The large and varied Cucurbitaceae family includes melons, squash, gourds, and… cucumbers! Cukes are kinda the red-haired stepchilden of the family, however, and Armenian Cucumbers (Cucumis melo var. flexuosus) are a perfect example of such. These long, slender, dare-we-say “snake-like” veggies may share their color and taste with other kinds of cucumbers but they’re actually a variety of muskmelon. Yeah, Thanksgivings at the Cucumber family home can be a tad awkward. (cucumber images via Robert Couse-Baker and _e.t)
Some cucumbers cleave closer to the melon members of the family appearance-wise as well. Take Dosakai, for example: these unlikely cucumbers are semi-spherical in shape and range from lemon yellow to mottled green & white in color. Native to the Indian subcontinent but occasionally available in California farm country, Dosakai are traditionally used in curries, soups, daal, chutney, and a type of Indian pickle called dosa-aavakaaya. (cucumber image via Leslie Seaton)
Does one purchase “tele-cucumbers” online, one might ask? Nope, they’re on sale at your local supermarket or grocery store, provided said store is located in Australia or as above, in New Zealand. Telegraph Cucumbers are your basic English Cucumbers: long, thin, seedless and wrapped tightly in clear plastic. Why do Antipodians call them Telegraph Cucumbers? Who can say… maybe they just don’t like cukes with a little English on ’em. (cucumber image via Kristina D.C. Hoeppner)
Persian Cucumbers have many similarities to English Cucumbers – thin skin and lack of seeds being the main points of commonality. Size does matter, mind you, and that’s where Persian Cucumbers differ from their tall, long & handsome cousins: these “burpless” beauties are only 5-6 inches long. Last but not least, you don’t have to visit Persia to stock up on ’em, since they’re widely available in Canada during the summer and year-round in the USA. (cucumber image via Grendelkhan)
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