Ever gone to the farmers markets to get vegetables and stumbled upon so many varieties of cucumbers?
Which ones make a good choice for eating raw or fresh? Perhaps you prefer the nearly seedless variants that taste very pleasant and are easier to digest.
Knowing the different types of cucumber can help you make your way around countless recipes that use essential nutrients, mild aroma, and bitter flavors.
How many types of cucumbers are there?
There are so many varieties of cucumber that anyone would be hard pressed to come up with an accurate number.
Although cucumbers are classified into a few categories, the different variations now count around 100 types.
21 Popular Types of Cucumber
Let’s discuss the 21 popular types of cucumbers that can be eaten unripe and fresh, much like an apple with its skin still on.
If you want to eat cucumbers raw, a slicing cucumber, or slicer, is a good choice.
They give a crisp bite and a juicy, thirst-quenching flavor that makes them a great garnish for salads and for snacking.
Slicing cucumbers do not work well for pickling because their soft flesh turns mushy after soaking for some time.
Go for the green and unripe slicing cucumbers, as the ripe, yellow ones are already sour, bitter, and mushy.
Slicing cucumbers grow on overhead vines with large leaves that are well-suited for shading.
Ashley cucumbers have dark green skin and around measure six to eight inches long.
The fruit tapers slightly towards the stem end.
The Ashley cultivar is a vine plant initially produced from a cross between a variety called Puerto Rico 40 and Marketer.
If you live in a warm area with very humid conditions, the Ashley cucumber is a good choice for home-growing because it is resistant to downy mildew.
Unlike the Ashley, the Bush Champion is a compact, bush-type, and fruitful plant.
It produces cucumbers that are about eight to 11 inches long and have bright green skin.
Its form makes it ideal for growing in containers or raised bed gardens.
If you want excellent disease-resistance in a plant, grow the Dasher II. It produces slim fruits with white-spotted spines and grows up to eight inches long.
Dasher II cucumbers grow on vines on a fence and can also work as overhead canopies on some trellis.
The Early Pride cucumber variety is resistant to the mosaic virus and powdery mildew. It grows on vines and is a very prolific plant.
Early Pride cucumbers have dark green skin and grow up to nine inches long.
Fanfare cucumbers are slim fruits that grow to a uniform nine inches in length. They are very sweet and have an exceptional texture.
The fanfare plant is a vine that grows up to three feet long.
You can grow them on containers with support sticks and expect a lot of fruits in two months.
Long Green Improved
The Long Green Improved variety has fruits growing on sturdy vines that require support sticks.
Although it is a type of cucumber well-suited for pickling, it tastes really good and can be eaten fresh.
These cucumbers grow up to 12 inches long, and they also have dark green skin.
For hot and humid southern climates, grow the Marketer cucumbers. These cucumbers have a mildly sweet flavor and smooth, dark green skin.
Marketer fruits are quite slender, and they grow up to nine inches long.
Chomp on a Marketmore 76 cucumber with its crispy crunch and sweet flavor.
It has an impressive disease-resistant trait that makes it a good plant in areas with warm climates.
Marketmore 76 cucumbers are slender, thick-skinned fruits that grow up to nine inches.
As its name suggests, the Salad Bush variety is very compact, making it great for growing in containers.
Salad Bush cucumbers grow up to eight inches long, and the plant is resistant to many cucumber diseases and pests.
You can also plant a Spacemaster in a pot.
It is another type of light green cucumber growing up to eight inches long on a compact bush.
Spacemaster cucumbers are not bitter, and you can use them for pickling.
Straight Eight cucumbers like growing on long vines that are well-supported on a lightweight frame.
They grow up to eight inches, and they have light green skin and fine-grained flesh.
Sugar Crunch cucumbers are crunchy munchies with smooth, light green skin and a sweet, mild flavor.
They are quite small and are best harvested when they reach five inches.
If you prefer longer and more slender cucumbers, the Sweet Slice cultivar grows 12-inch fruits with thin, dark green skin.
