Tasting Strange Cucumbers

This was a fun week, because we got to harvest the first of our “not quite normal” cucumbers and give them a taste.

First up was the ‘Tondo Liscia Manduria’ cucumber, which is Italian. As you can see it was round with some stripes. The seeds were already starting to develop inside, so we had to scoop them out.

You can see that the actual flesh part is relatively narrow. The flavor was mild, sweet, and cucumber-like, although the texture was much more like a melon. I suspect it would get more melon-like if we let it stay on the vine longer.

The other cucumber that was ready for a taste test was the Poona Kheera (aka Puneri) cucumber from the Indian Garden. Yes, it is brown, kind of like a potato. We actually harvested three, each at a different stage of maturity.

White-skinned but still large stage. The seeds were already at the “annoying” stage. These are clearly not seedless cucumbers!

Yellow-skinned, and slightly larger seed cavity.

Brown-skinned with an even more aggressive seed cavity.

None of them were bitter, although they had a much more aggressive cucumber flavor than the Italian cucumbers. The skin also got progressively tougher, which shouldn’t be a surprise either.

Both of these varieties are “heirloom” cucumbers, and one of the common characteristics of older varieties is that the seed cavity tends to be much larger. Small seed cavities are one of the things that have been commonly bred for in modern hybrids. It is something to be aware of when you start trying these strange varieties!

About Rebecca

I'm a Horticulture Educator with Sedgwick County Extension, a branch of K-State Research and Extension, located in Wichita, KS. I teach about fruits, vegetables, and herbs.

Posted on July 10, 2014, in Harvesting & Eating and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Are those Tondo Liscia Manduria cucumbers a bit fuzzy? We have several growing that looks like the picture you posted, and curious if they’re the same.

  2. Hi Rebecca,

    I’m glad to see you enjoyed the Madurian Round!

    I am a big fan of this variety. It generally exhibits juicy flesh, with a tender, yet crisp skin. Some of them do not develop their seeds until they become much bigger, allowing for a large window of time for picking. An Italian friend of mine and I really work to keep these varieties around. My blog is Scientificgardener.com while his is http://carosellopugliese.blogspot.com/.

    Happy Gardening!
    -Jay

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