Easy Eating with Burpless Cucumbers

You’ve probably noticed that cucumbers (Cucumis sativus) sometimes make you burp. This is due to the presence of cucurbitacin in the fruit, a bitter substance produced naturally by cucumbers and other cucurbits as a protection against insects and other pests (it would appear it causes distress in bugs too!). But cucumbers can be easy to digest or not so easy to digest, depending on their growing conditions. During periods of heat and drought, the amount of cucurbitacin increases in the fruit, leaving a bitter and unpleasant taste… and causes belching in sensitive individuals. To help avoid this problem, mulch the base of the plant (this will keep it cooler) and make sure to water it before it suffers from drought. This should give you cucumbers that are reasonably easy to digest.

Or plant bitterfree cucumbers. Also known as burpless cucumbers, these are cultivars in which cucurbitacin is naturally reduced or absent. Since this is the season for buying cucumber seeds – and since it will soon be time to sow them – here is a list burpless cucumbers to look for.

‘Beit Alpha’
‘Big Burpless’
‘Burpless Beauty’
‘Burpless Bush’
‘Burpless Tasty Green’
‘English Telegraph’
‘Garden Sweet Burpless Hybrid’
‘Green Knight
‘Marketmore 80’
‘Orient Express’
‘Palace King’
‘Suyo Long’
‘Sweet Burpless’
‘Sweet Slice’
‘Sweet Success’
‘Sweeter Yet’
‘Summer Dance’
‘Tasty Green’
‘Tendergreen’ (‘Tendergreen Burpless’)

Garden writer and blogger, author of 65 gardening books, lecturer and communicator, the Laidback Gardener, Larry Hodgson, passed away in October 2022. Known for his great generosity, his thoroughness and his sense of humor, he reached several generations of amateur and professional gardeners over his 40-year career. Thanks to his son, Mathieu Hodgson, and a team of contributors, will continue its mission of demystifying gardening and making it more accessible to all.

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