The fruits have a mildly sweet flavor and are very crisp.
Even longer fruits come from the Sweet Success cultivar, which grows up to 14 inches.
Like the Sweet Slice, it also has a mild, sweet taste and thin skin.
Sweet Success cucumbers grow on robust vines running through stakes and overhead frames.
If you are looking for firmness in cucumbers, the Tanja variety grows 12-inch, slender fruits that are very crunchy.
It also grows on overhead vines to produce straight fruits with uniform lengths.
A better alternative for slicing cucumbers is burpless cucumbers.
We can classify all of them under the slicing cucumber section, but they deserve their own classification.
Burpless cucumbers are sweeter, thin skinned, carry a pleasantly mild flavor, and are very easy to digest.
Most burpless cucumbers are long, nearly seedless, and have very smooth skin.
Burpless cucumbers are usually grown in greenhouses using parthenocarpy to induce seedless fruits, making them readily available in most grocery stores.
The Burpless #26 cultivar produces fruits that can grow up to 12 inches. However, the height of its mild flavor can be tasted from fruits that are only 10 inches long.
A hint of bitterness can be found on longer fruits.
Burpless #26 cucumbers have dark green skin and grow on long vines that require lightweight overhead supports.
Diva cucumbers are mostly seedless and grow up to eight inches long. They have a mildly sweet flavor.
These cucumbers are glossy and have thin, dark green skin.
Muncher fruits are burpless cucumbers with a mild and sweet flavor.
The plant produces a lot of light green, smooth-skinned fruits on robust vines.
Poinsett 76 cucumbers have dark green skin and tender, white flesh.
Another type of burpless cucumber, it is also very prolific. Its fruits are ideal as slicers for salads, sandwiches, and sides.
English cucumbers are also known as European or seedless cucumbers. They grow up to 12 inches long and are very slender.
Their thin skin makes them ideal for slicing in salads, garnish, and appetizers.
The Tendergreen Burpless cultivar is best for harvesting when it already reaches eight inches.
It has thin, dark green skin and grows on very prolific plants.
Other Types of Cucumbers
Aside from the cucumbers that are more delicious when unripe, we also have pickling cucumbers and specialty cucumbers.
Smaller cucumbers with firmer flesh constitute the different types that work well with pickling.
You can use almost any type of cucumber to make pickles, but some taste better only after pickling.
Industrial cucumber plantations grow picklers, a type of cucumber specially bred for uniformity in length and diameter, and lack of internal voids.
Picklers are shorter than slicers. They have thicker, bumpy skins with tiny black or white-dotted spines.
You can find pickling cucumbers with creamy yellow, light green, or dark green skin. Gherkins and Kirby cucumbers fall under a long list of pickling cucumbers.
Specialty cucumbers cover visually unusual cucumbers that are often grown as a specialization.
You can easily find them in farmers markets, but they are rarely sold in grocery stores.
Armenian cucumbers look much like bitter gourd, but with much smoother, variegated light and dark green skin.
They are deliciously crunchy and work well as slicers.
These cucumbers do not work well with pickling, as they turn to mush.
As its name suggests, lemon cucumbers look much like lemons. They are round and have thin skin and soft seeds.
Lemon cucumbers are sweet and tasty when raw, and they can put an attractive color on any salad. This type of cucumber also works well with pickling.
Persian cucumbers look very much like English cucumbers. When put next to each other, they are quite indistinguishable.
However, Persian cucumbers come in less uniform lengths, unlike the uniformly growing English cucumbers.
Persian cucumbers make perfect slicers because of their mild flavor and thin skins.
What is the best variety of cucumber?
Many of the cucumber varieties have very similar flavors. That is why it can be quite difficult to choose which one is the best.
If you are gunning crunch and munch with mild, sweet flavors, check out the burpless cucumbers.
Since the cultivars of cucumbers now count up to a hundred different variants, there is yet so much to discuss.
This article focuses on the 21 different types of popular slicing cucumbers or slicers, so you can choose which ones can taste good even when eaten fresh.