Purvey'd The Juice - Cucumber Varieties (Pickle Slicer 3B, Persian Cuke, Pickle Cuke 4A, Large Mexican Cucumber, Hot House Cuke, and Tianjin Cucumber)

Cucumber Varieties and How to Use Them

This week we’re taking a look at cucumbers because it’s summertime and all we want to do is keep it cool.

Cucumbers are usually long and cylindrical in shape, have rounded edges, and can appear in various sizes. Cucumbers generally have green skin and light green to white-colored flesh with many seeds in it. There are two main types of cucumber: slicing cucumber and pickling cucumber.  Slicing cucumber is usually longer and regularly eaten fresh while pickling cucumber is oftentimes much smaller and is used to make pickles. Cucumbers for the most part taste refreshing and hydrating so it is no surprise that more than ninety percent of a cucumber is made up of water. If you want to switch up your water routine, try eating a cucumber to stay hydrated!

The Juice is a weekly dive into industry insights to help you make educated buying decisions based on years of experience. Here are some highlights of the cucumbers we carry to help you get it all sorted out. From crunchy pickles to the elusive tian jin - we’re looking at sizing, what’s inside, to taste to common applications.


Pickle 3B


Pickle 3Bs are also known as slicers, 3B's, and pickles. This is considered a medium-size pickling cucumber that grows up to five inches in length and up to two and a half inches in diameter. Pickle 3B is a short and chubby cucumber with bumpy skin that has gradual hues of dark and light green with a small to moderate amount of tender seeds. Slicers taste refreshing, mild, and crunchy. Common applications include sushi rolls, sandwiches, garnishes, and pickling. 


Persian Cuke


The Persian cuke is otherwise called mini cuke and Persians. These baby slicing cucumbers have slightly bumpy, thin skin and remain quite narrow. The skin is so mild and thin that you would enjoy the same great flavor both peeled and unpeeled. The advantage of thin skin is less work for you! Persian cukes grow up to six inches in length and one and a half inches in diameter. It has soft tiny seeds and an extra crisp texture. The flavor is refreshing, mild, and sweet - suitable for sandwiches and salads. Persian cukes are traditionally used in Asian spicy cucumber salad. 


Pickle 4A


Pickle 4As also go by the name pickle cuke and 4A's. This is considered a large size pickling cucumber with rough skin that has gradual shades of dark and light green. It looks very similar to 3As until you place them right next to each other. The difference in size is easily distinguishable. Pickle 4As grow up to seven and a half inches in length and up to two and three quarters in diameter. It has more mature seeds than pickle 3Bs; similar to white watermelon seeds. Pickle cuke 4As are refreshing and mild but less dense and less crunchy as compared to the pickle 3B. Common application includes sushi rolls, sandwiches, garnish, and pickling. This is a cost-saving alternative to pickle 3Bs.


Mexican Cucumber


Mexican cucumber is a large cucumber grown in Mexico. There are domestically grown large cukes when the weather is warm. They have thick dark green skin that is smooth and uniform. Mexican cucumber can grow up to eleven inches in length and two and three quarters in diameter. The seeds are more distinct and are often removed before use. Mexican cucumber has a refreshingly mild flavor with a hint of bitterness and is less crunchy compared to other varieties. Its length can be used to the preparer's advantage whether it be spun into noodles, sectioned and hollowed out to use as a vessel for liquids, or to provide a consistent crunch throughout a sandwich. Other common applications include tossing them into a salad or using them for garnish.


Hot House Cuke


The Hot house cuke is what you call an English cucumber. They look similar to Persian cukes but much longer. It also has thin skin that does not require peeling. You can easily recognize hot house cukes in the supermarket by searching for a cucumber that is sold individually wrapped. Hot house cuke is typically greenhouse-grown and more uniformly shaped than other varieties. They can grow up to twelve and a half inches in length and up to two inches in diameter. There are small to moderate amounts of tender seeds that are easy to digest. Hot house cukes taste refreshing, mild, and crunchy. Great for salads, sandwiches, and garnishes.


Tian Jin Cucumber


Tian Jin cucumber is also named Tian Jian cucumber and oriental cucumber.  It has thin skin and prickly spines that need to scrub off before use. Tian Jin cucumber is generally greenhouse-grown. It grows up to fourteen inches in length and two inches in diameter. Tian Jin cucumber has a small to moderate amount of tender seeds and a crunchy texture. The taste is refreshing and mildly sweet with a fragrant cucumber taste without being watery. Tian Jin cucumber is very crunchy and great for salads and sandwiches. It is also a good choice for spicy Asian cucumber salads!


Purvey'd carry various cucumber varieties. From small pickling cucumbers and unique Tian Jin cucumbers, we got you covered. Don’t see the variety you use? Email us at support@purveyd.com. We can purvey what you need!

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