Gardening

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’
‘Muncher’
‘Orient Express’
‘Palace King’
‘Perseus’
‘Suyo Long’
‘Sweet Burpless’
‘Sweet Slice’
‘Sweet Success’
‘Sweeter Yet’
‘Summer Dance’
‘Tanja’
‘Tasty Green’
‘Tendergreen’ (‘Tendergreen Burpless’)

Garden writer and blogger, author of more than 60 gardening books, the laidback gardener, Larry Hodgson, lives and gardens in Quebec City, Canada. The Laidback Gardener blog offers more than 2,500 articles to passionate home gardeners, always with the goal of demystifying gardening and making it easier for even novice gardeners. If you have a gardening question, enter it in Search: the answer is probably already there!

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