Here's The Difference Between Persian Cucumbers And English Cucumbers

There are days when a cool, crisp cucumber is just what you need, and when you browse a well-stocked grocery store or farmer's market, the variety of cucumbers available can be surprising.

According to UC Davis, Persian and English cucumbers are among the most popular and are often used interchangeably in the kitchen. They are similar in many ways, yet each has its own unique flavor, texture, and characteristics.

Whether you want to add them to a salad or raita, slice them and dip them in hummus, or prepare a cucumber sandwich, you may wonder which type of cucumber to use. Both English and Persian cucumbers are practically seedless and have a more delicate skin compared to standard cucumbers, so you don't have to peel them unless you want to. Both also have a pleasing crunch, but if you are substituting one for the other, keep in mind that one English cucumber is usually twice the length of a Persian cucumber, and adjust accordingly if the recipe calls for a whole cucumber. Here's the difference between Persian cucumbers and English cucumbers explained.

What is an English cucumber?

Chances are you may have seen English cucumbers in your grocery store. They are dark green colored, narrow, and usually around 12 to 14 inches long. Since English cucumbers have a thin skin, they are more fragile than standard cucumbers, so you will usually see them packaged in plastic shrink-wrap, according to UC Davis. Otherwise, they may lose moisture, dry out, or get damaged in the store.

Although you don't need to peel them, some people prefer to since they find the skin slightly bitter tasting. The flavor is watery and mild, though, and people typically enjoy seedless English cucumbers raw.

According to Martha Stewart, you don't need to refrigerate them until after you remove the plastic wrap and cut into them — leftover slices are best stored in an airtight container with a paper towel on top. To enjoy English cucumbers, try making this traditional cucumber sandwich recipe. If you want to make it extra special, serve with your favorite tea!

What is a Persian cucumber?

When you shop for Persian cucumbers, you may find them packaged in clear plastic bags in sets of four to six small dark green cucumbers. Like English cucumbers, they have a thin skin, but the texture is a little bumpier. Some people describe Persian cucumbers as "burpless" because they tend to be sweeter tasting, and some feel they are easier on the digestive system, according to UC Davis. You can eat them without peeling and they are practically seedless, and most often Persian cucumbers are enjoyed raw. Some people use them interchangeably with English cucumbers, but the Persian cucumbers are smaller, slightly crispier, and sweeter tasting. If you are unsure which one you have, the size and way they were packaged are big clues.

The thin permeable skin of Persian cucumbers makes them more vulnerable to drying and damage, according to Martha Stewart. Also, since they are packaged in sets they may bump against each other. Instantcart suggests storing them in a container lined with a paper towel in your refrigerator's crisper drawer or door, since they thrive in cool but not overly cold environments.

To enjoy Persian cucumbers, you could try them in a cucumber sandwich as a sweeter alternative to English cucumbers. Alternatively, this smashed cucumber salad recipe is always a hit, and showcases the flavor and texture.