Cucumbers come in many varieties – but the 3 I find most often in the food markets and the 3 I use most often in my cooking are:
1. Kirby Cucumber
2. Common / Garden / Slicing Cucumber
3. English Cucumber
They are all a bit different and here I’ll explain some of those differences.
1. The Kirby Cucumber is the cucumber of choice for making pickles (here is a great quick pickle recipe). They have a thin skin and have a firmer flesh than a garden cucumber.
2. The Garden Cucumber is your regular, every day cucumber – they have a thicker, waxy, dark green skin which tends to be bitter and they have lots of seeds – I often remove the seeds by taking a spoon and scraping down the center to remove them.
3. English Cucumbers are long and thin, and my market wraps them in plastic. The skin is grooved and bumpy but not bitter. They are sometimes called seedless but really it is just that the seeds are very small. The one pictured here actually has larger seeds than usual, but I have had some with just about zero seeds. They have crisper flesh then the Garden Cucumber.
Often I use English and Kirby cucumbers interchangeably though I often opt for English for salads and Kirbys for cut up spears – – no idea why, but in my head it belongs that way 🙂 And I find myself using Garden cucumbers more and more infrequently, probably because of the consistency – I like the crisper flesh of the English and Kirby.