An expert explains the difference.


I love using fresh cucumbers in salads, pickles, sandwiches, etc., and I usually buy whatever looks good or is less expensive at the farmer's market or grocery store.

I know I like English cucumbers and Persian cucumbers for their thin skin, small seeds, juiciness, and sweet flavor, and I've seen many recipes call for one or the other. But apart from the fact that English cucumbers are tall, while Persian ones are usually short, what makes them different?

To get to the bottom of it and find out the best uses for each, I spoke with Kenneth Bower, director of merchandising at Baldur Specialty Foods. Baldor supplies retailers, restaurants and other customers throughout the Northeast, and is known for sourcing excellent produce. Here's what I learned.

Just recipes / Ciara Kehoe

Difference between English and Persian Cucumbers

“Both English and Persian cucumbers belong to the same species.Cucumis sativusand exhibit striking similarities while revealing a few key differences,” says Bower.

“Notably, English cucumbers are larger, averaging 12 inches in length, while their Persian counterparts are smaller, typically measuring about six inches. In terms of flavor, both varieties are milder. , have a slightly sweet taste, which is their high grade. Water content that refreshes the mouth and gives a distinct crisp bite.”

Apart from slicing cucumbers, what makes them dark green, thick-skinned, is their thin skin and tiny seeds. “Unlike cut cucumbers, English cucumbers are slender and boast small, immature seeds that are virtually undetectable, hence earning the term 'seedless,'” explains Bower. “Persian cucumbers take it a step further and with even fewer seeds, make both options exceptionally simple and easy to digest.”

While the typical American slicing cucumber has a thick skin with a bitter taste, it is often covered with wax, and is best peeled, especially when served raw, neither the English nor the Neither does Persian cucumber need to be peeled. Bower doesn't recommend peeling them unless a recipe specifically calls for it.

One way you can tell English cucumbers and Persian cucumbers apart by size is their packaging at the grocery store. English cucumbers are usually sold individually wrapped in plastic, and Persian cucumbers are often found in plastic-wrapped packs of five or six. In my experience, Persian and English cucumbers are usually about the same price by weight.

Just Recipes / Alison Beckel

What are the best uses of English cucumbers vs Persian cucumbers?

“When comparing Persian and English cucumbers, preference is often determined by specific culinary uses,” says Bower. For example, he says “something magical happens” when you combine English cucumbers and feta cheese. “The saltiness and subtlety of the feta perfectly complements the refreshing coolness and natural sweetness of the cucumber, resulting in a popular dish, the Greek salad.”

He also likes English cucumbers in a creamy salad with dill, and his mother-in-law makes a salad with English cucumbers, mustard, vinegar, heavy cream, and salt and pepper. “My five sons absolutely crave my mother-in-law's cucumber salad.”

Because of their short length, Persian cucumbers are perfect for dipping and snacking, Bowers says. “They are popular with kids for a healthy school lunch alternative,” he added. He also likes to use them in spicy salads.

Can you replace English cucumber with Persian cucumber and vice versa?

Yes. “Since the two are very similar in taste and texture, they can be used interchangeably,” says Bowers.

Once you need a little cucumber, it's a pain to substitute English for Persian cucumbers. For example, I like to keep Persian cucumbers on hand for my mealtime salads because I usually only make a portion and I can use the whole cucumber at once.

take away

Persian and English cucumbers are the two best varieties of cucumbers. Both of these seeds are small and thin-skinned, so they don't need to be peeled. English cucumbers are wider and longer than Persian cucumbers, but both have a mild, sweet, and savory flavor, so swap them for one in any recipe.


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