English Cucumber: Nutrition & Uses

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

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Switching to English cucumber is a great way to save yourself money, time, and work, while also providing some impressive health benefits along the way!

What is an English Cucumber?

An English cucumber isn’t difficult to tell apart from a regular cucumber, as it tends to be longer, narrower, and wrapped in plastic at the grocery store. Cucumis sativus is the scientific name for all cucumbers, although there are more than 100 different varieties of these tasty vegetables. The three main varieties of cucumbers, however, are pickling, slicing, and burpless. English cucumbers belong to that last category and are preferred by some because they don’t produce excess flatulence or burping.

Unlike slicing cucumbers, English cucumbers are not waxed, which explains why they are usually tightly sealed in plastic. They are also seedless, and their flesh is edible, which is why eating these cucumbers is more convenient. In terms of taste, English cucumbers are less juicy than their commonly sliced cousins, but their taste is milder and is even considered sweet at certain times in the ripening process. While they are commonly used in the same ways as other cucumber varieties, these thin, easy-to-prepare cucumbers are a favorite in Europe. Depending on where you are in the world, these cucumbers may bear the name hothouse cucumber, gourmet cucumber, European cucumber or greenhouse cucumber. That last name is because these varieties were first cultivated in greenhouses more than 700 years ago.

Fresh whole and sliced cucumber on a chopping board

Finely chopped cucumbers Photo Credit: Shutterstock

English Cucumber Nutrition

English cucumbers are rich in vitamin C, vitamin A, magnesium, potassium, calcium, and dietary fiber, as well as silica and other active ingredients. In terms of calories, English cucumbers possess only 15 calories in a 100-gram serving, which makes it a filling vegetable that is beloved by people trying to lose weight. Thus, the nutritional profile of this cucumber variety is very similar to regular slicing cucumbers.

English Cucumber Uses

When it comes to culinary uses for English cucumber, you can use this vegetable in the same way as you’d use any other cucumber. It is most commonly added to salads for a refreshing crunch, but it can also be eaten in the whole form, perhaps with a bit of pepper sprinkled on the edge. These cucumbers aren’t commonly pickled, as other cucumber varieties are better for that purpose. Since these cucumbers are “burp-less” and seedless, they can be pureed into vegetable smoothies and cold soups more easily, without having to de-seed the vegetable. Adding these sliced cucumbers to sandwiches is also a great way to boost your vegetable intake each day.

English Cucumber vs. Regular Cucumber

As mentioned above, the major differences between English cucumbers and normal cucumbers (slicing cucumbers) are their physical characteristics.

  • English cucumbers lack seeds or their seeds are immature enough to be consumed without noticing, and these European cucumbers are also longer and slimmer than their more common cousins.
  • You can eat English cucumbers without peeling since the exterior skin is not waxed,
  • Larger cucumbers, particularly those of the slicing and pickling varieties, have a far more bitter flavor because of the seeds that they contain.

While English cucumbers may be slightly denser than the pulpy and refreshing slicing cucumbers, they have a sweet aftertaste that makes them just as popular in Europe – if not more desired – than traditional slicing cucumbers.

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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