Kingdom.

The Dutch cucumber is considerably longer than the Spanish cucumber, with a length of between 30 and 40 centimeters. The main difference it has with the rest of the varieties is its skin, which is much softer and smoother than the rest.

Spanish type cucumber

The Spanish type cucumber is medium in size, 10 to 15 centimeters in length. Its skin is rough, somewhat rough to the cactus and with an intense flavor and aroma.

french type cucumber

The French-type cucumber is very similar to the Spanish cucumber, but somewhat longer. Its average length is between 15 and 20 centimeters. Its flavor is milder and less intense than the Spanish, which is why it is usually used to prepare gazpacho. Its skin is smooth or slightly rough, but much less so than the Spanish cucumber.

English type cucumber

The English type cucumber has a morphology very similar to the Dutch cucumber, although shorter. His skin is green and slightly rough. It also has a similar flavor to the Dutch type, so it is sometimes difficult to identify them.

Japanese type cucumber or kyuri cucumber

In Japan and in general Asian culture, this vegetable is often used a lot in its gastronomy. Therefore, the Japanese country has its own variety of cucumber.

Japanese type cucumber is also known as kiuri cucumber or Aonaga cucumber. The Japanese cucumber has dark green skin and firmer flesh with a characteristic sweet and crunchy taste when bitten. It is ideal for preparing cucumber sushi.

It is thin and elongated, being the type most used for sunomono, which is the traditional sweet and sour Japanese cucumber salad.

Armenian Cucumber or Snake Cucumber

The Armenian-type cucumber is also known as snake cucumber, due to its length, color and characteristic curvature.

Smooth skin, inside we find a very striking yellow meat. Its scientific name is the Cucumis melo subspecies flexuosus and in Spain it is mainly known by the name of alficoz. Other popular names, in addition to snake cucumber, are cucumber, fine cucumber, snake cucumber or snake melon.

Its cucumber-shaped fruits develop a lot of length, often exceeding one meter. Its shape is curved and somewhat twisted, reminiscent of a snake, hence one of its common names.

The surface of the fruit is normally longitudinally striated, but it can also be smooth.

Kiwano cucumber or African cucumber

The kiwano-type or African-type cucumber is Cucumis metuliferus, a species in the family Cucurbitaceae.

It is native to Africa, where it is grown mainly in the south and center of the continent. Currently, it is also cultivated in New Zealand, Australia, Chile, Spain, Israel, Argentina. It is grown especially in the Almuñécar region as an exotic fruit.

Other types of cucumber

In addition to those exposed, there are more types of cucumbers, such as the well-known pickles that are consumed in pickles and the midi, mini and snack.

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